Wed. May 29th, 2024
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 Reese’s Senior Bowl
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Who is playing guard for the Bucs in 2024?

Aaron Stinnie, Robert Hainsey, and Cody Mauch. Those three players were the three interior offensive linemen the Tampa Bay Bucs won the NFC South and then a round one playoff game starting (An assist given to Matt Feiler, who did start the season as Tampa’s starting left guard). Robert Hainsey and Cody Mauch still remain on Tampa Bay’s roster but Aaron Stinnie is now a member of the New York Giants.

Last year, Tampa’s rushing offense was putrid. The Bucs finished dead last in yards per game as well as total yards gained on the ground. The team has developed a not so good trend running the football. 2024’s poor performance wasn’t an outlier, it was simply a continuation of 2023’s even more horrendous season. Over each of the last two seasons Tampa Bay, with different starting quarterbacks, schemes, running backs, and changes across the offensive line have had the worst rushing attack in the league— By far. The difficulties are bordering on systemic.

NFC Divisional Playoffs-Tampa Bay Bucs vs Detroit Lions
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The challenge for Tampa Bay is Aaron Stinnie, Robert Hainsey, and Cody Mauch used to be Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, and Alex Cappa. Marpet, Jensen, and Cappa are the three interior linemen Tampa Bay’s offense went to battle with for most of the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Those Bucs were still far from a dominant rushing team, but did manage to avoid last place productions.

Within the span of just two seasons, all of those three starters have found their way off Tampa’s roster one way or another. Alex Cappa was lost to the Cincinnati Bengals via free agency, Ali Marpet made the shocking decision to walk into an early retirement, and Ryan Jensen— in what may have been the most shocking and devastating— suffered a knee injury in training camp, before the 2022 season. Jensen’s injury has kept him out every regular season game over the past two seasons and forced him into retirement.

The interior of Tampa’s line has seen a lot of recent turnover— not all of it has been bad. Cody Mauch was a rookie last year and although the start of his season was difficult he gained momentum and his play improved down the stretch. Robert Hainsey, after two years as a starter, has likely shown himself to be what he is as an NFL center. At the left guard spot, the team currently has a bit of a question mark. There is a contingent of Bucs’ fans who have suggested that Robert Hainsey be moved to left guard while the team investigates adding a new center— Others feel both positions need evaluation. Regardless, interior ooffensive line is a definitive position of need for the Bucs in this year’s draft.

Who is Christian Haynes?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 UConn at Tennessee
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In each of his last two seasons at UConn, Christian Haynes was a Third-team Associated Press All-American. The guard was not only a quality player for the Huskies, he was also a team captain.

According to the Bleacher Report Scouting Department, via, some of the skill sets that allowed Haynes to have such a successful run at UConn were his “Timing, feel, and processing skills.” The scouts at Bleacher Report also went on to praise the attitude of Haynes’ playstyle, “A+ finisher who ties up, strains and gets last meaningful contact through the echo of the whistle.”

Those traits and his highlights are what Bucs’ fans lauded Ryan Jensen for, during his Tampa Bay tenure.

NFL Scouting Combine

Haynes recorded 25 reps on the bench press at the NFL Combine and measured in at 6’3” 317 lb. His 5.03 40-yard dash and 8’6” broad jump, speak to the type of player Haynes is— he is not a freak of nature athlete— he is a football player.

Haynes’ pre-Draft process doesn’t follow the trajectory of wow-ing coaches and general managers with what he can do in shorts. His collegiate career’s stability as a player who played 49 consecutive games at a high level will be what speaks the loudest and his ability to play football is the trait that will shine through.

How does Haynes fit in Tampa Bay?

Christian Haynes would project as a day one starter for the Tampa Bay Bucs.

—Plays of this caliber are why Jason Licht and co. should consider Haynes in this year’s NFL Draft.

Should the Bucs make the move, Haynes immediately pencils in as a guy who can improve some of Tampa’s recent offensive line woes. One thing that will be an interesting decision for the Bucs, should they select Haynes, is that the right guard position is the only position of Tampa Bay’s interior three where the starter seems relatively entrenched. Of course, offensive linemen are capable of being versatile and moving around the line (see Tristan Wirfs and Luke Goedeke) but, with over 3,000 snaps played at right guard Haynes might be best suited where he is comfortable. Perhaps, the Bucs would consider moving Cody Mauch (last seaon’s right guard) who was credited with having position versatility during last year’s draft process. No matter his placement along the line, Haynes represents a fierceness the Tampa Bay Bucs would be wise to contemplate adding into their offensive line.

On the clock…

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