The Tampa Bay Buccaneers bolstered their offensive line depth in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft, spending the No. 95 overall pick on Notre Dame’s Robert Hainsey.
What made the Bucs so excited to add him to last year’s Super Bowl roster?
“He was obviously a hell of a right tackle [at Notre Dame],” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told the media Friday night. “Then when he went down to the Senior Bowl – some guys will balk at going to different positions. He was more than willing to go left guard, right guard, center. He showed position flexibility against some of the best guys in the Draft. I think for him, it’s just coming in and finding what’s the best niche for him and for us to find that niche. But we feel like he could play outside or inside.”
Bucs general manager Jason Licht echoed Arians’ thoughts about Hainsey’s versatility, as well as his toughness, competitiveness, and leadershup ability as a two-time captain for the Fighting Irish.
“We see him as real versatile guy,” Licht said. “We’ll see how it goes when we get him in here. He played right tackle, three-year starter at Notre Dame, and really held his own. [He] was a very consistent player there. It’s not that we don’t think he can’t play right tackle, but we do think he has a big upside at guard or center, which he played at the Senior Bowl and kind of caught our attention – just the versatility aspect.
“He’s a captain,” Licht continued. “He’s a tough guy. He’s very smart. He has all the traits that our current group has. I think he’s going to fit in great. He’s going to be a guy that we can hopefully plug in a four positions; be a four-spot guy at some point. Like all of our picks, these guys don’t have to go in right away and play and we’re not relying on them, so we have the luxury of developing these guys and into their future roles, whether it’s offensive lineman, starting guard, starting right tackle – whatever it is.”
With center Ryan Jensen and right guard Alex Cappa both heading into the final year of their respective contracts, adding a prospect like Hainsey who could eventually replace either in the starting lineup was a wise move by the Bucs on Day 2 of the draft.