Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2012 NFL Draft Analysis

1st Round (#7) SS Mark Barron, Alabama

1st Round (#31) RB Doug Martin, Boise State

2nd Round (#58) OLB Lavonte David, Nebraska

5th Round (#140) ILB Najee Goode, West Virginia

6th Round (#174) Keith Tandy, West Virginia

7th Round (#212) RB Michael Smith, Utah State

7th Round (#233) TE Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern

Analysis of Notable Selections:

Mark Barron: The Bucs were the NFL’s worst defense in 2011 and their secondary was particularly troublesome. The team is weak at cornerback, but maybe even more so at safety. Tampa Bay traded down a little bit to Jacksonville’s spot (#7 overall) and gained a 4th round draft choice. Mark Barron is a physical and smart safety who right away upgrades Tampa Bay’s safety position. Barron should be a good pro, but may not have the pass defense skills down the field to be an elite safety.

Doug Martin: Tampa Bay wants to run the ball better and more often. The team ranked last in rushing attempts last year and that will change with the addition of Doug Martin. LeGarrette Blount is not a quality lead back and really should complement a good starter. Tampa traded back into the 1st round to secure Martin’s services. The former Boise State star lacks an exceptional quality, but does everything well. Martin can be the steady lead back that can run, catch passes and pass protect that Greg Schiano wants to take pressure off of Josh Freeman.

Lavonte David: The undersized former Nebraska linebacker has the instincts and work ethic to develop into a long-term starter at weakside linebacker. David’s tackling skills and ability to diagnose plays quickly will be a welcome addition to a defense that was awful against the run last year. David is not as strong as Derrick Brooks was, but they both find the football and arrive in a hurry. Tampa Bay found a terrific fit at a position of major need with the Lavonte David selection.

2012 NFL Draft Grade: B+

Bottom Line: Tampa Bay added three good starters (Barron, Martin drafting services and David), but none of them may be exceptional pros. Lavonte David was likely their best value selection as his instincts and passion for the game are terrific. The Bucs are still very suspect at cornerback and 6th round pick, Keith Tandy, is not going to help much. Tampa Bay did well on the first two days of the draft, but none of their 3rd day selections look like anything more than potential backups. Tampa Bay should be an improved team after a productive draft and several key free agent signings.