The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a lot of problems trying to stop the pass last season, and one of them was Mark Barron. Back in April, Duddee noted that he appeared to be the team's worst defender in coverage. That's not uncommon for rookies, who routinely struggle in coverage -- even the ones who turn out to be great later on in the season. It's a mental adjustment to the speed of the NFL, and it's especially hard on a rookie who has to play with some of the worst starting cornerbacks in the NFL.
One of the issues Barron had was that he was asked to play deep a little too often, while his strength is in the box. That doesn't mean he won't be asked to play coverage in the box, and he should be a key part of the team's strategy defending tight ends, but the one thing he didn't do much in college was play single high safety. With Ronde Barber in the box often last year, he saw a lot of time as a deep safety.
The addition of Dashon Goldson should change that some. "I think I'm going to be doing a lot more blitzing, but I'm not sure," Barron said in this Buccaneers.com video. He'll be seen in the box more, too. "I'm thinking so, yeah. That's what I did at Alabama. I mean, I did everything, but I did a lot of stuff in the box. So I'll be comfortable with that and hopefully that will help the team get better."
That's exactly what it should do. Barron's best assets are his play against the run and his flexibility in coverage close to the line of scrimmage. Those huge arms allow him to compete for the ball with some of the massive tight ends we see in the NFC South, including Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez. They should also help him as a blitzer, where long arms can help players shed and evade blockers. Hopefully we'll get the chance to see more of that this season than we did last year.