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May 2, 2012 @ 10:45 pm
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SR's Analysis On Tampa Bay’s 2012 Draft

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Tampa Bay's 2012 draft is over, Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds offers up his analysis and five aspects about Tampa Bay’s draft that stood out. Click this article to get Reynolds' expert opinion.
With Tampa Bay's 2012 draft having concluded, the Bucs scored points for addressing some needs, but did make a few questionable moves, too. Pewter Report’s Mark Cook and Scott Reynolds
look at five aspects of Tampa Bay’s drafting last week. First up was
Cook’s analysis, followed by Reynolds’ observations on PewterReport.com.


1. The drafting of two sure tacklers –
Tackling was a real big issue for the Buccaneers on defense in 2011. Simply put, it was poor and contributed to Tampa Bay’s defense giving up 494 points over the season and over 150 yards per game. The selection of Alabama strong safety Mark Barron and Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David gives the Bucs not only two immediate starters, but also two textbook defenders that have textbook technique when it comes to tackling.

Barron racked up 235 tackles in his four years at Alabama. David amassed 285 stops in just two seasons at Nebraska. In addition to making the routine tackles, both Barron and David can also make the splash plays. Barron forced 13 turnovers (12 interceptions, one forced fumble) and five sacks, while David forced five turnovers (three forced fumbles, two interceptions) and 11.5 sacks.

Barron figures to be an opening day starter at either strong safety or free safety, and David’s playmaking ability should give him the inside track to start at weakside linebacker.

2. The failure to address the cornerback spot – In PewterReport.com’s opinion, cornerback was Tampa Bay’s top need heading into the 2012 NFL Draft and the Bucs didn’t address it until the sixth round with the selection of West Virginia’s Keith Tandy. The Bucs had the chance to draft LSU cover cornerback Morris Claiborne with the fifth overall pick, but traded down two spots with Jacksonville and missed out on the opportunity to select him.

With Aqib Talib, Ronde Barber and are in a contract year and the Bucs only have three cornerbacks on the 2013 roster – Eric Wright, Myron Lewis and Anthony Gaitor. Tampa Bay needed to get a starting-caliber cornerback out of the draft, and probably didn’t do so in Tandy, who is probably destined to be a nickel cornerback.

It’s hard to knock the drafting of the team’s first three draft picks – Barron, running back Doug Martin and David – but selecting a cornerback somewhere in the first three rounds would have been preferential.

3. Tampa Bay sticks to its guns on character –
 Even though the Bucs had a pressing need at cornerback, they resisted the temptation to draft a couple of talented cover men in North Alabama’s Janoris Jenkins and Nebraksa’s Alfonzo Dennard. Jenkins has four kids with three different women and has been arrested several times on drug possession charges and was kicked out of Florida. Jenkins has top 15 talent, but fell to the Rams in the second round. The Bucs were wise to resist the urge to take him and choose Martin instead.

Dennard was arrested for hitting a police officer just prior to the 2012 NFL Draft and that caused him to fall on many draft boards. The Patriots stopped his draft day slide in the seventh round and the Bucs didn’t appear tempted with their sixth or seventh-round picks.

Tampa Bay also passed on Arizona State middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who has been called uncoachable by some and had a bad penchant for picking up personal fouls for cheap shots in games. The Bucs were wise to pass on him and let the Bengals take him in the sixth round.

All in all, Tampa Bay drafted five team captains and a total of seven players that are said to be good character guys.

4. Yet another linebacker? – Granted, Tampa Bay’s linebacker corps wasn’t a strong suit in 2011. In fact, it was probably one of the team’s biggest weaknesses. In PewterReport.com’s opinion, part of the problem was the suspect coaching of former position coach Joe Baker. Another part was the fact that rookie middle linebacker Mason Foster was thrown into the fire without the benefit of an NFL offseason. Yet another aspect was the sub-par play of weakside linebacker Geno Hayes in a contract year.

But Foster has talent, and the drafting of David gives the Bucs two solid young prospects at the linebacker position. Is it too early to give up on Quincy Black, Dekoda Watson and Adam Hayward, let alone Jacob Cutrera, Mike Balogun and Rennie Curran, though?

Yet the Bucs drafted another linebacker in West Virginia’s Najee Goode in the fifth round to throw in the mix. Tampa Bay bypassed the chance to get Coastal Carolina cornerback Josh Norman, Florida State offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders and SMU tight end Taylor Thompson. All of whom were rated higher on the boards of some draft gurus. The Bucs could have used a cornerback, offensive tackle or tight end before the drafting of another linebacker. Goode better be real good to justify this selection.

