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Saturday, Feb 25, 2017

Bucs Report

A Pro Football Blog by Roy Cummings and Ira Kaufman

Go behind the scenes with Buccaneers beat writers Roy Cummings and Ira Kaufman as they offer their insights on the latest happenings with the team.

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Bright future predicted for Bucs’ Dotson

— The play of their since-dismantled offensive line was one of the biggest reasons the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked dead last in the NFL in total offense last year.

It was a line that struggled not only to protect its quarterbacks, allowing the sixth-most sacks in the league (47), but struggled to open holes for its running backs, who ranked 25th in the league with a 3.8-yards per carry average.

In the midst of the line’s struggles, though, a secret superstar emerged. Or so says the numbers crunchers at ProFootballFocus, which is so enamored with right tackle Demar Dotson, they ranked him worthy of a Pro Bowl berth.

“The elite tackles in this league have the unique ability to perform consistently and limit their bad games,’’ PFF wrote. “Joe Thomas had only one negatively-graded game this past season while Jordan Gross’ lowest graded game was just -0.6. After playing every snap of the 2013 season, Dotson joined their company with just three negatively-graded games and a low pass blocking grade of -0.7. His +23.0 overall grade was good enough for third among right tackles and 13th among all tackles.

Dotson’s run blocking (+2.9) was a step up from his 2012 performance, but it was his pass blocking that really went to the next level. Dotson finished 15th among tackles with a Pass Blocking Efficiency of 95.3, allowing five sacks, two hits, and 27 hurries on the season. Just for reference, Donald Penn had a PBE of 93.5 and yielded 12 sacks, six hits, and 28 hurries. It was a truly special season for the fifth-year pro that looked like a severe project as recently as two years ago.’’

An undrafted free agent who didn’t even start playing football until his senior season at Southern Mississippi, Dotson will have a hard time replicating his 2013 season, PFF believes.

But at 6-foot-9, 315 pounds and with better talent around him, Dotson has a bright future that may even include a move to left tackle should newcomer Anthony Collins not work out, PFF writes.


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