Keith Tandy: Quiet Gem?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

The 2012 NFL Draft brought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two studs into the fold.  Late in the first round, the Bucs traded up to draft short in stature, five foot nine inches, running back Doug Martin with a second round and fourth round picks, but picking up a lower fourth round pick.  In the second round, the Bucs again traded up to move into the second round with their third and fourth round picks to pick up another undersized player in Lavonte David.  Both players do not possess the ideal size for the NFL, but both have shined since their first season as Martin was a Pro Bowler in 2012 and David an All-Pro.

Forgotten in that mix, is a player who plays safety for the Bucs.  Going into year three, he may continue to progress and give great value to the Bucs' defensive backfield.  Let us take a look at this year's free agent safety class.

2014 Top FA Safeties; 2013 Stats

Tackles

Pass

Contract

Name

Combo

Solo

Assist

Sacks

INT

Defended

Years

Price

Avg/Year

Jarius Byrd

48

37

11

1

4

6

6

$54

$9.00

TJ Ward

112

75

37

1.5

2

5

4

$23

$5.75

Donte Whitner

73

58

15

0

2

12

4

$28

$7.00

Malcolm Jenkins

68

44

24

2.5

2

6

3

$16.25

$5.42

Louis Delmas

64

48

16

2

3

8

1

$3.50

$3.50

Antoine Bethea

110

80

30

1

2

6

4

$26

$6.50

Chris Clemons

24

12

12

4.5

0

2

2

$2.60

$1.30

Mike Mitchell

66

50

16

3.5

0

8

5

$25

$5.00

Stats from ESPN.com

The list of free agents is in best available from SBNation's own site in 2014 Top Free Agents article.    Note: Some players were injured during the year or suspended.  Thus, some numbers may look odd in respect to salary.  And here is 2013's signing of free agent safety, Dashon Goldson:

2013 FA Signing of Dashon Goldson

Tackles

Pass

Contract

Name

Combo

Solo

Assist

Sacks

INT

Defended

Years

Price

Avg/Year

Dashon Goldson

72

54

18

0

1

8

5

$41.25

$8.25

Now here are the Bucs' safeties:

2012 TB Bucs Drafted Safeties, 2013 Stats

Tackles

Pass

Contract

Name

Combo

Solo

Assist

Sacks

INT

Defended

Years

Price

Avg/Year

Mark Barron

88

70

18

2

2

16

4

$14.47

$3.62

Keith Tandy

40

31

9

0

3

3

4

$2.20

$0.55

While Mark Barron started 14 games, little known Keith Tandy started five games at safety due to injuries and suspensions to Barron and Goldson in 2013.  Barron was drafted seventh overall in the first round and Tandy was drafted in the fifth round as a cornerback.  It seems as though the Schiano regime had thoughts on converting Tandy to safety just like they had converted Tim Wright from WR to TE and Steven Means remained at DE as opposed to playing line backer.  David was a middle linebacker in college and played weak side at the NFL.  That turned out great for the Bucs!  Although awesome, David was projected to play some type of outside linebacker role.

Tandy was not involved much in his rookie year, but 2013 had turned in a wonderful performance for a back up when we thought all was lost when Goldson was suspended.  Keith has more interceptions than Mark Barron and Goldson individually in less playing time.  That ballhawkness plays well into a Lovie defense intent on forcing takeaways.  While Tandy may not tower over receivers like Goldson and Barron who are listed at 6'2", Tandy's height of 5'10" is slightly below average for safeties by an inch.  On that note, Byrd is listed at 5'10".  Byrd's weight is 205 lbs and Tandy is 203 lbs.  The Bucs have a thing for undersized players overperforming.

Should Tandy continue his progress, then he becomes a valuable asset because the Bucs do not have to rush to draft another safety and Goldson's contract may deem itself too expensive in the future.  Here is a snippet from ProFootballFocus.com's, PFF, Bucs' Undervalue and Overvalue article:

Keith Tandy, S -

Cap: $500k

JVM: $2.0m

Value Differential: +$1.4m

Dashon Goldson, Safety

Tampa Bay has spent a lot of money on players from other teams. Some players such as Darrelle Revis and Vincent Jackson have lived up to their big contracts. Others like Dashon Goldson have not. In 2012 when quarterbacks threw to a player Goldson covered, they had a low passer rating of 69.1. In his first year with the Buccaneers that was up to 121.4. They are stuck with him for at least one more season, so they can only hope he has a much better sophomore season in Tampa Bay.

2013 Cap Hit: $8.7m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $700k
Value Differential: -$8.1m

.

We all hope Barron also continues his progress because he was the seventh pick overall in the 2012 draft, but it is nice to know that the Bucs may have struck a possible four starters from the 2012 draft if Tandy continues to develop.  And after seeing what PFF reported about Goldson's performance to his contract, it might serve this organization best to continue to give Tandy more repetitions at free safety.  Here is a tidbit from an April 23rd Pewter Report article online:

Tandy, who entered the NFL as a cornerback out of West Virginia, told PewterReport.com that his move to safety was permanent and that he has not been told to cross-train at the cornerback or nickel corner positions.

-          PewterReport.com

.

If Tandy becomes the starting free safety for the 2015 season, then he goes from a 'quiet gem' to 'quite a gem' as he will be saving the Bucs a lot of money.  The picture for this article shows Goldson with Tandy making the tackle, just coincidental. (Now where did I put that sarcasm font?)

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