5. Ready at running back – The Bucs did the wise thing and doubled up at the running back position in the 2012 NFL Draft. With new head coach Greg Schiano wanting to run the ball at will on offense, the cupboard was nearly bare at the running back spot outside of starter LeGarrette Blount.

Earnest Graham, who was coming off a torn Achilles tendon, wasn’t re-signed this offseason due to age and injury. Unproductive running back Kregg Lumpkin was wisely not brought back, either. Unproven Mossis Madu, an undrafted free agent from a year ago, along with newly signed try-out back Robert Hughes were the only other backs on the roster with Blount.

Trading up in the first round to draft Martin gives the Bucs a runner capable of becoming a feature back at best and a very good complementary back at worst. Drafting Utah State speedster Michael Smith in the seventh round gives Tampa Bay a change-of-pace back with the ability to hit the home run on any given play. Martin figures to be number two on the depth chart and Smith should beat out Madu and Hughes for the third spot.

Knowing that Tampa Bay couldn’t address all of its needs, the Buccaneers still managed to accomplish a lot in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

Last modified on Thursday, 03 May 2012 08:34
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    The first 3 picks were stellar. Got a big-time safety who can do it all. The #2 RB and a tackling machine in Lavonte David to play the Will. CB isn't a deperate need this year unless Aqib gets sent away. As another poster said, the Bucs have made a living drafting CBs after the first round. Ronde, Donnie, B. Kelly, D. Smith, etc. Maybe Tandy or Leonard Johnson will step up. Not crazy about the two WVU picks but we'll see. Obviously those were Schiano picks. Might be decent players but not good value where they were selected. Very intrigued by the M. Smith and Dunsmore picks. Can't wait til training camp!
  • avatar


    Many of the local sport casters and writers all thought or were of the opinion that the bucs needed a corner and soon settled on claiborne,who in my opinion will be a good player,but I think coach schiano and staff realized safety was more important. No great mystery tjax was the best safety on the team and he was unreliable even though when focused a good talent,I'm of the opinion that the bucs will play more zone and less man2man , specifically the tampa 2 ,kinda back to the future,that was the original plan and I don't think the team wants to deviated from that plan.The Tampa2 simply ask the corners to do their job in coverage and not neccassarily be shut down corners just responsible corners, team defense rather than indiviual defense or on an island defense. Now, schiano will add his own little flavor,but it's still the same basic recipe. The draft process has not changed instead they continue to build on the original foundation. Dungy and Kiffin never felt the need to draft a corner in rd.1 and they were fortunate to have their playmaker already here in lynch. I see a lot of similarities between coach dungy and coach schiano, kinda ol' school grind it out football not following the pack just because someone else say it's a passing league and we should follow the leader. Poppy cart, I say march to your own drum beat,establish the run and take the pressure off the qb and d line add in good special team play and we're on the road to recovery.
  • avatar

    Who cares how tall the LB's are if they can play !!! And I hope Biggers will improve with some really solid coaching this year from Ron Cooper. I know and agree that Biggers played poorly last year, but he filled in pretty well the year before for Talib when he was out. I believe the only WR who torched him that year was Megatron. But he kills everybody!! Biggers actually did well against almost everyone else.
  • avatar


    JDouble; I know that BPA is what a lot of us say all the time, but it rarely happens unless you area team that is constantly in the playoffs. If you go down the line in rounds 1,2,3, it was all about needs for most teams. I think it was well understood that our need was Saftey, Linebacker, Cornerback and you drafted that need in order of BPA for that need. Okay we did it for Safety and LB, but didn't do it for the CB. Don't get me wrong here, Martin is a good pick up, but it cost us our 3rd and 4th rounder and we sure could have used a CB in one of those positions. Granted that we would have had to take a less quality RB, but an important need would have been filled. I am not raining on the Coaches parade because I felt like we had a good draft, but we could have had also a good draft with a CB in it picked earlier. I am still concerned that our Linebackers are not that tall which will be a problem against big TE's & WR's. Regardless, it's an improvement no matter what.
  • avatar

