Buccaneers expect Mark Barron to make a big leap in 2013

Matt Stamey-US PRESSWIRE

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mark Barron is ready to take over the world.

Despite some pretty egregious errors last week, Len Pasquarelli's version of the NFP Sunday Blitz is still worth a read. Along with a classy apology for last week's errors, he also has some views on Mark Barron this week.

Tampa Bay coaches feel that second-year strong safety Mark Barron, who started all 16 games in 2012 but had only one interception, will make a big leap in 2013, given the presence of free agent safety Dashon Goldson, the revamping of the secondary in general, and the experience with which the former Alabama star will enter the campaign. The Bucs were far from disappointed in Barron last year, but feel that he will become an even more accomplished big-play defender in his second go-around.

Barron actually started last season very, very strongly. When the Bucs still had multiple starting-quality cornerbacks and Ronde Barber could mostly stay deep. He jumped off the tape early on, collecting 7 tackles and 1 pass dfensed on average over his first six games.

Then, the big mid-season slump started: he didn't reach 7 tackles in a single game until week 15, and notched just 1 pass defensed from week 8 through week 14. The final three games of the season saw him return to form, though: 20 tackles and 2 passes defensed allowed him to close the season on a high note, including the very last defensive play of the season, knocking down a Matt Ryan pass intended for Tony Gonzalez to force a turnover on downs.

Mark Barron should be fine in 2013, if he can simply build on his experience last season. He has everything needed to be a top-notch starter, and being paired with Dashon Goldson and a couple of actually competent cornerbacks should help the second-year safety live up to his lofty draft status.

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