LeGarrette Blount #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hurdles Thomas DeCoud of the Atlanta Falcons during play at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The final installment of the post draft look at the NFC South division concludes with a look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who the Denver Broncos host during Week 13 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s how Florida’s scalawags measure up.
Tampa Bay finished the 2011 season in 4th place in the NFC South division with a 4-12 record. Looking back, it’s a wonder that they were able to win one game much less four. The Bucs were 27th in points, 21st in yards, 16th in passing and the 30th ranked rushing Offense in 2011. Defensively, they were last in points against, 30th in yards against, 21st against the Pass and last in Rushing Defense.
Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, the team's 2nd-round selection in the 2011 draft, tore his right Achilles tendon while working out on the field at One Buc Place on May 10th and will likely be out for the season.
QB Rudy Carpenter, DE Nick Reed, DE Tim Crowder, C Jeff Faine, DT Albert Haynesworth and S Tanard Jackson (failed physical) were all released. QB Josh Johnson signed a 2-year deal with the 49ers, OT James Lee went to the Redskins, RB Kregg Lumpkin joined the Seahawks, LB Geno Hayes signed with the Bears and WR Micheal Spurlock bolted for the Chargers.
16th year CB Ronde Barber re-upped for one more year at $3M. Word is, the Bucs will ask him to move over to Free Safety. DE Michael Bennett signed his RFA tender at $2.742M. RB LeGarrette Blount and WR Preston Parker signed ERFA deals, OT Demar Dotson got a 2 year contract and G/T Jeremy Zuttah will stick around for another year..
TE Chase Coffman was signed as a Free Agent, DT Gary Gibson came over from the Rams,
WR Vincent Jackson bolted from the Chargers for a huge $55M/5 year contract, OT Jamon Meredith was grabbed from the Steelers, former Saints OG Carl Nicks scored a $47.5M/5 year deal, DT Amobi Okoye was pried away from the Bears, QB Dan Orlovsky comes over from the Colts, QB Brett Ratliff signed as a Free Agent and CB Eric Wright left the Lions for a $37.5M/5 year payday.
The normally frugal Buccaneers opened up their wallet to bring in some quality veterans. V-Jax, Carl Nicks and Eric Wright should add some wins to a last place team in 2011.
CB, RB, TE, Two LBs, RT, RB and Defensive Tackle Depth
|1||7||Mark Barron||Strong Safety||6-2||218||Alabama|
|1||31||Doug Martin||Running Back||5-9||215||Boise St.|
|2||58||Lavonte David||Outside Linebacker||6-1||225||Nebraska|
|5||140||Najee Goode||Inside Linebacker||6-1||241||West Virginia|
|6||174||Keith Tandy||Cornerback||5-10||199||West Virginia|
|7||212||Michael Smith||Running Back||5-9||205||Utah St.|
|7||233||Drake Dunsmore||Tight End||6-3||235||Northwestern|
Mark Barron has the size and athletic ability to contribute right away in the NFL. He has the range and ball skills to make big plays and is an active defender against the run. He wasn’t taken with the 7th overall pick for nothing. Barron is an impact player with Pro Bowls in his future.
Doug Martin is a three-down back, but the Bucs really should have went Defense with this pick. LeGarrette Blount was better than average last year and went over 1,000 yards in 2010. Besides Martin, Tampa Bay has 4 other rookie RB's on the roster.
Lavonte David is a bit undersized for a LB, but he has the ablility to overcome that through his instincts and speed. He always seems to be around the ball whether rushing the passer or covering Tight Ends. A good pick for Tampa.
Najee Goode has the versatility to play in the 3-4 and 4-3 base defense, as well as Inside or Outside Linebacker. He has outstanding instincts and will make it difficult for the coaching staff to keep him off the field.
Keith Tandy will need to carve out his own spot in the secondary, but may only rise to backup status.
Michael Smith another Running Back for the Buccaneers. It looks like they are really making a commitment to the running game with this change-of-pace runner.
Smith is used to being in a 3-Back rotation and will make the most of his opportunities.
Drake Dunsmore has the ability to be a threat from various spots on the field and be a reliable short-yardage option to pick up first downs and create mismatches. Kellen Winslow isn't worth the $8 Million salary he's drawing and if he is used properly, Dunsmore could make KW Jr. replaceable.
Louisiana-Monroe WR Luther Ambrose; LSU LB Ryan Baker; Cincinnati QB Zach Collaros; Southern Florida OL Gilbert "Chaz" Hine; Texas FB Cody Johnson; Iowa St CB Leonard Johnson; Tennessee State DT Donte'e Nicholls; Boise State WR Tyler Shoemaker; Mississippi T Bradley Sowell; Arkansas S Tramain Thomas; West Virginia TE Tyler Urban; Toledo OL Mike VanDerMeulen; Southern Florida CB Quenton Washington; Rutgers T Desmond Wynn
Overall, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a very good offseason with an A+ Free Agency and a B+ Draft. That should be good enough to get them to .500 in 2012, IF they stay healthy. Anything more would be a bonus. Things will become much clearer by Thanksgiving.
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