The Buccaneers addressed two pressing needs in the first round with the selection of Alabama strong safety Mark Barron and Boise State running back Doug Martin. Tampa Bay traded down from the fifth pick to the seventh pick with Jacksonville and grabbed the hard-hitting, playmaking Barron to bolster the team’s secondary.
The surprise release two weeks ago of Tanard Jackson made safety the weakest position on the team in terms of depth and experience. Barron figures to be an opening day starter alongside either Cody Grimm or Ronde Barber in the secondary.
After picking up a fourth-round pick from the Jaguars to trade down in the first round, the Bucs swapped that pick and the team’s second-rounder, the 36th overall, with Denver to move back into the first round with the 31st overall selection to select Martin. With only LeGarrette Blount, Mossis Madu and the recently signed Robert Hughes under contract, the Bucs needed to add depth to the backfield.
The versatile Martin can immediately step in and become Tampa Bay’s third down back due to his pass catching and pass protecting ability, and he figures to split carries with Blount while he learns the playbook and gains experience.
So where does Tampa Bay go now on Day 2 of the NFL Draft? Currently, the Bucs have five remaining picks, including their own selection in the third round, the 68th overall, and needs remain at linebacker, cornerback and even tight end.
Don’t be surprised if general manager Mark Dominik makes another trade or two before the draft is over, especially given the fact that the draft remains deep at cornerback and linebacker through the next three rounds.
Here are a couple of candidates the Buccaneers could be targeting on Friday:SECOND ROUND OPTIONS (if the Bucs trade up)
CB Josh Robinson – UCF – Junior – 5-10, 199 – 4.33
Robinson’s stock is on the rise due to an ultra-fast time in the 40-yard dash at the combine and he could sneak into the first round. Robinson broke up 36 passes and picked off 10, returning two for touchdowns, during his three years at Central Florida. He also returned a fumble 56 yards for a touchdown. Blessed with great speed, Robinson can also return punts and kicks and that only adds to his draft value.
CB Janoris Jenkins – North Alabama – Senior – 5-10, 193 – 4.46
Jenkins could be the most talented cornerback in the draft, but his off-field issues have pushed him out of the first round. He was arrested multiple times for drugs while at Florida and then dismissed from the Gators program prior to the 2011 season. He has fathered four children with three different women and is incredibly immature and reckless. He had 10 career interceptions in college and returned three punts for touchdowns. Jenkins is definitely a boom or bust prospect due to his behavior.OLB Lavonte David – Nebraska – Senior – 6-1, 233 – 4.65
David is an athletic, playmaking linebacker that was extremely productive during his two-year career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. David made an instant impact on the Nebraska defense in 2010, after transferring from a JUCO school. He tallied 285 tackles in just 27 games with the Cornhuskers. David also added 28 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, 10 pass deflections and two interceptions, which shows that he was a playmaker. He’s phenomenal in pass coverage and isn’t afraid to get physical in run defense.OLB Bobby Wagner – Utah State – Senior – 6-0, 241 – 4.46
Wagner shot up draft boards following a great Senior Bowl week, where he was named the North squad’s Most Valuable Player. He’s a versatile linebacker that can play inside and outside linebacker. The Utah State standout is a solid tackler that displays the ability to read and react to plays quickly. Wagner has quick feet, but doesn’t showcase great straight-line speed on tape. The Utah State linebacker recorded 147 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions as a senior in 2011. CB Brandon Boykin – Georgia – Senior – 5-10, 182 – 4.44 (est.)
