Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America have been capping every NFL season with an All-Rookie Team for as long as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been around (PFW and the PFWA combined forces on the matter in the 2000s). They have rarely liked a Buccaneers rookie class as much as they do the most recent group of newcomers.
The PFW/PFWA selections are as close as it comes to an official NFL All-Rookie Team. The first Buc to get a PFW nod was LB David Lewis way back in 1977, the team’s second year of existence. The first Tampa Bay class to place more than one player on the team was the 1984 group, with LB Keith Browner and T Ron Heller.
This year, the PFW/PFWA voters have included three Buccaneers on their annual rookie squad: RB Doug Martin, S Mark Barron and LB Lavonte David. That makes the 2012 class just the second one in franchise history to have a trio of PFW/PFWA all-rookie picks. The 1997 group did it first with WR Reidel Anthony, RB Warrick Dunn and G Frank Middleton.
Barron (seventh overall), Martin (31st) and David (58th) were the Buccaneers’ first three picks in the 2012 draft, all three of them coming after some sort of trade executed by General Manager Mark Dominik. The Bucs traded down two spots before picking Barron, which gave them added draft-pick ammunition for their eventual trades up to get Martin and David.
The Buccaneers and Vikings are the only teams to place three rookies on the PFW/PFWA team this year. Tampa Bay is the only one of those teams to have three non-specialists on the team (Minnesota’s Blair Walsh was the choice at kicker). Indianapolis has two players on the team but three listings, as T.Y. Hilton was chosen at both wide receiver and punt returner.
Martin led all NFL newcomers with 1,926 yards from scrimmage in 2012, the third-highest total ever for a rookie. Barron started all 16 games at strong safety for the Buccaneers and posted 89 tackles, four tackles for loss, one interception, 10 passes defensed and one forced fumble. David led the Buccaneers with 139 stops, adding two sacks, one interception and five passes defensed, and led all NFL rookies with 20 tackles for loss.