Back in April, the Buccaneers traded up from their pick high in the second round to get another selection at the end of the first round and grab the running back they coveted, Boise State’s Doug Martin. The potential cost of that move was that the Bucs, who also drafted Alabama safety Mark Barron with the seventh overall pick in the opening round, would go into Day Two of the draft without a second-round pick. Another player the team coveted – Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David – seemed likely to end up somewhere else.
However, when David slipped into the second half of the round that Friday night, the Bucs moved boldly again, trading up to get in position to nab the former Cornhusker. The maneuver worked, as had their two trades the night before, and the team ended up not only with a new lead back but with two players they believed they could step right into their starting 11 on defense.
Barron and David have done just that. Both players were running with the first team by the start of training camp, and both were there on opening day. Barron has started all four regular-season games at strong safety, while David has opened every contest at weakside linebacker. As a pair, they are two of the most impactful rookies in the NFL so far.
David and Barron rank second and third on the Bucs’ tackle chart after one month with 33 and 27 stops, respectively. On the list all NFL rookies, they show up even more impressively. David leads the way among NFL newcomers with his tackle total, while Barron ranks third. Carolina cornerback Josh Norman is sandwiched in between the two Bucs, with 30 stops so far.
David has added six tackles for loss and is among the league leaders in that category. Barron has broken up five passes to go along with his tackle total, tying for second on the Buccaneers on that chart. Both players are well on their way to opening their careers with 100-tackle seasons (David is on a 132-stop pace, Barron 108). If they both hit triple digits by the end of the campaign, it would be the first time in team history two rookies had done that in the same season.