Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade down for S Mark Barron, trade up for RB Doug Martin

TAMPA — The first time Bucs coach Greg Schiano put on a video of Alabama safety Mark Barron, he thought he had randomly stumbled on his best game.

But the big hits just kept coming.

"The first film I watched, I ran to (general manager Mark Dominik). We watched it together, and I looked at him and said, 'Wow!' " Schiano said. "So then you go back. That's what you do leading up to the draft. You try to find problems and what isn't right. We just felt this guy is a fit for the Bucs.

"He's a leader, a physical presence, a football guy, loves it. He's our kind of guy."

With LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, considered by many analysts to be the top cornerback in the draft, still on the board during Thursday's first round, the Bucs traded down two spots from No. 5 — and in the process acquired a fourth-round pick from the Jaguars — and got Barron, the first safety and only the third defensive back they have taken in the first round.

But the Bucs weren't done.

They acquired a first-round pick — giving up their second-round pick and swapping spots in the fourth round with the Broncos — moving up five spots to No. 31 and selecting Boise State running back Doug Martin.

The 5-foot-9, 219-pound Martin started 25 games for the Broncos and rushed for 3,431 yards and 43 touchdowns. He will provide immediate help on third down and complement tailback LeGarrette Blount.

Stopping the run and rushing the football is paramount to Schiano. And Barron will provide help for a defense that was last against the run in 2011 at 156.1 yards per game.

If some scouts had a knock against Barron, it's that he might not be as effective in pass coverage. But he had 12 interceptions for Alabama.

"If you go back and count how many times I've been scored on in my college career, there probably won't be more than three," Barron said. "I don't feel like that's the case at all."

Schiano said Barron fits the definition of what he has termed a "Buccaneer man." He quarterbacked the defense at Alabama, which has won two BCS national titles over the past three seasons and last season led Division I-A by allowing 72.2 rushing yards per game.

"Mark is, first of all, a really good person," Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Barron during a recent interview on a Dallas radio station. "He's got great character, very mature, very well respected by his teammates. He doesn't say a lot. He's a little quiet, but he's a very effective leader."

In fact, Dominik believed Barron was special enough to pick at No. 5. But the Bucs chose to move down and pick up the fourth-round pick, something they did not have entering Thursday.

Jacksonville selected Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon. The Cowboys followed by trading from No. 14 to No. 6 with the Rams to select Claiborne.

"I would absolutely say I was a little nervous when the Dallas Cowboys traded to six," Dominik said.

The Bucs released safety Tanard Jackson earlier this month for a failed physical, also saying he wasn't showing growth as a player. That left the Bucs with four safeties. But among them, only Cody Grimm has started a regular season game.

Tampa Bay also used the recently completed voluntary minicamp to move cornerback Ronde Barber to safety. Schiano would not say if that experiment would continue.

"I'm really excited about (Barron)," Schiano said. "I think he fits into what we do defensively perfectly. You couldn't draw it up better.

"This guy plays at a high level in (the SEC), what is definitely the most competitive college football conference in the land. He not only plays in that conference, but I thought he was a dominating player at his position."

The draft was shaken by a trade about an hour before it began, resulting in Alabama running back Trent Richardson going to the Browns at No. 3.

The Browns, who owned the fourth pick, moved up a spot in a deal with the Vikings. In exchange, the Browns sent a fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round pick to the Vikings.

The Browns were dealing from strength, having entered the draft with 13 picks, including two in Rounds 4, 5 and 7. Dominik said he made calls to a lot of teams to gauge what it would cost to move in the draft.

But even after moving down two spots, they got their man.

"It's funny. I was talking to him on the phone, and he's fired up," Schiano said of Barron. "He says, 'Coach, can you send me a playbook?' I said, 'Well, you're going to be down here tomorrow, Mark, and we'll get you a playbook, I promise you.

"That's the kind of guy he is. He lives this great game. He loves it. He studies it, and I can't wait to coach him."

Breaking down the first round

By position: DL — 7; LB — 5; DB — 5; QB — 4; OL — 4; WR/TE — 4; RB — 3

By school: Alabama — 4; LSU, South Carolina, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Illinois, Boise State — 2; Texas A&M, Boston College, Memphis, Mississippi State, West Virginia, North Carolina, Syracuse, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech — 1

By conference: SEC — 9; Big 12 — 5; Pac-12, Big Ten — 4; ACC — 3; Big East, Independent, Mountain West — 2; C-USA — 1

Bucs first-round picks by position: DL — 10; OL — 6; RB — 5; LB — 4; QB — 4; DB — 3; WR — 2

What they're saying about Mark Barron

Mark Mayock, NFL.com:

Boy, is this a solid pick. I love this kid because his floor and ceiling are the same thing. His ceiling is to be a Pro Bowl safety; his floor is to be a Pro Bowl safety. That's how good this young man is. This is going to be a good football team next year.

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com:

This is high for a safety, but this is a huge need for the Bucs. Their safeties were horrible last year. Grade: B

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