- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter
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TAMPA, Fla. -- We continue our look at recent drafts by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the Class of 2012.
The jury is still out in some ways on this one. It’s highlighted by one superstar, one bust and one player who is a question mark.
Let’s start with the superstar. That is linebacker Lavonte David. The Bucs got him in the second round with the 58th overall pick. That was a huge bargain. David was a star from the beginning, and coach Lovie Smith repeatedly calls him the best outside linebacker in football. David has been snubbed from the Pro Bowl so far, but he will start getting more attention if the Bucs start winning.
Now, let’s move on to the bust. That is safety Mark Barron. He was the seventh overall pick, and the first by coach Greg Schiano. If Schiano had stuck around, Barron might have been all right. But Schiano was fired and Smith took over and inserted the Tampa 2 scheme. Barron wasn’t a fit, and the Bucs traded him to St. Louis early last season.
Barron wasn’t the only first-round pick in that draft. The Bucs also took running back Doug Martin with the 31st overall pick. Martin had a brilliant rookie season, rushing for more than 1,400 yards. But he hasn’t been the same player the past two years. The current coaching staff doesn’t seem as committed to Martin as Schiano was. There still is talent there, but Charles Sims could be the future at this position, and Martin could be expendable.
Safety Keith Tandy, a sixth-round pick, remains as a reliable backup. But linebacker Najee Goode (fourth round), running back Michael Smith (seventh round) and tight end Drake Dunsmore (seventh round) never were able to make an impact.
David’s production has carried this class, and there still is hope for Martin, but Barron dragged the grade down substantially. That’s why I give this class a B-.
Star linebacker Lavonte David, a second-round pick, has been best player from the group.