The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made an excellent draft choice last season when they selected safety Mark Barron out of Alabama. In Barron, they received a guy who was NFL–ready. He could come in and be an instant starter with the Bucs, and that’s just what he did.
Racking up 89 tackles as a rookie, Barron established himself as a guy who would be all over the field, all the time. He also added in a forced fumble and an interception for good measure.
But, the most important aspect about Barron is that he is a guy with a motor. Barron came from a fantastic Crimson Tide college football program, playing for head coach Nick Saban, who won’t allow their players to take plays off, nor be satisfied with simply being “good.”
Thankfully for Tampa Bay fans, Barron has adopted this mentality. As a rookie, he was seen flying around the field on defense constantly, always dashing to wherever the ball was. This is how you know you’ve got yourself a solid football player on defense. In the Tampa Two scheme, guys will flock toward the ball after it has been released by the quarterback. Wherever that football goes, the entire defense should be coming soon after.
Barron also established himself as a heavy hitter, while trying to maintain legal hits. There was none more famous of Barron’s tackles last year than when he met with Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III on two notable plays in Week 4.
On the first play, it looked to be a designed quarterback draw by Griffin, and Barron was seen sneaking up for a blitz. When Barron met the quarterback, he stuffed him while picking him up and slamming him to the ground. After the play, Griffin was seen clapping his hands in appreciation of a phenomenal play by the safety.
The second play came later in the game when Griffin ran up the middle and Barron crashed into the quarterback, causing him to fumble. The ball was recovered in the end zone by Washington for a score, but it surely could not take away from the magnitude of that hit.
In the Buc’s biggest move of free agency so far, they brought in their No. 1 target, former San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson. Last year, Goldson earned a trip to the Pro Bowl after compiling 69 tackles, three interceptions, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Did I mention that you know a good football player by the way he collapses on the ball? Goldson played very similarly to Barron last year for his former team, racing all over the field in efforts to make a play on every single down.
Goldson, like I said, was Tampa Bay’s number one target in free agency, and they went after him hard. Agreeing to a five year, $41 million contract, Goldson granted their wish to the delight of Buccaneer fans everywhere. With Barron and Goldson manning that Tampa Bay secondary, I can imagine offenses are going to think twice before they send a guy their way.