Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 Draft Brings That Wonderful Smell of Fresh Air
Wouldn't be surprised if the first thing Greg Schiano noticed when he first walked into One Buc Place was a foul stench in the air.
It was all over the place: in the locker rooms, workout rooms, everywhere. Seems it drifted over from Raymond James Stadium, where they are still trying to get rid of the smell.
That would be the stench of losing, that awful stench created by 10 straight losses to finish the 2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneer season, including the final five games in which the Bucs surrendered 38, 41, 31, 48 and 45 points.
The stink was overwhelming.
The fumigation is in full "refresh" mode, and the controls were turned up with this just-completed draft.
Take a look at these names:
Mark Barron, Doug Martin, Lavonte David.
Three players from the first two rounds who are leaders. Accomplished, skilled football players who represent "The New Buccaneer Way." They are fresh air where it is badly needed. Fresh air, fresh attitudes, basically an entire new culture, if you will.
Now let's make you feel even better:
Carl Nicks, Vincent Jackson, Eric Wright.
Will all seven draft picks make the final roster?
Take those three, combine them with the first three, and you can see what is now going on over there at Buc headquarters.
Real fresh air, and this one passes the sniff test.
Mark Dominik deserves high fives for his deft maneuvers in the first two rounds, where he used fourth-round picks to move back into the first round late to get Martin, then inserted the Bucs into the second round to get David.
Barron will most likely be expected to emerge as a starter at strong safety, although he has experience at both positions—a recurring theme in this draft: versatile players. Refreshing.
Doug Martin is here to show LeGarrette Blount what it means to work at your profession. Martin is here as the poster guy for a three-down back. Take a look, LeGarrette, take a long, hard look. If you didn't like the idea of Trent Richardson, well, big fella, you're sure not going to like that little pinball from Boise State. No, you won't like him at all; he's here to get you more time—on the bench.
Lavonte David will hopefully be everything Geno Hayes wasn't.
In all fairness, Hayes was a sixth-round pick. Not too many sixth-round picks become All-Pros unless you luck out with a Tom Brady.
David is a second-round pick, and with that comes high expectations. They'll pencil him in at the Will linebacker, and he'll have to earn it, like everyone else. Earn your position, isn't that a novel idea?
Will Doug Martin push LeGarrette Blount to the bench?
A lot will be expected of those top three guys, as it should be.
The nice part is the new collective bargaining agreement has rookie salaries at a sane level. The Bucs don't have to give anyone $63.4 million the way they did Gerald McCoy. They won't have to cut anyone a check for $12 million the way they had to with McCoy last year.
I trust all you McCoy lovers would feel differently about the great Geraldini if that $12 million came out of your account.
Those new rookie caps are the reason you saw teams trading all over the place in the first round, a record number of trades due to the fact that teams no longer have to fork over a king's ransom for a top-10 pick.
But I digress.
After those three, there's nothing wrong at all with the final four—linebacker Najee Goode and his roomie Keith Tandy, a pair of Mountaineers, are—again—versatile. Goode can play inside and outside, while Tandy might get a look at both corner and safety, as he's got good size.
Michael Smith is speed personified. Short, fast guy who can run 4.3, now there's your changeup third-down weapon, and he has hands (take notice, LeGarrette Blount). Get him in space, watch the acceleration.
Ah, speed, what a wonderful concept!
Who has a chance to start from the last four?
Finally, Drake Dunsmore from Northwestern might be the cure for Luke Stocker's bad hip. Dunsmore has "Erik Lorig" written all over him. He can play tight end, fullback, blocking back. Nice.
Mark Dominik put the cap on it all at the post-draft presser via Buccaneers.com: "We were looking for tough, smart, character football players, guys that when you watch them on tape, you feel them, guys that are able to make plays either with their speed or their precision and are just tough, physical, football players."
Take a deep breath.
It smells better over there already.
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