    I think changing from Raheem's defense, which asked our CB's to play a fair amount of man coverage, to a very disciplined hard tacking zone defense will greatly improve our CB play. Our LB play was at best extremely undisciplined last year. It's no coincidence that great teams almost always have at least one great safety. Going back to the Dolphin's 17-0 team, they had multi-year Pro Bowl safeties at BOTH positions, and CB's who never sniffed a Pro Bowl as CB's and would've been awful in man coverage. Those safeties and MLB Nick Buoniconti were the heart of their defense.
  • avatar

    Exactly! A good Safety and good LB is the equivalent value of a QB and RB on offense! They can be game changers! Lawrence Taylor,*censored* Butkus, Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks, Brian Ulracher, Junior Seau, Mike Singletary, Seth Greene, Bill Romanowsky, Ronnie Lott, John Lynch,Troy Polamalu, Jack Tatum, Steve Atwater! That's right ALL Safeties and Linebackers...now somebody name a CB that had an effect on their team like any of those names????? crickets, crickets.....
  • avatar

    Ridiculous analysis! First off, strong safety is much more of an important position than CB. All a CB has to do is cover a WR, but if you have excellent safeties who can read QB's and the offense, then you don't need a shut down corner? Who remembers the corners of the multi-Super bowl championship team of the 49'ers in the 80'-90's? But everyone knows Ronnie Lott! While the tandem of Kelly and Barber were magnificent in Tampa's secondary, it was John Lynch at safety that often turned the tide of the games with big hits, leadership and interceptions! So if you have an excellent safety not only does it improve your secondary as the last ditch line of defense but it also helps against another problem area Tampa had last year which was stopping the run. So I call the bullshit flag on CB being more important than safety. How many CB's are defensive Qb's with the responsibility to read the offense and adjust the defense? That's right! That job is usually relegated to a Safety or MLB! Our Linebackers where our weakest link and strongest area of need and I think the Bucs staff adequately addressed that need. We can focus on CB and additional LB's and maybe I TE next year. The Bucs also addressed their biggest area of need on the offense by adding two new RB's and adding VJ in free agency. Now we have at least in theory an offense that can create mismatches and make teams sweat. Only time will tell, but it seems they played the draft just right! Claiborne is way overrated anyway and who needs another Buccaneer defender who can't tackle? Not to mention he's dumb as a rock!! We have enough of those already! Good Job Dom and crew!
  • avatar

    Wow, a lot of Scott bashing on this one haha. Just wanted to say I heard Mike Mayock who is considered one of the best NFL experts say on a podcast today with Rich Eisen that he truly believes the Bucs are going to be a playoff team this year!
  • avatar

    I just dont like pr anymore. SR, i dont agree at all that cb was the top need. if we didnt get barron, who would start at free or strong safety? grimm is good when he plays but hes been in the training room the past two seasons. sean jones is terrible and everyone else behind him are rookie free agents that we signed or late round picks. barron gives us not only a presence in the secondary, he gives us a true leader and a player that will do w.e it takes to win. hes won on a national stage and was a key part of why they won. our cbs still have talib, barber, wright, lewis, and biggers. are lewis and biggers the best in the league, no, but they are all under contract and with the help of our dl we could get more picks. like a previous poster said, the giants didnt have the best corners in the league when they won, they had good corners that were helped out by a pass rush that made life difficult for qbs....we cant fix every position in one year and at this point, SR, your just nit picking when theres no need to. ..and above all, we couldnt stop the run and i would like to be able to do that before we worry about the pass.
  • avatar


    Great to finally hear from you JDouble! I really missed you insightful commentary leading up to the draft. Cudos to my fellow posters. How nice to read comments that differ in opinion but without the juvenile name-calling. Fact is, as much as we think we know about our little team and the available prospects, we really don't know "spit". And we don't really know how the new coaching staff has evaluated the current roster. To tell you the truth, after hearing Morris Claiborne speak after getting his call from Jerry "Facelift" Jones. That 4 on the Wonderlick might have been accurate. On top of that, his quote, "I didn't take it seriously',spoke volumes to me. I'm happy with Mark Barron. He was a two-time captain and Claiborne might not be able to spell it.
  • avatar

    Scubog, plus with his DB coach on the team to give info on him probably help with the decision. I do not like to talk down about a person, but how do some of these athletes make it into college when they have an issue forming basic sentences. I assume Claiborne was excited during the draft, but during his interview it wasn’t any better. What classes do they take in college? I’m pretty sure my freshmen year of college I was taking freshmen reading a comprehension class since it was a requirement. Sometimes I think the school system fail some athletes, due to the fact that the kid is talented and they want to win games. I don’t know maybe it’s just me. Anyways sorry for the rant, great draft. Go Bucs!!
  • avatar

