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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Reviewing Their 2012 NFL Draft

Dan HopeContributor IIIMay 4, 2012

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Reviewing Their 2012 NFL Draft

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished last season with the NFL’s longest losing streak with many needs all over their roster, so they had many options at the No. 5 overall pick. They could have used the pick to select LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne or Boston College inside linebacker Luke Kuechly, but instead made the decision to trade down two spots with the Jacksonville Jaguars and then select Alabama strong safety Mark Barron.

    The Buccaneers were very trade-happy in this draft, making three deals in the first two rounds. Did they make smart trades and get good value? Read through the following slides to find out.

Evaluating the Picks

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    Round 1, Pick 7: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 21

    Barron was a reach as a top-10 draft selection, but he stands out as the best safety prospect in the draft class. He is a rangy athlete who is very good in run support, hits hard and has great size for a strong safety. He has his deficiencies in coverage, but he is an effective playmaker in the secondary.


    Round 1, Pick 31: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 51

    Martin is an athletic back who is a very good receiver out of the backfield, can run in between the tackles, is dangerous in space and is a capable blocker. He has terrific vision and burst, and he runs with a low center of gravity. He is unlikely to be a star, but he is a well-rounded runner who should complement LeGarrette Blount well.


    Round 2, Pick 58: Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 37

    David is an undersized linebacker, but he makes up for it with tremendous instincts and athleticism in space. He is a sound tackler who rarely whiffs, hits hard and is always around the football. He does well dropping back into coverage. He should find success as an NFL weak-side linebacker.



    Round 5, Pick 140: Najee Goode, ILB, West Virginia

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 239

    Goode is a solid athlete and an instinctive, sound tackler. He may lack the size and strength to be more than a special teamer at next level.



    Round 6, Pick 174: Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 158

    Tandy is an instinctive cornerback with solid ball skills and playmaking ability. Sometimes overaggressive. A capable but unspectacular athlete.



    Round 7, Pick 212: Michael Smith, RB, Utah State

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 265

    Smith was a backup running back at Utah State, but he really emerged late in his senior season. Small back, but he is a very good athlete who runs hard. A project with potential.



    Round 7, Pick 233: Drake Dunsmore, H-B, Northwestern

    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 210

    Dunsmore is an undersized tight end, but he has reliable hands and is a good in-line blocker. He has potential as an H-back and special teams player.

Evaluating the Trades

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    The Buccaneers traded Round 1, Pick 5 to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Round 1, Pick 7 and Round 4, Pick 101.

    With numerous top defensive talents available, the Buccaneers had the leeway to move down two spots, pick up an extra selection and still get a quality player who could help them.

    By making the trade down, the Buccaneers missed out on the opportunity to draft the best defensive player in the draft, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Having traded down, the best pick would have been Boston College inside linebacker Luke Kuechly. Although Mark Barron was not the best pick at No. 7, they still got a quality player and extra value to select the player they wanted all along.



    The Buccaneers traded Round 2, Pick 36 and Round 4, Pick 101 to the Denver Broncos for Round 1, Pick 31 and Round 4, Pick 126.

    This trade seemed unnecessary for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but apparently Doug Martin was the running back they coveted. The New York Giants likely would have selected Martin if the Buccaneers had not made this move up, so the trade made sense in getting the player they wanted.

    That said, the Buccaneers should have stayed put, and still could have selected Miami’s Lamar Miller and most likely have had the opportunity to draft Virginia Tech’s David Wilson, both of whom are more explosive running back prospects than Martin. Martin will be a good addition to the Buccaneers rotation, but he was not worth trading back into the first round for.


    The Buccaneers traded Round 3, Pick 68 and Round 4, Pick 126 to the Houston Texans for Round 2, Pick 58 and Round 7, Pick 233.

    The Buccaneers gave up some value in the actual trade, but this move up was well worth it for the Bucs. The Bucs really needed to add a playmaker at the linebacker position in this draft, and they did so by trading up for Nebraska outside linebacker Lavonte David, who was a steal late in Round 2.



    The Buccaneers traded Round 4, Pick 99 along with their 2011 fourth-round selection to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2011 draft for the Eagles’ fourth-round selection in that draft.

    Trading two fourth-round picks for one fourth-round pick makes no more sense now than it did at the time. While they used the pick to get a tight end with big potential in Tennessee’s Luke Stocker, the Buccaneers got a serious lack of value in this actual trade, giving up a higher draft selection in this year’s draft than they received in moving up only 12 spots in last year’s draft.

Assessing Value

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    Based on his talent alone, Barron should not have been a top-10 draft choice. While Barron is a talented all-around strong safety, he is not the playmaker—especially in terms of coverage or ball skills—that would be expected to be among the first seven players taken in the draft.

    That said, his value was high due to a weak class of safeties, so selecting him at No. 7 overall was not a huge reach. However, Luke Kuechly would have been the better choice for both value and need.

    Trading back up into Round 1 to draft Martin, a second-round value, was poor value. Trading back up into Round 2 to select David, however, was good value as they moved up to get one of the best linebackers in the class to address their area of greatest need.

    The Buccaneers did not get any late-round steals, but made solid selections to round out their draft.

Addressing Needs

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    The Buccaneers addressed their three most pressing needs by drafting a safety, a running back and a linebacker with their first three picks. They doubled up on those needs as well, drafting another linebacker, defensive back and running back with their next three picks.

    The Buccaneers did not leave any major needs unfilled.

Conclusion

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    The Buccaneers draft was defined by three trades in the early rounds. The Buccaneers did not get the best value at the No. 7 overall pick by selecting Mark Barron, and trading back up into Round 1 for Doug Martin was also questionable in terms of value. Trading up for Lavonte David was a terrific move that could help them the most of any of their moves in this draft.

    Overall, the Buccaneers had a solid draft. They could have taken better advantage of the trades they made, but they drafted solid players to fill their biggest needs.

    Grade: B

    Thanks for reading!

    Throughout the month of May, I will be reviewing one team’s draft each day, in the order of the original 2012 NFL draft order.

    Follow me on Twitter @Dan_Hope.

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