INDIANAPOLIS -- The trade that sent Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankins from the Patriots to the Buccaneers last August didn't exactly work out in the win column for Tampa Bay.
The Bucs won just two games and now hold the No. 1 pick in this spring's NFL Draft.
On the New England end the Patriots went through some clear early-season struggles on the line without its best lineman and group leader. But eventually the front settled into its own for a team that went on to Super Bowl glory.
Despite the lack of team success on the field, though, Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith made it quite clear during his NFL Scouting Combine press conference that he felt good about everything that Mankins brought to a rebuilding Bucs team. He also seemed to put to rest the idea that Tampa might be looking to unload the high-priced guard who will have a $7 million cap number in 2015, all of which is comprised of salary and a small workout bonus.
What did Mankins bring to Tampa? Pretty much what he brought to New England for his successful runs with the Patriots.
"Logan…everything I hoped he would bring," Smith gushed. "I'm talking about a veteran that's played at a high level. Leadership. And then just good play. Logan played well throughout. We need to get others up to pace with him. Everything you want in a player coming in, a veteran player that's done it a certain way, he was able to do for us. Look forward to going forward with him."