    Appreciate it, @Horse. Good discussion all around. Nice to know we Buc fans have a place to freely exchange ideas and opinions, either which way. Thought Dom did a real fine job on this draft.
  • avatar


    bucbelevr; Good points; I hadn't thought it out that way, but it makes sense.
  • avatar


    Great discussion here, both in the article and the posts. Time will tell if Barron is better than Claiborne and Kueckly. We'll see plenty of all three over the next 10 years so will get our answer one way or another. I am very glad we picked up two RB's and two LB's. My problem with Goode is he's not really a MLB so to me we still don't have a MLB of the future on this team yet. Foster is really a SLB. The good news is MLB, FS, fullback and a kick/punt returner are the only positions of need left on this team. I'd say that was a very good offseason we just had. Go Bucs!!
  • avatar

    I see do not see any real problem with the bucs not drafting a CB in the first 3 rounds. To be honest I really think that they believe they have talented CB on the roster already. I feel it was bad coaching and a lack of a pass rush is was really makes our CB look worst than they really were, except for biggers is don't think a pass rush can help him. They Giants won mutiple superbowls with ok corners and a great dline. They can't fix every position in one year, so if CB position does not work out that well there is always next years free agency and draft. It will be a lot easiler to focus on a position like they did this year(linebacker) then forcus on CB next year.
  • avatar


    As others have mentioned I disagree that the Bucs needed to draft the pea brained ( and proud of it) Claiborne. Smartest decision the Bucs have made from my view. That being said if Claiborne turns into another Deion Sanders I will be the first to admit I am wrong in my inference. Truthfully I would have rather the Bucs had picked up Samuals who the falcons got for a 7th round pick!!!
  • avatar

    Corner really isn't that big of a need. We're going to the playoffs
  • avatar

    FLBoy84....some of the same sentiments. Alot of sense.
  • avatar

    Substandard, poor analysis. PR up to its old self. 1. Doug Martin, if Reynolds is so in tune with "draft gurus" as he mentions, is not figured to be "number two" on the depth chart!?! With Blount who can't pick up a blitz, catch on 3rd down, or pass protect. ALL draft gurus had Martin as multi-faceted 3 down back, who was second only to Richardson, THUS why we traded up to select him where we did, and not draft a CB instead there perhaps. 2. Barron is far more the proven leader and anchor on a Nick Saban defense, than any CB would have been, and can shrink the field on TE's, bring fear approach for offenses, much like a good press cover corner. Barron will continue to pay defensive-quaterback leadership dividends for years to come. 3. Lavonte David, in late 2nd round is worth far more value in his quality play and production than ANY CB we would have been able to select in late 2nd early 3rd round. AGAIN, if Reynolds was so in the loop with "draft gurus", many sites had a seriously questionable "character" grade on Josh Norman at Coastal Carolina, and Bucs chose not to draft him, not that they didn't realize him. 4. While I agree that the LB coaching in 2011 was probably poor, Geno Hayes is gone for a reason, and Quincy Black is not worth 5 million annually, good cap casualty there. Lavonte David, coupled with Foster moving to proper position and year under his belt, with maybe Watson, or others and solid coaching, and BARRON behind them, will field a substantially better defense. Ultimately, Dominik knew, I suspect, that after the draft concluded, there would be manageable CB free agents available, for a reasonable rate on other teams cap casualties, since CB is such a drafted position.
  • avatar


    bucbelevr;Good points; I hadn't it that way.
  • avatar


    If you look at next year, there are three CB's projected to go in the top eleven. I would think we will have our choice of a top CB.
  • avatar


    FLBoy84... You hit the nail on the head. Especially since the PR team has yet to be able to proide any "Inside the War Room" info. During the draft ESPN showed lowlights of Claiborne. Yes the guy can run and cover. However, they showed multiple times how soft a tackler he is and how unwilling he was stepup to defend the run aggresively. We have enough players on the defense who have problems being aggresive in the run game we didnt need to add another.
  • avatar


    Scott, I completely agree with you on this Article. The LB's were too small in height and not picking a CB until the 6th round was troubling for me.
  • avatar

