There was rampant speculation on the eve of the draft that the Bucs were looking at trading out of the fifth overall pick and selecting an impact player from the University of Alabama.
Well, that happened, but not in the manner that anyone in the media room at One Buc Place thought.
After the Bucs traded down from the fifth pick to the seventh with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a surprised group of local media watched Roger Goodell call the name of the Bucs’ newest member – Alabama safety Mark Barron.
Barron was not a name that had been openly associated with the Buccaneers throughout the pre-draft process, but he did confirm to ESPNFlorida.com that the Bucs brought him in for a pre-draft visit.
“I went down and had a visit with them. It went good. But, after that, that was pretty much it. We didn’t have too much communication back and forth.”
The Bucs brought in Barron for a workout after he underwent hernia surgery, and were satisfied there were no lingering issues from it.
When asked about the strength of his game, versatility was a word Barron brought up.
“I think the strength of my game is that I’m versatile, and I can do a lot of things and I can do them well.”
When you look at what Barron accomplished in college, it’s hard to argue against that. Barron is a prototypical NFL strong safety— a fearsome hitter with the physicality of a linebacker. However, he tallied 12 career interceptions, including 7 during the Crimson Tide’s 2009 national championship season. He also accumulated 237 total tackles during his four-year career at Alabama. He was a two-time team captain, a trait that Dominik has previously said he looks for in potential draftees.
When asked about concerns regarding his coverage ability, Barron pointed to his productivity in college as his defense.
“I feel like that’s a misconception about me. If you go back and count how many times I’ve been scored on in my college career, it probably won’t be more than three times. I’m saying, like three touchdowns. So I feel like that’s a big misconception about me.”
In joining a Buccaneer defense that finished dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game in 2011 and twentieth in interceptions, Barron has a chance to become that big-play Alabama guy that many Buccaneer fans wanted on Thursday.