Draft Prospect Preview: Alabama Offensive Lineman Ross Pierschbacher

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FAYETTEVILLE, AR - OCTOBER 6: Ross Pierschbacher #71 of the Alabama Crimson Tide warms up before a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 65-31. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

It is no secret that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need all of the offensive line help they can get. Besides Ali Marpet and Ryan Jensen, the line needs to be revamped. If Tampa Bay decides to turn to the draft for answers, Ross Pierschbacher could be the guy.

In 2018, the University of Alabama set an SEC record for most players drafted from one collegiate team into the NFL with 12. Even though it did not break the all-time record which is currently 14 set by Ohio State University, it is still an impressive statistic that showcases the dominance of the Crimson Tide. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected O.J Howard from Alabama in 2017, could Pierschbacher be the next guy?

Ross Pierschbacher fits the mold of an Alabama football player. Tough, reliable, smart and versatile are all words that have been used to describe him throughout the draft evaluation process.

Pierschbacher predominantly played offensive guard in college, where he excelled as a run blocker. He uses his excellent footwork to drive defenders backwards and his quickness allows him to reach the next level of the defense when asked to pull.

Versatility

Versatility is another strength for the University of Alabama graduate. Alabama initially recruited Pierschbacher as a guard. However, he made the transition from guard to center his senior season. The footwork for guard and center are similar which led to a smooth transition. At the Senior Bowl, Pierschbacher discussed the position change.

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“I think I play best at center,” he said. “I think that I was playing my best football this year. Especially later on in the year.”

Most NFL teams only keep seven offensive linemen available each game. Therefore, it is important each lineman is versatile enough to play multiple positions.

Potential Landing Spots

The New York Giants are projected to select Pierschbacher at the beginning of the fifth round, according to Matt Miller’s latest seven round mock draft. If this were the case, this selection comes two picks before the Buccaneers. If this projection holds true and Pierschbacher is selected near the middle of day three of the draft, this would work to Tampa Bay’s advantage.

The Buccaneers could use their early picks to address more pressing needs such as defensive back, running back, other offensive line positions and potentially defensive line. Then, get their right guard of the future during the fifth round by trading up past the Giants.

Overall, Pierschbacher is a solid prospect that could develop into a serviceable starter in the NFL. His biggest strengths are his footwork and strength. He has experience calling protections which should translate to the NFL. Also, going up against players like potential top-10 pick Quinnen Williams has prepared Pierschbacher to be successful at the next level.

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