It was clear than under new head coach Greg Schiano the Tampa Bay Bucs would establish a team build around strong defense, and a power running game. However, nobody predicted the Buccaneers would be so aggressive so quickly to achieve this goal. In a division where a balanced attack it vital for success, Tampa Bay looked to stack their backfield, and on the other side of the ball find a new field general who can get the beleaguered locker room back on the straight and narrow.
Tampa took advantage of a desperate Jacksonville team- allowing them to trade up for WR Justin Blackmon, a player they coveted. The end result was the Buccaneers having an incredibly solid draft. Today we're looking at their top four picks.
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
A polarizing prospect, Mark Barron had been rising up draft boards in the days leading up to the first round. Once regarded as a second round prospect, it became clear that numerous teams were incredibly high on Barron. Immediately he will be able to come into the locker room, rally the players and help mold the defense. For a team in need of leaders, they got one.
Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
A shrewd move by the Bucs allowed them to trade back up into the first round and select 'The muscle hamster' (seriously, that's his nickname)- Doug Martin. He is a strong North-South runner who operates well between the tackles. It's only a matter of time before he's the featured back, and LeGarrette Blount is primarily used as a change of pace.
Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
Another really solid pick allowed them to add one of the most talented outside linebackers in the draft. There are concerns he's too small for the NFL (weighing in at sub 240 lbs), but like the Carolina Panthers' Thomas Davis, he's a guy who can get into a strength and conditioning program and bulk up a little. He has great instincts, and a fantastic work ethic; he too will help mold the locker room.
Najee Goode, MLB, West Virgina
As a result of their earlier trade the Bucs needed to wait until the fifth round to select the linebacker out of WV, Najee Goode. It's likely Goode will start out on special teams while he can be developed, but he's a strong, powerful tackler who could wind up being a mid-round gem if he can put it all together.