2012 NFL Draft Grades: Why Mark Barron Is a B+ Pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Caleb Abner@cjabshypeContributor IIIApril 26, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 3:  Defensive back Mark Barron #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during pre-game drills of the Kent State Golden Flashes game on September 3, 2011 at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Alabama defeated Kent State 48-7.  (Photo by Greg McWilliams/Getty Images)
Greg McWilliams/Getty Images

Please allow me to introduce Tampa Bay's latest addition, the Red Baron. 

After leading Alabama's defense to the 2011 BCS National Championship, Mark Barron flew up draft boards and quickly entered Top 15 draft status. He is so good that offenses would scheme around him, but his numbers are no less impressive. The strong safety defended four passes and caught two interceptions, becoming a pillar of Nick Saban's defense. 

The Bucs started the night at No. 5, but traded down to No. 7. Trade partner Jacksonville had to cough up a fourth-round pick to move up those two spots, so the franchise could draft wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

Tampa may have been able to press the Jaguars for more picks, but I believe that Mark Dominik did not want to press his luck.

Morris Claiborne was the player most often projected to the Buccaneers. Ironically, he was a defensive back at Bama's archrival, LSU. Had the Bucs stood pat at No. 5, they could have grabbed him before the Dallas Cowboys traded up and drafted Claiborne at No. 6. Clearly the front office did not want the LSU corner.

Tampa Bay wanted Mark Barron.

So instead of selecting Barron with the fifth pick, the team moved down, got the man it wanted and obtained another pick to boot.

In addition, safety was one of TB's biggest needs, in terms of both talent and depth. Tanard Jackson was just released, rendering the safety position thinner than a bikini model. 

Perhaps the Bucs could have traded down lower before they added Barron. Perhaps. But they were able to trade down and get the man they wanted. 

Need: A+

Value: B