The clear winner in free agency, unless you want to say the Broncos won because they signed Peyton Manning, were the Buccaneers, but Super Bowl’s aren’t won in FA, so could they carry that momentum over into the NFL Draft?
With so many holes to fill on both sides of the ball still, I know I just said they won free agency, but that was simply because they added already established players at positions of need now they needed to add young, impactful players as well, the Bucs had to decide what route they would take on draft day.
Without further ado, we get back to our NFL Draft Grades, with my 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Grade.
The Bucs held the fifth pick in the draft and it was pretty much consensus that they would not be drafting there; it was just a question of whether they were moving up or down.
Well when the Browns bit on the Vikings threats and moved up, the Bucs were in move down mode quickly.
They moved down two spots, and were able to draft one of their biggest targets in the draft, Mark Barron.
Barron is strong, instinctive player, who is best utilized in the box and against the run. He is an excellent tackler, and big hitter, and does make good plays on the ball when in coverage.
My biggest beef with Barron is his coverage skills and that he looks tight sometimes, and I don’t see him as being worthy of the seventh overall selection because of his limitations.
I have heard a lot of Adrian Wilson comparisons, and I can see that when I watch him on tape, he seems to wrap better than Wilson, but I don’t think he is as good blitzing, right now, as Wilson.
As a Cardinals fan I can tell you the most frustrating part of watching Wilson play is watching him get beat in coverage. He can make bad reads and isn’t the athlete of an Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu to recover.
I am interested to see how the Bucs use him, which really limits my ability to break down his game on the defense the Bucs are running, but if they let him play to his strengths as a box safety, he could have a similar career as Wilson, and that would make it ok for him to be picked seventh overall.
The Bucs made a bold, and correct, move at the end of round 1 in getting back into the round and taking running back Doug Martin.
Martin is good at everything you want a back to be good at, strong between the tackles, attacking the edge, catching the ball out of the backfield, and blocking, and because of that can stay on the field on any down, and be productive.
He may not wow you with measurables, but that is why the game is played on the field and not on paper.
With his ability out of the backfield and running behind one of the better constructed lines in the NFL, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Martin put up nearly 1700 yards of combined offense as a rookie.
With their last early round selection, the Bucs made another great call in adding Lavonte David, a speedy outside linebacker out of Nebraska.
David is an undersized, athletic outside linebacker who needs to be put in a 4-3 defense and allowed to use his instincts and play making ability.
He is very fast, strong at the point of attack, and does a very good job of wrapping up and bringing down the ball carrier.
David has no problem opening up and dropping into coverage, or running with a TE or RB when asked to.
He knows how to blitz, and is without a doubt a three down linebacker at the next level.
There are questions about his size and ability to get bigger, and he tends to use his speed when attacking the play as opposed to taking on and shedding blockers, which won’t be an option in the NFL.
David has gotten a lot of comparisons of a certain OLB from Florida St, but I would caution of another OLB from FSU as well, because while David has tremendous upside, he has some of the same issues as Ernie Sims coming o
I can see David becoming an All Pro, or not even making it in the league, it just depends on how Schiano uses him in the Bucs new 4-3 system.
In the fifth round and sixth round the Bucs added West Virginia teammates Najee Goode and Keith Tandy.
Goode is another undersized LB, who has great athleticism, but isn’t strong enough to contribute on an every down basis at the next level.
He has the makings of a solid back up LB at all three positions in the 4-3 and someone who can make an impact routinely on special teams.
Tandy on the other hand is an instinctual, smart defensive back who lacks the top end athleticism to be drafted earlier.
He makes good reads, has good burst and quickness in zone coverage and is a willing and able tackler who lacks top end speed to become an every down corner in man coverage.
Tandy also has a very good chance to make this team because of his ability to contribute on special teams and back up all over the defensive back field.
In round 7 they went back to the offense adding possible scat back Michael Smith and tight end prospect Drake Dunsmore.
Smith has appeal to teams because of his rare speed and quickness, and he knows his limitations and played his role extremely well at Utah St behind Robert Turbin.
Has excellent receiving skills out of the backfield, but doesn’t have elite play making ability and is more of a one cut and move runner than a dynamic, shifty back.
Dunsmore is an intriguing prospect because he isn’t overly big or fast, but he can catch the ball.
The biggest question mark outside of where he will play, he is an H-Back without question, is if he can stay on the field, as he has an extensive history of injuries.
Overall: The Bucs had a draft that really hinges on Barron, Martin and David turning out to be at the minimum solid pros.
With the FA acquisitions the Bucs are in a good spot, but they need their newly acquired draft picks to offer the same kind of impact, and again, I have questions on whether Barron and David can reach their full potential at the next level.
That leads me to give the Bucs a Good Draft grade, for now, but with the talent that Barron and David possess, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if this draft ended up being a home run for them… Sadly I also wouldn’t be surprised if it yielded only a solid NFL back in Martin as well.