The draft is over, and the draft grades are starting to pour in. We'll take a look at a few of them today to see what a number of national writers thought of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' efforts in the 2012 NFL Draft. The four writers we look at here gave the Bucs a B+ on average. The only thing that seems to bring down their grade? Not adding a cornerback.
Summary: In terms of adding impactful talent, and working the board, it's hard to do any better than Tampa Bay did in the first two rounds. The Bucs got the best safety in the draft after moving down, then swooped in at No. 31 to get the most complete running back not named Trent Richardson. Doug Martin is a good complement to LeGarrette Blount, and has great hands. Lavonte David is an undersized tackling machine who could be a dynamic weakside linebacker; he was on my Big Board. They didn't get to add a cornerback until Keith Tandy at No. 174, but I'm not sure any other team added as much early positive impact.
Overview: GM Mark Dominik calls the shots, but the Bucs showed a newfound sense of aggressiveness in coach Greg Schiano's first draft. The wheeling-and-dealing Buccaneers pulled off three trades in the first two rounds involving 11 picks. They came away with at least three Week 1 starters, each at a position of glaring need, and didn't surrender anything in future drafts. Schiano fell back on his Big East roots for Goode and Tandy, and Smith was one of the better running backs in this class no one talked about. This was a draft packed with big-time additions.
Tampa Bay maneuvered smartly in the early rounds, but failing to land CB Morris Claiborne could prove to be a missed opportunity. S Mark Barron brings physicality and leadership while weakside LB Lavonte David has rare instincts. RB Doug Martin's versatility should give new OC Mike Sullivan more flexibility. GRADE: B-plus.
After years of taking some risky characters, the Bucs went for solid players who also happened to be captions and leaders on their college teams. Alabama safety Mark Barron will be the new leader of their secondary with Tanard Jackson gone to the Redskins. Barron was the fastest rising player in this draft the last couple of weeks. ... General manager Mark Dominik made another smart trade moving back into the bottom of the first round to take Boise State running back Doug Martin, an ideal change-up runner to powerful LeGarrette Blount. ... Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David could become the starting a weakside starter. ... Two late-round choices, 5-foot-9 running back Michael Smith from Utah State, and Northwestern tight end Drake Dunsmore, have a solid chance to make the final roster. Having 90 players in training camp should really help rookie head coach Greg Schiano.