    Horse, where in the article did they mention the LB being too short? When did 6'->6'-1" become short? The top LB like Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis, London Fletcher, D'Qwell Jackson, Curtis Lofton, Lance Briggs ect. are around 6'-1" and under. There are going to be a 6'-4" freak like Brian Urlacher, but those are not the norm due to the fact that they tend to have bad leverage and knee bend. Unlike Urlacher who is a beast, offensive guards eat them up on running plays, but they are good in pass coverage againts tall TE.
  • avatar


    speedy16, I can deal with David and didn't have a big problem with it that much, but to follow up with Goode who is an inch shorter was too much. Also West Virginia defense was not very good. I liked Goode's hustle and tackling, but he is still is too small for me. He won't be able to match up with a TE or a big receiver across the middle. Just my opinion. Okay we got him and hopefully he will do okay. I just felt like a CB at Round No. 5 was more important. Obviously the Coach and GM know 100 times more than me so I have to trust their instinct. At least we took one SEC player this year. I still don't quite get all the love for all the other so so Conferences. A lot of players were taken from the SEC, but I guess we were the only ones who thought there was only good player to draft from the SEC Conference? I don't even care for the SEC because I am not a Gator lover, but geez that Conference has one heck of a lot of good teams in it.
  • avatar

    Watched WVU play LSU after the draft. Thought Goode and Tandy looked terrible. Then watched WVU and Clemson, not much better. Sounded like Dom let Shiano make the call on these two guys by the quotes after the draft. I like the Utah State Rb selection. He has decent size and great speed and can even pass protect a little. I really like A. Gaitor at CB and think he could be pretty good. We have #'s at the CB position just need to coach them up and get a better pass rush going this year.
  • avatar


    I agree about Gaitor. He looked good with limited opportunties last year. He just has an effortlessness to his movement. I think he's gonna be our No. 2 CB at some point.
  • avatar


    I agree for the most part. I didn't think corner was as pressing a need as some made it out to be...we'll find out soon enough whether it was or not. Sidenote: Vontaze Burfict was an undrafted free agent signed by the Bengals. He wasn't selected by them in the 6th.
  • avatar


    I am not as panicked about the CB position as other seem to be. With better coaching, better LB, DT, and DE play, the will be fine. BTW, they did get FA CB Leonard Johnson, from Iowa State. This guy can play. The same criticisms of him were also directed at Barber. Time will tell. But, we will see. Go Bucs!!!
  • avatar


    I disagree 100% with the last paragraph of #2. You are saying you would prefer we draft for need rather than taking the best available player. That is short sighted and leads to never ending failure. In the long run Martin and David will bring more to this team than any CB we could have reached for in round 2 or 3. I agree the Goode pick is questionable. We could have taken Josh Norman or traded up for Brandon Boykin. Either seems like a much better pick. Time will tell but Goode will need to be more than a back up to justify that selection.
  • avatar

    Well Scott you make it very obvious how upset you are about making LB a priority over corner in the draft. I halfway agree with you, but with how bad our secondary was last year, I do believe the linebackers were worse. With Ronde and Wright definitely in the mix for this year and possibly still Talib, LB was a bigger immediate need. Im sure Dom was thinking that and plans on drafting better corners next year.
  • avatar


    "The Bucs were wise to pass on him and let the Bengals take him in the sixth round" Not sure which draft you watched Scott, but Burfict went undrafted and was signed as a udfa by the Bengals...not that I endorse that move by any means but there is a difference between spending a pick on a guy and signing him off the street.
  • avatar


    Mark and Scott..... I think you are correct in your assesments on our draft. Wish they would have gotten a CB with the Goode pick. They do need athletic LB's for special teams so I trust is this teams decisions for now.
  • avatar


    And as far as Claiborne goes, seems the mantra coming from One Buc during the draft press conferences was that the guys drafted were “tough, smart football players who loved the game”. Can’t remember how often that was repeated, but it was A LOT. Being that the team has Claiborne’s college DB coach on staff (who would know him better than most) and the team still passed on him, I’m thinking the endorsement was less than ringing in a couple of those areas.
  • avatar


    Evidently the team thinks Cooper can get something out of Lewis, Biggers and Gaitor that Baker and Lake couldn't. Guess time will tell. Still have the 2nd wave of FA coming up as well, and there's sure to be some vets cut during training camps that could be brought in to compete. Never a good sign when your coach (Joe Baker), who was both DB Coach and LB Coach, is thought so highly of around the NFL he has to settle for an Asst. DB coach position just to get a job.
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