2012 NFL Draft - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Posted Apr 28, 2012

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - NFC South, 2012 Draft Selections & Prospects

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2012 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas CityOakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2012 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC
EAST Dallas | NY Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
WEST Arizona | San Francisco | Seattle | St. Louis
NORTH Chicago | Detroit | Green Bay | Minnesota
SOUTH Atlanta | Carolina | New Orleans | Tampa Bay   

- 2011 Tampa Bay Draft Breakdown
- 2010 Tampa Bay Draft Breakdown

The Draft Was ... terrific. Safeties were at a premium and the Buccaneers got their man in Mark Barron. Doug Martin is the perfect complement to LeGarrette Blount for the running game, while second round linebacker pick Lavonte David should pay off big. The late picks were at least chances on doing something big, like lightning fast seventh round pick Michael Smith, who can be a star in the return game and as a third down specialist.
Best Value Pick: LB Lavonte David, Nebraska, 2nd round
Worst Value Pick: LB Najee Goode, West Virginia, 5th round
They Should've ... taken Tank Carder instead of Goode. They do slightly different things, and the Bucs already took an undersized inside linebacker in David, but Carder would've been a better fit. He's a much stronger tackler than Goode.
Division Draft Ranking: 1
Overall Draft Ranking: 12

First Round

S Mark Barron, Alabama (SS) 6-1, 213
Overall Pick No. 7 CFN Overall Ranking: 13
CFN Analysis: Everyone wanted Mark Barron. Dallas wanted him, but wasn't going to pay the high price to take him. Name the team and it wanted the best safety in the draft. Not only is Barron the best safety, he's the best safety prospect by a ten-mile wide margin. The Tampa Bay defense needed a defensive back, and while Morris Claiborne was there for the taking have the Bucs stayed put, Barron is a good value pick at a position that doesn't value safeties all that high.

One of the few top-shelf safety prospects in the draft, he's a premium prospect even if he isn't quite considered one on most draft boards. With excellent size, he hits like a linebacker and is terrific in run support, however, he also covers like a linebacker from time to time and might only be able to work at strong safety. He has decent speed for the position, but he's not going to fly all over the field and he'll be at his best when he gets to play closer to the line. Forget about him when it comes to man coverage against the speedier receivers, but he'll provide good help and will be in the right position at the right time to make a slew of big plays and interceptions. No, he's not going to be another Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu, but he'll be ready right out of the box and should be a good leader and key part of a secondary for a long, long time.
CFN Projection: First Round

Second Round

ILB Lavonte David, Nebraska 6-1, 233
Overall Pick No. 58 CFN Overall Ranking: 36
CFN Analysis: David fits the tradition of great Tampa Bay defenders. He might not have the bulk the defense needs, but he can fly and he's a baller who'll find his way on the field on Day One. The Buccaneers needed to address the shaky linebacker situation after helping the secondary with Mark Barron in the first round, and they came up with a gem who'd be a first rounder if he was just a wee bit bigger. He might not have a long shelf life, and he didn't time fast, but he's a player.

A pure football player and a peerless tackler, he's better on the field than he is in workouts. At least that's the hope after shaky Combine with 4.6 speed and just 19 reps on the bench. At just 233 pounds he's not big enough to be a dominant all-around force, and he doesn't have any room to get any bigger. Throw in the average ability in pass coverage, and there are problems. However, he's a great leader, he always gets around the ball, and he sniffs out plays two seconds before they seem to happen. He's everything a defensive coordinator would want in a worker and in attitude, but there's a hard ceiling on what he can do. Even so, whether it's as a linebacker or a strong safety, he'll work his way into a starting role and should be a triple-digit tackler in the right system.
CFN Projection: Third Round  

Fifth Round

ILB Najee Goode, West Virginia 6-0, 244
Overall Pick No. 140 CFN Overall Ranking: 250
One of the fastest inside linebackers in the draft, he's around a 4.6 40 runner who jumped well and showed he could end up as a speed rushing specialist on the outside if he doesn't hold down a job on the inside. A rock, he's not all that tall but he's built like a brick wall with a central casting physique. However, he looks stronger than he plays and gets blocked and shoved around way too easily. His biggest positive is his versatility, but he'll likely be an inside defender after looking more natural there last year. Even with his athleticism, though, he's not much of a pass defender, and he might have to start out making his mark on special teams.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

Sixth Round

CB Keith Tandy, West Virginia 5-10, 202
Overall Pick: 174 CFN Overall Ranking: No. 25 CB
It all depends on where someone wants to play him. The speed is just good enough to work from time to time at corner, and he's a smart defender who always seems to be around the ball including coming up big against the run. Great when the ball is in the air, he attacks the play and he's always hustling to make something happen. The tools aren't there, though, with mediocre speed and without the shiftiness to hold up against the quicker targets. He needs to be in a zone scheme and could be used as a safety, but he'll always be ready no matter where he plays.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

Seventh Round

RB Michael Smith, Utah State 5-9, 206
Overall Pick No. 212   CFN Overall Rank: Unranked
A bolt of lightning, he's a low 4.3 runner with blazing wheels in the open field. While he's small, he has a nice base and he's built like a sprinter. He won't be an NFL runner, but he could become a whale of a specialist if he hooks up with a creative offensive coordinator who finds a way to utilize the speed and quickness in space. That means Smith should become a receiver over time and he has to find a role as a third down receiver, even though he only caught 16 career passes. Yes, he can fly, but he doesn't have the pure pro running skills needed to show off his talents without a lot of help.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round