By the end of the 2011 Buccaneer’s season, the house of cards that had grown since 2008 fell apart. Led by Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount, and Mike Williams the offense turned a terrible performance that ranked the Bucs offense 27th in the NFL. The defense wasn’t any better and finished the season ranked last in the league. Things had to change and oh boy, did they.
The owners, the Glazer brothers, decided to fire Raheem Morris and his staff. Mark Dominik didn’t get fired but did have some of his powers taken from him. However, the writing was on the wall if the next head coach did not pan out. After being jerked around by Chip Kelly, Dominik decided to hire Greg Schiano from Rutgers. Not until the Glazers asked Bill Belichick did the Bucs seem interested in him. His goal was to turn the team with the most turnovers, worst running game, and completely inadequate defense in 2011 into a quality team.
With control of the team in Dominik’s and Schiano’s hands, they made a lot of moves in the offseason to try and make the team better.
For the first time in a long time, the Buccaneers "won" Free Agency. They sign starters WR Vincent Jackson, LG Carl Nicks, and CB Eric Wright to massive contracts. The only questionable contract was Wrights, due to many believing he wasn’t a #2 CB. They also took care of quality players like K Connor Barth, DE Michael Bennett, and CB Ronde Barber. However, due to sweeping cuts and lack of resigning players, the Buccaneers had a lot of work to do. But going into the draft, the Bucs had holes to fill at FS, RB, OLB, SS and overall depth.
Trade: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade their 5th Overall selection for the 7th Overall selection and 101st Overall selection.
With the 7th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Mark Barron, SS, Alabama.
Coming into the 2012 draft, many fans were expecting the Buccaneers to draft a CB. However, the Buccaneers went another route. After getting fired, Mark Dominik mentioned that he drafted Barron due to former Saints TE Jimmy Graham. Mark Barron was a big strong safety that had a knack for plays at Alabama. Due to hernia and shoulder surgery, his career at Alabama ended early.
Due to his surgeries, Barron wasn’t able to participate at the NFL Combine and only did some drills at Alabama’s Pro Day. From what I have, he had trouble getting up to speed, which may have been from his injury. Other than that, he matched up fairly well to other strong safeties taken in the draft.
At Alabama, Barron won two BCS Championships and was a typical star. He could get into the backfield, intercept passed, and played well against all types of players from WRs to RBs. On a per game basis, he was ranked 6th out of 18 safeties taken in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Other Notable Choices before next pick: CB Stephon Gilmore, DE Chandler Jones, DE Quinton Coples, DE Whitney Mercilus, DT Dontari Poe, DT Fletcher Cox, DT Michael Brockers, MLB Dont'a Hightower, MLB Luke Kuechly, OG David DeCastro, OG Kevin Zeitler, OLB Bruce Irvin, OT Riley Reiff, QB Ryan Tannehill, SS Harrison Smith, WR Kendall Wright, and WR Michael Floyd
Trade: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade their 36th Overall and 101st Overall selections for the 31st Overall and 126th Overall selections.
With the 31st pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Doug Martin, RB, Boise State.
Considering the Buccaneers were ranked last in running the previous year, many fans approved the drafting Doug Martin. He had issues getting up to speed and had limited top-end speed but other than that he looked like a great prospect at running back.
While at Boise State, Doug Martin produced decent numbers at running back. He was even a decent option catching passes out of the backfield. His only issue was his per game ranking was one of the worst in the draft at running back. But based on his scores and production, it looked like he could be a great pick up for a zone offense.
Other Notable Choices before next pick: C Peter Konz, CB Janoris Jenkins, DE Courtney Upshaw, DE Derek Wolfe, DT Kendall Reyes, MLB Mychal Kendricks, MLB Bobby Wagner, OLB Zach Brown, OT Cordy Glenn, OG Mitchell Schwartz, TE Coby Fleener, and WR Alshon Jeffery
Trade: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade their 68th Overall and 126th Overall selections for the 58th Overall and 233rd Overall selections.
With the 58th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska.
In the second round, Dominik traded up for the second time to pick David. Lavonte David showed amazing speed on game film and it translated to his test scores. He had the best 10 yard split at the Combine for linebackers and showed that, while undersized, he could put up quality numbers at every test.
One of the most undersized linebackers in the draft, Lavonte David had the ability to be a starter off the bat. Everyone knew he was a ball hawk at Nebraska. On a per game basis, he was the best linebacker in the draft. In the end, his talent is what got him drafted not his work out. Which I must point out, is the first time I have seen it succeed with these Buccaneer Draft Reviews.
