The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a state of change right now. They just tabbed Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano as their new coach to replace Raheem Morris who was fired after three seasons at the helm. The team is coming off of a rough season. They struggled last season on both side of the ball going 4-12 in the competitive NFC South division. The division is stacked with quarterback talent with Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and rookie phenom Cam Newton all playing in the division. The Buccaneers are going to have to rebuild fast if they want to have a chance at the playoffs next year.
One of the main problem areas on the team was the defensive secondary. They face great quarterbacks all year and either lack talent at some of the secondary positions or are getting old and need to start grooming replacements for their current starters like Rhonde Barber at cornerback. They addressed this need in the first round by selecting Alabama safety Mark Barron. Barron was a very productive player on a stout defense that was the main reason that the Crimson Tide took home the NCAA championship last year. Both of the Bucs starting safeties are still unsigned as of the draft so there is a good chance that Barron could be starting next year. His ability to both pass protect and come up and stop the run will be a great asset to the defense as soon as he steps on the field.
The Buccaneers are pretty happy with their young quarterback, Josh Freeman. They also signed All-Pro wide receiver Vincent Jackson away from the San Diego Chargers last year. The one problem area for them on offense is running back. They only have one productive running back left on the roster in LeGarrette Blount who was the starter last year. Despite Blount’s claims that he doesn’t want to share carries next year the Buccaneers traded up into the first round and took Boise State running back Doug Martin. Martin was one of the most productive running backs in college football last year. He's small and quick and should be the perfect compliment to Blount’s size in the backfield. Martin may compete for the starting position next year and will at least see a nice chunk of carries throughout the season.
There is one commonality between the two first round draft picks that were chosen by the Buccaneers in the 2012 draft. They both come from college program where they won -- a lot. Boise State and Alabama are two of the most winningest schools in college football in recent years. Besides adjusting to life as an NFL player the two rookies are going to need to adjust to life playing on a team that isn’t the favorite every week. This can be tough to some players who have become accustomed to winning every week while in high school and college.
Playing as a rookie in the NFL is hard enough. Adjusting to the sophisticated schemes and increased speed and strength of the players can be a drastic change for new players in the NFL. Once these two players hire their moving companies and get to Tampa Bay they are going to need to focus on football while not becoming depressed by losing more often than they are used. Brighter days are ahead for Mark Barron and Doug Martin in a Buccaneer’s uniform.