Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 NFL Draft ReviewApr 30, 2012 - 12:57 PM (Sports Network) -
1 - Mark Barron, S, Alabama (6-1, 213); 1 - Doug Martin, RB, Boise State (5-9, 223); 2 - Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska (6-1, 233); 5 - Najee Goode, ILB, West Virginia (6-0, 244); 6 - Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia (5-10, 197); 7 - Michael Smith, RB, Utah State (5-9, 207); 7 - Drake Dunsmore, FB, Northwestern (6-2, 241)
Top Picks Analysis: General manager Mark Dominik was wheeling and dealing early and often, with the Buccaneers engineering three trades in the opening two rounds to land a trio of good players on the team's radar. Dominik's first order of business was to improve a secondary that was abysmal during last season's four-win disaster, and accomplished that mission by moving down two spots to the No. 7 pick and taking Barron, far and away this draft's best safety. The two-time BCS national champion is both a thumper against the run and an instinctual playmaker with the ball in the air, and his leadership and ability to diagnose the game are obvious pluses as well. Tampa Bay traded up to snare two other possible immediate starters in Martin, a compact and powerful inside runner with good receiving skills and awareness in pass protection who will be given every opportunity to supplant the one-dimensional LeGarrette Blount as the club's top ball-carrier, and the smallish but speedy David. The Florida native is the prototypical Tampa 2 linebacker, possessing the range and quickness to be effective in coverage while able to tackle well in space. He'll be limited strictly to the weak side, however, because of his modest size.
Best Value Pick: Smith, a backup to Seattle fourth-round choice Robert Turbin at Utah State, has sub-4.4 speed and is a capable receiver who could surprise as a third-down specialist and threaten Blount, who isn't a favorite of the new coaching staff, for playing time.
Questionable Calls: Though it's hard to argue with any of the first three picks or Goode, who lends some needed depth at linebacker, a cornerback that could be groomed as a future replacement for the troublesome and likely outgoing Aqib Talib would have been useful.
Summary: Dominik's maneuvering resulted in three potential rookie starters who all have been lauded for their professional approaches to football, and the remainder of the lot all stand a good chance of making the roster and chipping in as role players. The Buccaneers needed a strong draft to build off their big splash in free agency and generate some more buzz, and they got one.
FINAL GRADE: A-
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