The name Ali Marpet might not ring a bell around the NFL, but it should. Marpet could and should be mentioned in the same class that includes players such as the Cowboys’ Zack Martin, the Eagles’ Brandon Brooks, the Panthers’ Trai Turner, and the Saints’ double threat of Andrus Peat and Larry Warford. However, the Bucs record this year wasn’t what one would call great, and unfortunately, a winning record matters when it becomes time to pick players for the Pro Bowl. Take a look at what happened to the Bucs Mike Evans, for example, who had a Pro Bowl year, and he made it only by default.
Marpet, out of Hobart College, was drafted in the 2nd round [61st overall] in 2015. He was the first Division III player to be selected out of the 100 players in an NFL draft since 1990 when the Seattle Seahawks selected Ferrum College’s running back Chris Warren with the #84 pick. At the NFL scouting combine in 2015, Marpet stood out among offensive linemen posting the fastest 40 times at 4.98, fastest 10-yard time at 1.71 seconds, and the second-best time in both the three-cone drill at 7.33 seconds and 20-year shuttle at 4.47. He also ranked 5th among offensive linemen in the 225 repetitions with 30.
Marpet started his 2015 rookie year at right guard finishing as the number 12th best run blocking guard in the NFL and graded as the best in the league for week 8.
Fast forward to 2017 Marpet was moved to center when starting center Joe Hawley went down to injury. With Marpet on the field, the quarterback was sacked only 4.5 percent of the time on passing downs versus over 9% with Marpet out of the lineup.
Going into the 2018 season, then Head Coach Dirk Koetter moved Marpet back to left guard after the signing of former Ravens center Ryan Jensen. On October 9th, 2018, Marpet signed a well-deserved contract extension worth $54.125 million dollars with $26.8 million guaranteed. He has earned respect from the Bucs fans and players for his physical style of play, level of excellence, intelligence, and communication skills on the field. He has served as team captain and together with Donovan Smith helped recruit Ryan Jensen as a free agent.
Ali Marpet might not be a name the people around NFL knows yet, but the Bucs know, and their fans know it. It’s a name that definitely looks like it could end up in Canton one day alongside Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks; to me that’s a great group to be in.