Other Notable Choices before next pick: C Ben Jones, CB Trumaine Johnson, DE Jared Crick, DE Olivier Vernon, DT Akiem Hicks, DT Mike Daniels, OLB Demario Davis, OG Kelechi Osemele, P Bryan Anger, QB Nick Foles, QB Russell Wilson, RB Lamar Miller, WR Mohamed Sanu, WR Rueben Randle, and WR T.Y. Hilton
With the 140th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Najee Goode, MLB, West Virginia.
With all of the wheeling and dealing, fans had to wait 82 picks until the Buccaneers had another draft pick. With the selection of Najee Goode, every fan questioned what the Buccaneers were doing. He had great combine scores across the board except for short shuttle but they didn’t translate onto the field.
The Buccaneers didn’t need a middle linebacker and he was very similar to Mason Foster in terms of his play. At West Virginia, he was a four year starter but his production was terrible. He was ranked last out of the linebackers taken in the 2012 draft. In essence, he was a workout warrior.
Other Notable Choices before next pick: RB Alfred Morris, CB Josh Norman, FS George Iloka, WR Marvin Jones, and OG Johnnie Troutman
With the 174th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Keith Tandy, FS, West Virginia.
When the selection was called, Keith Tandy was listed at CB. However, it was apparent that he would be playing the FS position at the NFL level. At West Virginia, he played both positions so it wasn’t too far of a stretch. As a FS, he was a little shorter and lighter than a team would like but he had the tests to show he could play the position.
While in school, Tandy put up great numbers against decent offense defending 37 passes and intercepting 13 passes. On a per game basis, he ranked 4th out of 18 safeties chosen. That was the 2nd best production of any safety chosen after the 4th round. The question was if his size would be a factor in his play.
Other Notable Choices before next pick: K Blair Walsh, OLB Danny Trevathan, and P Brad Nortman
With the 212th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Michael Smith, RB, Utah State.
While at school at Utah State, he performed fairly well as a "scat" back or change-of-pace back. The issue was that there were questions based on his NFL Pro Day. At 5’9" 207 pounds, he was one of the fastest running backs in the draft. But his agility was so bad that eight offensive linemen bettered his 3Cone test. That was likely due to an injured groin suffered during his time at Utah State. If the injury didn’t heal, he could be used as a kick or punt returner.
With the 233rd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Drake Dunsmore, TE, Northwestern.
By the last part of the draft, there weren’t that many good players left. Coming off an injured knee and shoulder, he ran very slow at the Combine but did better his scores at Northwestern’s Pro Day. Other than that, he had the athletic ability to be a good catching TE.
Notable 7th Round Picks: OG J.R. Sweezy, OT Kelvin Beachum, SS Antonio Allen, CB Alfonzo Dennard, WR Rishard Matthews, and RB Daryl Richardson
Notable UDFAs: CB Antwon Blake, CB Leonard Johnson, DT Damon Harrison, DT Nate Chandler, FS Rodney McLeod, ILB Vontaze Burfict, LS Aaron Brewer, LS Beau Brinkley, LS James Winchester, LS Sean McGrath, OG Ronald Leary, P Johnny Hekker, P Marquette King, WR Cole Beasley, WR Jermaine Kearse, WR Rod Streater
By the end of the draft, the Buccaneers had gained at least three starters on offense. Mark Barron turned out to be an average pick but that was due to Schiano and Lovie Smith misusing him. Instead of being a SS, he was asked to play FS a lot and it didn’t work out. Doug Martin's career has been a rollercoaster with a breakout rookie campaign, two injury riddle years, and then another big season. That resulted in him getting a new five year contract with the Buccaneers. Lavonte David has played lights out at weak-side linebacker and played his way into being a star of the defense. If you look at the trades in the Free Agency photo, the trades to trade up for Martin and David were started by trading back for Mark Barron. It's like Mark Dominik was trading these picks like his job depended on it...
On the flip side, Najee Goode played only three games with the Bucs and was cut in 2013 after training camp. Keith Tandy has backed up the FS position since joining the Buccaneers. Michael Smith lasted a season with the Buccaneers but injured his foot prior to his second season and was released in 2014. Drake Dunsmore was cut in training camp and never played a game in the NFL. Overall, the draft was a great success in finding two long-term starters but whiffed on filling depth on a team that was gutted due the coaching change.
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