Lessons Learned from Tampa Bay Buccaneers', Mark Dominik's 2012 Draft Strategy
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came into 2011 as a "youngry" team under 35-year-old head coach Raheem Morris. They had momentum from a strong finish to 2010 and tons of youth and energy.
Instead, the team cratered and Morris was let go after the season. Attempts to hire a new head coach were unsuccessful until the team got deep into its list and tabbed Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano.
Tampa would surely undergo a culture overhaul in the offseason. How would general manager Mark Dominik start to institute the accompanying roster overhaul via the draft?
The Bucs put a very high value on the safety position in their defense
How else do you explain the choice of Mark Barron at No. 7 overall? Barron is good, very good, but he is not at level of LaRon Landry, Sean Taylor and Eric Berry—three of the four safeties who have defied the lower positional value in the middle of the secondary to go in the top seven in the last 10 years.
Michael Huff was also taken by the Raiders in the top seven, but we know that their talent evaluation under owner Al Davis was different than the rest of the league. We must conclude that the Buccaneers believe a two-way safety can be a crucial piece of new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan's unit.
Greg Schiano is going to run, run and run some more on offense
After landing Barron, the Bucs traded back into the first round to land Doug Martin, the second-rated running back on most draft boards. The team already had LeGarrette Blount, who had fumble issues in 2011 when the team wasn't curiously abandoning him early in games.
While Blount is not exactly an all-pro, he is a power back who can be paired with a smaller, part-time back for an effective, balanced running game.
The Bucs' stress on getting Martin, who has the build and skill set of a feature back, shows that Schiano is going to try to run the ball as much as any team in the league.
The Bucs knew exactly who they wanted and what they were willing to pay for them
In addition to being willing to trade down to where they thought they could still get Barron and trading up for a falling Martin (giving up the pick they got in the trade-down that landed Barron), Dominik also pulled the trigger on another trade-up from the third to second round: linebacker Lavonte David. This is not insignificant, as it left a rebuilding team with no third or fourth-round picks.
In Dominik's defense, he did not rob his 2013 draft pick allotment to get back in those rounds. It's pretty easy to picture a war room hellbent on coming away with Barron, Martin and David. They did it, and now it's time to see whether it was wise.
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