- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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If you listen to Mel Kiper Jr., who knows a thing or two about the NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have had the league’s best rookie class.
In this Insider post, Kiper lists his All-Rookie team and the Bucs have three representatives. That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Safety Mark Barron, running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David all were starters from the beginning of the season.
Martin got better as the season went on and showed he’s an all-purpose back. David started a little faster than Martin, but also improved. Kiper compares David to Derrick Brooks and he’s not the first person to say that. David’s off to a great start, but he isn’t Brooks just yet.
Barron was Tampa Bay’s top draft pick. He didn’t have as many splash plays as Martin and David, but that probably is due to the nature of his position and the fact the Tampa Bay secondary struggled so much. But you can see that Barron has all sorts of potential and he could make a larger impact once the Bucs get their cornerback situation resolved.
Carolina middle linebacker Luke Kuechly was the only other NFC South rookie to make Kiper’s team. You know how I feel about Kuechly. I think he was the best defensive rookie in the NFC South and maybe in the NFL.