The seventh overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft is quickly reaching his potential. Barron may have been up and down in his first year as a Buccaneers, he is quite clearly one of the best defenders on the Tampa Bay roster -- and that's saying something for a very talented group. He has the length and burst to defend tight ends in man coverage, the size and tenacity to be a force in run defense in the box and the skill to be a good blitzer. If he can continue to play at a high level, he could be a key part of the Bucs' defense for years to come.
Demar Dotson and Donald Penn
The play of the two offensive tackle has gone under the radar, but they have really played very well this year. Before the season started I had my doubts as to whether Penn would stick on the roster in 2014 given his price tag, but he's earning every penny this year. While the interior line is struggling, Penn and Dotson have done a good job keeping the edge rushers off Josh Freeman, and will have to do the same for Mike Glennon going forward. Pro Football Focus has given both of them very high grades on the season.
Gerald McCoy is the one player on the Buccaneers defensive line who can consistently get to the quarterback, and he's a key part of their stifling run defense as well. McCoy is ranked as the fourth overall interior rusher in The MMQB's pressure rankings, despite the fact that the Bucs often ask him to sacrifice his own rush opportunities for the sake of blitzers.
23 total tackles, three sacks, three passes defensed and an interception. Those are some pretty good statistics for a weakside linebacker in a 4-3. David has been all over the field in these past three games and has taken some big steps in pass coverage. If he can keep that up, he's going to a Pro Bowl -- and he's going to be a cornerstone of the Buccaneers defense for years to come.
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