The Buccaneers surprised many with the selection of Alabama safety Mark Barron with the seventh-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Buccaneers used the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft to select Alabama strong safety Mark Barron. Tampa Bay traded down, swapping its fifth-round pick with the Jacksonville Jaguars
who were holding the No. 7 pick. The Buccaneers picked up the Jaguars
fourth-round selection in this year’s draft, replacing the fourth-round
pick given up last season in order to move up to select tight end Luke
Barron burst onto the scene as a sophomore with seven interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown. At 6-foot-1, 213 pounds, he has ideal size to stuff the run in the box and cover receivers and tight ends down the seam.
Simply put, Barron is the premier safety in a very weak safety draft class because of his ability to play against the run and the pass.
The hard-hitting Barron, a two-time team captain and a two-time national champion, underwhelmed a bit as a senior, but finished his Crimson Tide career with 235 tackles, 22 pass breakups, 13 tackles for loss, 12 interceptions, five sacks and one forced fumble. Barron has the makings of a future Pro Bowler.
The Mobile, Ala. native helped the Alabama defense lead the nation in run defense (72.15 yards per game), pass defense (111.46 yards per game), total defense (183.62 avg.) and scoring defense (8.15 points per game). The Crimson Tide was only one of 119 major colleges that held opponents to under 80 yards per game on the ground; and the only one to allow under 130 yards passing; and the only defense that allowed less than 260 total yards per game.
Tampa Bay’s 2011 defense was one of the worst in franchise history, allowing 494 points, which was the most-ever by a Buccaneers team. The Bucs allowed over 150 yards on the ground and the tackling on defense was extremely poor last year, especially during the team’s 10-game losing streak.
With the unexpected release of veteran Tanard Jackson two weeks ago, the Buccaneers’ depth at safety took a huge hit. Barron fills a need and adds some real size to the safety position, where Cody Grimm was the tallest – generously listed as 6-foot-1.
The depth at safety was so bad that the Bucs had to consider moving 16-year cornerback Ronde Barber to safety. Tampa Bay now has up to six safeties on its 2012 roster in Barron, Grimm, Ahmad Black, Larry Asante, Devin Holland and possibly Barber.
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