Bucs Picked Mark Barron To Stop Jimmy Graham

July 9th, 2014
Butch Davis alleges the lone reason the Bucs drafted S Mark Barron was to stop Saints TE Jimmy Graham. Thus far, Graham has the decided edge in that duel.

Butch Davis alleges the lone reason the Bucs drafted Mark Barron was to stop Saints TE Jimmy Graham. Thus far, Graham has the decided edge in that duel.

Joe is well aware a lot of Bucs fans are not exactly sleeping at night while wearing Mark Barron jerseys. The third-year safety has been a steady player since being selected seventh overall in the 2013 draft.

Barron has been OK thus far. He’s pretty good against the run. He can deliver a ferocious hit at times (just ask RGIII). As a pass defender, well, let’s just say Barron needs polishing.

Why does Joe bring this up?

It seems Joe’s good friend, the creator, curator and overall guru of ProFootballTalk.com, the great Mike Florio, dug up a precious gem in the legal squabble over whether Jimmy Graham of the Saints is a tight end or not. Former Bucs, um, well, eerr, um, employee Butch Davis (Joe still doesn’t know what the hell Davis did for the Bucs, and few do outside of Davis, former Bucs commander Greg Schiano, and maybe former Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik) testified that the only reason the Bucs drafted Barron so high was to be Graham’s kryptonite.

“We took [safety] Mark Barron in the first round simply because of Jimmy Graham,” Davis said of the team’s decision with the eighth overall pick that year.

The goal, as Davis explained it, was to have Barron cover Graham for short to intermediate routes, with help over the top on deeper routes, because Graham is faster than Barron.

It hasn’t exactly worked; the Saints are 4-0 against the Bucs since Barron arrived.

So Joe decided to do some hunting and pecking on his keyboard to see just what Graham has done against the Bucs since Barron was drafted.

In 2012, the only time Graham and Barron squared off in Barron’s rookie year came in a complete and total Saints beatdown of the Bucs late in the season, 41-0. Graham had five catches for 69 yards, an average of 13.8 yards a catch. No touchdowns.

In 2013, the first time the two teams locked horns at the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway, a 16-14 Bucs loss, Graham lit up the Bucs with nine catches for 179 yards and a touchdown, an average of 17.9 yards (!) a catch. In the season finale, Graham had more modest numbers in yet another Saints chain-whipping of the Bucs (42-17), Graham caught five balls for 71 yards and a touchdown for an average of 14.2 yards a catch.

With apologies to the stat geeks and their favorite term, despite it being a (ahem) small sample size (three games), the reaching of Barron with the seventh pick overall for the sole purpose of stopping Graham has been a swing-and-a-miss so far.

If you are choosing a player with a top-10 draft selection, he needs to be a major impact player, a game-changer. And while Barron is a serviceable-to-decent player, he most definitely hasn’t been an impact player (yet).

30 Responses to “Bucs Picked Mark Barron To Stop Jimmy Graham”

  1. Espo Says:

    But was he covering him one on one during all those catches? Could it be possible Schiano didn’t gameplan for his players’ strengths? I remember one diving pass deflection that kept him from converting a 3rd down.

  2. That Guy Says:

    The article goes on to say they would not have drafted a safety specifically to cover someone like Megatron, yet the coaching staff thought Graham was comparable to Megatron. The reasoning makes zero sense.

    But Gregory sure could spot him some talent!

  3. Brandon Says:

    He was a headscratcher of a pick then and has been a disappointment (for a top 10 selection) so far. Hopefully, he can flourish in the T-2. At the time of the draft I was scared to death we were taking Richardson or Claiborne and was chanting Kuechly’s name when the Barron selection was made. I was so surprised by it, I didn’t know what to think.

  4. BoJim Says:

    Not sure about that reasoning. I guess Graham is the only offensive player in the NFL? Drafting a player that high just to cover one guy is stupid. IMO.

