The Buccaneers have elected to draft Notre Dame OL Robert Hainsey with the 95th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Many had assumed the Bucs would address their offensive line depth at some point in the top half of the draft. They did just that in grabbing the former Notre Dame right tackle.
Who is Robert Hainsey?
Hainsey is a senior right tackle from Notre Dame. He started all 13 games in 2018 for the Irish. He missed most of 2019 with an ankle injury, but came back to start all 12 games last fall. Hainsey becomes the third Notre Dame offensive lineman taken in this draft so far. He earned 2020 2nd-team All-ACC honors.
How does this help or hurt the Buccaneers?
This was a slightly curious pick, to me, given who was still left on the board (cough, Quinn Meinerz). The Bucs’ starting tackles are both signed through 2023. The Bucs re-signed Josh Wells for the 2021 season a month ago, and Joe Haeg signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. As such, finding a long-term swing tackle was becoming a little bit more important. According to Pro Football Focus, Hainsey allowed only 3 sacks over 1224 passing down snaps from 2018-2020. They also had an 89.6 grade for him. That’s encouraging, to say the least.
However, most scouts -including The Athletic’s Dane Brugler- project Hainsey to slide inside to either center or guard in the NFL. He played both positions at the 2021 Senior Bowl and really turned heads.
— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) January 27, 2021
That makes more sense, considering the Bucs are looking for more depth on the interior. Regardless, Hainsey’s experience playing right tackle in college is valuable, as well. He could end up being the team’s swing tackle. Who knows?
Who else was available at No. 95?
Depth on both lines is the key to this draft for Tampa Bay. I figured the option might have been there to go IOL somewhere in the first three rounds. Alex Cappa, Ryan Jensen, and Aaron Stinnie are all unrestricted free agents after 2021. I was a big fan of Meinerz from Wisconsin-Whitewater and thought the DIII-to-Tampa-Bay-offensive-line trend might continue there. Jason Licht did not agree, as he slipped by and went to Denver three picks later. Tennessee OG Trey Smith, a potential mauler in the run game, was also on the board.
It’s a good spot for the Bucs to take a tackle and let him learn. And it’s a good idea to take someone who could play all three interior line spots, as well. Hainsey doesn’t even have to be the primary swing tackle this fall, as Josh Wells has starting experience. I like that Licht took a player with years of productivity from a winning program. He may not have the measurables like a first-round tackle, but he’s a good, sound football player. With the tackle position addressed, the Bucs will hopefully turn their attention towards building a little more depth on defense, on the interior offensive line, and finding a reserve running back or other offensive playmaker/special teams contributor later in the draft.
How do you feel about the Buccaneers deciding to draft Robert Hainsey? Let us know in the comment section below!