Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik is a gambler. A compulsive one. One look at the Bucs' roster tells you that. It is filled with players he has bet a large chunk of the Glazer family fortune on the most notable of which might be cornerback Darrelle Revis.

It is filled with payoffs too. Handsome ones the most notable of which might be right tackle Demar Dotson.

Dominik placed only a small wager on Dotson staking little more than his reputation as a talent evaluator on a 2009 hunch that a 6-foot-9 315-pound power forward off the Southern Mississippi basketball team could develop into a starting caliber NFL offensive lineman.

"He had the length and the strength that you look for at the position and having the feet of a basketball player I just always thought there was a real possibility he could make it'' Dominik said. "The real credit goes to him though because he's made the most of the opportunity.''

Now entering his fifth year and coming off a season in which he pushed six-year starter Jeremy Trueblood to the bench after only one game Dotson is preparing for his first opening day start. The milestone is one that many including Dotson once thought was out of reach.

"When I first got here five years ago I thought I was in way over my head'' Dotson said after a recent training camp workout. "I mean I walked in here that first year as an undrafted tryout free agent and I'd never played the position before and all the other guys they were way way better than I was.''

There was a logical reason for that. Dotson had spent the majority of his college career playing basketball averaging about three points and four rebounds per game as a defensive-oriented power forward.

It wasn't until his senior year that he joined the Golden Eagles football team finally taking up then-coach Larry Fedora on a long-standing offer to change sports.

Fedora though didn't see Dotson the same way Dominik did.

Fedora took particular note of Dotson's height and decided to make him a defensive end his hope being that Dotson could get his hands up and swat away passes the same way he swatted away jump shots.