  5. ManzielMadness Says:


    I agree, I read this off bucsnation “While Pro Football Talk claims drafting Barron to stop Graham didn’t exactly work because the Saints are 4-0 in games against Mark Barron, that’s not completely accurate. Mark Baron and Jimmy Graham only faced each other twice, with Barron missing last year’s week 17 contest, while Graham missed the game in Tampa the year before.

    Graham was certainly productive in those two games, catching an agonizing total of 15 passes for 248 yards and the 2013 matchup between Barron and Goldson specifically was very educational. In that game, the Bucs had Goldson covering Graham in man coverage for most of the first half as the tight end racked up 156 yards on eight catches. In the second half, the Bucs largely covered him with Mark Barron. Once they made that switch, Drew Brees completed just two of five passes in Graham’s direction for 23 yards and a pick-six.”

  6. Robbie_G Says:

    It could have been worse, remember EVERYONE said they were taking Clayborn from LSU? But, the recent high draft picks of S have been pretty good, Berry in KC, Thomas in Seattle. Let’s see how he does under Lovie and crew.

  7. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    He’s only entering his 3rd year. Do yourselves a favor and research the development times of our better former safties. John Lynch wasn’t even sure he would mahe the team his first few years (his words).

    You guys have no clue of how to determine if a player is developing well. Here’s a hint…if they flash greatness during games their first couple years, it’s a good sign. GMC flashed. LVD did more than flash.

    Or, if you want to compare to other historical Bus players, think of Barber, who took util his 5th year to be good…and he ended up being one of the best CBs in history.

    Baron has flashed greatness. Expecting him to stop Graham so early in his career is ignorant.

    Giving up on him, or even suggesting he wasn’t worth the pick is even more so.

  8. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    And you guys are judging him by his performance in 4 of 32 games. As a whole, he’s been getting better and better and does not quit on plays.

  9. SAMCRO Says:

    There isn’t a safety in the league so far that has had success against Graham. Let’s face it, even though Graham lost his arbitration, he is essentially a wide receiver, who has blown up all the LB’s and DB’s, trying to cover him. I even think if we had drafted Graham’s shadow, it would have a difficult time keeping up. lol

  10. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I was speaking to That Guy & Brandon.

  11. Joe Says:


    Joe never suggested Mark Barron is a bad player. He’s not. But he also is not what you expect from a guy picked seventh overall (neither John Lynch nor Ronde Barber were first-round picks much less seventh overall). He is not an impact player. He is not a game-changer.

    Do you think offensive coordinators gameplan to avoid him at all costs?

    Has Barron played close to the level of the two guys drafted after him, Lavonte David and/or Doug Martin? Of course not.

    Barron is a decent player. Not what you expect from a seventh overall pick.

  12. Joe Says:

    I was speaking to That Guy & Brandon.

    OK. Didn’t know. 🙂 Thanks.

  13. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    McCoy was being called bust until a new coach and assistants came in and improved several facets of his game that helped turn him into the Pro Bowl player his is. Perhaps we will see a similar situation happen with Barron this year and no one will bemoan his #7 selection again?

  14. snook Says:

    Just another example of why you take best player available in the 1st round. Don’t draft for “need”.

  15. Joe Says:

    McCoy was being called bust

    Not by anyone who had a clue.

  16. OB Says:


    There is an additional factor here, the coaching for the top down plus the players with experience to guide also. I can’t wait to see what the entire defense will do, can you imagine what Hardy is going to do to the LBs? Lovie to the entire team, not to mention the coordinators and other coaches under their guidance?

    As you know, a team is a meshing of all the people by the leader, not a manager.

    You are keeping us entertained, keep it up.

  17. Phillip Says:

    Doesn’t help when we have two in the box style safties… Either they thought Dashon could be the roaming type of playmaking safety or figured they could transform the Red Barron into one..