Boykin is a talented athlete that starred on defense, special teams and offense at Georgia. He had two receiving touchdowns, an 80-yard touchdown run, a 92-yar punt return touchdown in the Outback Bowl, and four kickoff return touchdowns to go along with two forced fumbles, a safety, 18 pass breakups and nine career interceptions He is coming off a fractured leg during the Senior Bowl that prevented him from working out prior to the draft.CB Jayron Hosley – Virginia Tech – Junior – 5-10, 178 – 4.47
Hosely was a ballhawk for the Hokies where he snared 12 interceptions, broke up 22 passes and forced two fumbles. He’s tougher than most would think despite his slight frame, but can add more size at the next level. Hosley can defend bigger receivers due to his 34-inch vertical jump. He is an elite punt returner and has two touchdowns in his career.MLB Mychal Kendricks – California – Senior – 5-11, 240 - 4.47
Kendricks turned in a monster combine performance, where he ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, recorded a vertical jump of 39.5, and bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times. He also earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. He racked up 106 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss. He’s an undersized, but feisty prospect that would fit best as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 base system. CB Alfonzo Dennard – Nebraska – Senior – 5-10, 204 – 4.55
Dennard is coming off hip and shoulder injuries and that has caused his stock to slip into the middle of the second round. He is a tough, physical cornerback that lacks ideal ballhawking skills, evidenced by the fact that he only had four career interceptions – none of which came in 2011. Dennard is ideally a number two cornerback in the NFL and does not possess the ability to shut down an elite receiver.TE Dwayne Allen – Clemson – Junior – 6-3, 255 – 4.89
Allen is a very good tight end that excels at both run blocking and receiving. While he doesn’t have “elite” athleticism, he can make plays on all levels of the field. Allen was a consistent playmaker for the Tigers’ offense. The Clemson tight end finished his great college career with 91 catches for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns. TE Orson Charles – Georgia – Junior – 6-3, 251 – 4.73
Charles was arguably the best receiving tight end in all of college football in 2011. Charles might have been better off staying at Georgia for his senior season, but he elected to come out early. He’s an average run blocker at best, and he will need to add some extra weight for the NFL. Charles concluded his impressive college career with 93 grabs for 1,368 yards and 10 scores. THIRD ROUND OPTIONS
CB Ron Brooks – LSU – Senior – 5-10, 190 – 4.37
Brooks was a top reserve cornerback who played in nickel defense at LSU behind Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Matheau. He was coached by Bucs secondary coach Ron Cooper at LSU and performed well as the team’s slot cornerback. Brooks had just three interceptions at LSU, but all three were returned for touchdowns. Brooks, who came in for a pre-draft visit, was also a fierce tackler and blitzer from the slot where he recorded 90 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups, 5.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. He excels on special teams.CB Trumaine Johnson – Montana – Senior – 6-2, 204 – 4.61
NFL scouts worry about Johnson’s lack of speed and some teams may feel that he is better suited to play safety. That versatility actually works in Johnson’s favor. What scouts do like is his ball skills. Johnson had 35 pass breakups, 15 interceptions with two touchdowns and one forced fumble. However, Johnson only had two interceptions last year, which is why his stock isn’t higher.TE Ladarius Green – Louisiana-Lafayette – Senior – 6-6, 238 – 4.53
Green is a fantastic receiver that can make big plays in the passing game. He possesses good height, which allows him to go up and get the football over opposing defenseman. Green had a solid Senior Bowl showing, which all but solidified his status as a mid-round selection. During his 43-game college career, he caught 149 passes for 2201 yards and 22 touchdowns. CB Leonard Johnson – Iowa State – Senior – 5-10, 196 – 4.56
Johnson, a Clearwater, Fla. native, loves the Bucs and had a very long interview with the team at the Senior Bowl. He is coming off a neck injury and struggled at Senior Bowl a bit. NFL scouts question his playmaking ability, evidenced by only four career interceptions, but he is a sure tackler and does have good coverage ability.CB Josh Norman – Coastal Carolina – Senior – 6-0, 197 – 4.57
Norman is a raw, talented athlete with great size. He had an amazing 35 pass breakups, 13 interceptions, four forced fumbles and four blocked kicks in his career. Norman burst on to the scene at the East-West Shrine Game and also was asked to play at the Senior Bowl as an injury replacement.CB Dwight Bentley – Louisiana-Lafayette – Senior – 5-10, 182 – 4.43
Bentley was a playmaking corner that had seven interceptions, of which three were returned for touchdowns, 20 pass breakups and three forced fumbles. Bentley was a great tackler with 232 career stops and plays bigger than his size.MLB Tank Carder – TCU – Senior – 6-2, 236 – 4.69
Carder has been the heart of the TCU Horned Frogs’ defense. He recorded 70 tackles, 2 interceptions, each was returned for touchdowns, and 4.5 tackles for loss. Carder plays hard and is a smart football player. He has the power to deliver some big hits and has the instincts to make plays behind the line of scrimmage in the running game. He could be a candidate to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. OLB Demario Davis – Arkansas State – Senior – 6-2, 235 – 4.61
Davis is a versatile linebacker that can play all three linebacker positions in the 4-3 base defense. He’s very athletic and he plays with a nasty demeanor. He was impressive at the Senior Bowl against the best talent that the draft has to offer. Davis is an emotional leader that loves the game of football. The Arkansas State senior finished his career with 230 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks and four picks. MLB Audie Cole – California – Senior – 6-2, 199 – 4.46
Cole was moved from outside linebacker to middle linebacker in the Wolfpacks’ 4-3 base defense in 2011. He performed well, as he totaled 108 tackles. He was a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award. Looked somewhat stiff at the Senior Bowl, but he was solid against the run where he showed good block-shedding ability. TE Taylor Thompson – SMU – Senior – 6-6, 259 – 4.56
Thompson played at defensive end for SMU, but he looks like he is making the transition to the tight end position. Thompson has good size and speed, which will help him generate interest around the league. The Buccaneers have shown some interest in Thompson, who visited One Buccaneer Place prior to the draft.
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.