There is one common theme amongst the players competing to start upfront and it’s simple: size matters. Not one offensive lineman signed comes in weighing less than 300 pounds. Combine that size with speed and versatility you’ve got a 1,200-plus pound teal and gold wall that’s potentially the league’s best. And it will have to be if the Pirates hope to build on the success of 2019. Let’s take a closer look at the men who’ll be fighting for a starting job on the offensive line.
Baker originally signed with the Pirates in late ‘19 but, due to the nationwide pandemic, our first glimpses of the powerful offensive lineman will be in the upcoming season. Baker now joins the Pirates for the 2021 season. Hard work, persistence, and versatility marked Baker’s college career as a Georgia Bulldog. As a senior in ‘18, Baker played four of five offensive line positions in helping his team reach the SEC Championship game for the second straight season. 2017 saw Baker win the “Up Front” Award at the Bulldogs postseason gala, named for best offensive lineman. His ferociousness and point of attack power make Baker an invaluable resource on offense. It’s remarkable to note Baker actually arrived at Georgia as a defensive line specialist. His versatility should come in handy when the Pirates need a lineman who can play any position.
The Miami, FL native joins the Pirates for 2021 with more indoor experience than any other offensive lineman on the roster. Along with brief stints in the NFL, McCray has been playing the indoor game since ‘16. Most recently, McCray was a member of the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers in the pandemic shortened 2020 season. Along with his two brothers, McCray played college football at the University of Central Florida. Described as a mauling offensive lineman, with his experience and talent, McCray could emerge as a team and position leader.
Wallace recently signed with the Pirates for the 2021 season. He most previously played in The Spring League in late 2020. Wallace had a solid college football career split between Cal Berkeley and the University of Kansas. In January of ‘19 Wallace played in two college all-star games and was voted offensive line MVP in one of them. With his size and talent, Wallace could become a key member of the Pirates offense this season.
Thomas gained experience playing multiple offensive line positions at Northwestern University. As a senior at Northwestern in 2019 Thomas started every game at center on his way to being named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention. Another young football player whose career was put on hold due to the pandemic, Thomas has something to prove.
Like Baker, Wright was also signed for 2020 to play for the Pirates. He played his college football at Penn State protecting quarterback Trace McSorley and opening holes for the likes of Miles Sanders and Saquon Barkely. He was the recipient of the Nittany Lions’ Quarterback Club Award given to players deserving special recognition. With uncommon size (6’7”, 350 lbs.) Wright should become an imposing force on the Pirates offensive line.
With a combination of youth and experience, the Pirates offensive line has all the pieces falling into place. This group is big, strong, and tenacious. Opening up holes and protecting the quarterback will be the unit’s primary mission when the season kicks off on April 24th. Regardless of who starts, these players are all up for the task.
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