    Which after stating that still worries me for this season.. Whenever we actually do play cover 2… We will be depending on those safties for the over the top help.. I can see it now… Drew Brees throwing bombs to speedy receivers in Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills.. ugh

    Sorry but even the best front 4’s get blocked from time to time..

  18. Phillip Says:

    BTW on draft night on ESPN when Schefty was talking after the Bucs traded back and were on the clock (again) he said they were going after Barron specifically because of TE’s in the division (Jimmy Graham Greg Olsen and Tony Gonzalez)..

  19. Joe Says:


    You are keeping us entertained, keep it up.

    Thanks. Appreciate your support.

    Joe has zero worries about the defense. The defense will be fine.

  20. Back, From Davie Jones'locker Says:

    Barron has been bad. He isn’t as good in the box as Goldson, and he is useless and unable to play anywhere else. He cannot cover. Never could. Still can’t.

    I heard the new staff keeps him after every practice, in an attempt to improve him, or figure out if he can play ANY posistion effectively.

    Probably not. They traded for Goldson, to get what they thought they drafted in Barron.
    He’s yet another Huge blunder by Dominick. One of soooo many.
    Meybe Lovie can find something this kid can do, until his contract runs out.
    Then Barron can go work with Brian Price, Arrelious Benn, and the rest of our outrageously bad draft picks.
    Damn shame.

  21. Bucsfanman Says:

    I think we expect way too much from these players. Not every safety drafted in the 1st is Troy Polamalu. Barron is a nice player who has improved every year. Let’s see what he does in the ‘ol Tampa 2.
    Expecting anyone to cover that beast Jimmy Graham is just setting yourself up for disappointment! Dude’s a beast!

  22. Danati74 Says:

    Supposed to be the second coming of John Lynch. Well he should be, and better. Picked in the top 10. We expect a lot from him then just flashes. 2 guys drafted after him show more than flashes for this team.

  23. Jim Walker Says:

    Barron was drafted because Tarnard Jackson could not stay on the field. Mike Evans was drafted because Mike Williams could not keep his lawn or his laundry clean. Doug Martin was drafted because LaGarrett Blount needed a baby sitter. Revis was brought in because Talib hates taxi drivers. We have been chasing our tails in the draft for years now.

  24. Joe Says:

    Mike Evans was drafted because Mike Williams could not keep his lawn or his laundry clean.

    For the record, Joe cannot confirm nor deny if Mike Williams had a habit of wearing soiled clothing or simply using cheap, ineffective detergent.

  25. Bucoholic Says:

    This is why I had the bucs taking Luke Kuechly with that pick. Could you imagine, Kuechly, Martin & David in the same draft!

  26. Louis Friend Says:


    Since Barron and Graham have only played head to head twice in 2 years, Sander over at Bucsnation did a breakdown of who covered Graham in the 2013 contest.

    First half Goldson covered Graham: 8 catches for 156 yards
    Second half Barron covered Graham: 2 catches for 23 yards

    So if they drafted Barron to cover him, and he obviously figured out how to do it – why in the hell didn’t they let him do the job?

  27. Dwight Says:

    I think we’ve been spoiled by the few successful high first round draft picks. It takes a while for these guys to developed. Looking at it from that perspective….Barron has been fine. Graham is a certified beast who blows up most defenses in the league. I wouldn’t hang Barron for that.

  28. Arealbucsfan Says:

    @ Back, From Davie Jones’locker. Which staff member did u talk to. Its obvious ur in real tight with the Bucs organization.

  29. Jim Walker Says:

    “For the record, Joe cannot confirm nor deny if Mike Williams had a habit of wearing soiled clothing or simply using cheap, ineffective detergent.”


  30. Back, From Davie Jones'locker Says:

    Joe has noted several times, that he has seen the new coaching staff keeping Barron after practice.
    Just need a bit of “read and comprehend”talent.

    As far as Barron’s subpar play- all you have to do is watch the games- with a bit of football knowledge, to know what you are looking at.