All five starters on the offensive line return in 2006. But we hear as many as two of them may be watching from the sideline next season. Tampaâ€™s O-line was put together at the last minute a year ago after injuries ravaged the unit in training camp. The patchwork group exceeded expectations, with all five starters starting every game. But the team had trouble running behind the right side of the line, especially undersized ORG Sean Mahan. Weâ€™re told first-round pick Davin Joseph is expected to win the starting ORG job, with Mahan moving to his more natural position at center to challenge veteran C John Wade. Even second-round pick ORT Jeremy Trueblood could push incumbent starter Kenyatta Walker, who recently signed a five-year contract extension. While there is something to be said about continuity along the line, we hear head coach Jon Gruden is happy to have legitimate competition there for the first time since he arrived in Tampa.
If Mahan does get benched, I think the Falcons should think long and hard about trading for him. There are a number of solid starting OL around the league that are ideal fits in the Falcons scheme. Mahan is one of them. The Bucs use a zone-heavy blocking scheme as of now, which is one of hte major reasons they had such great success running the ball this past year. Mahan, IMO is their best blocker, but my view might be skewed because I see him through Falcon-colored glasses, so a player that is a good fit in the zone blocking scheme seems to get a lot more props from me than someone that is a good fit in the straight-ahead mauler type of blocking (like Bucs counterpart OT Anthony Davis).
I know the likelihood of the Bucs and Falcons completing a trade together are low considering we play in the same division and also possibly lingering bad blood between our front office and theirs. But Mahan definitely would be an answer at LG or C for this team. I also don't think PFW gives him enough props as a run blocker. No, he's not going to blow a 320-pound DT off the ball, but he blocks very well for a zone blocking guy in the runnin game and IMO is the best position pass protectro on the Bucs OL.