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Bucs Nation: Getting the Bucs' Side of Mark Barron

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Getting some info from Sander Philipse from Bucs Nation on what kind of player Mark Barron is...or at least was.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Before going back to look at what Mark Barron's done since leaving Alabama for the NFL in the 2012 NFL Draft, I wanted to go straight to someone who has seen every NFL down of his.

So I linked up with Sander Philipse who you might remember from our game preview Q&A from earlier in the year before the Rams-Buccaneers game in week two. I just wanted some basics to make sure the things we're all hearing could be confirmed by someone who's tracked him throughout his career.

How would you define Mark Barron's skill set? Obviously, he has disappointed after being drafted so high. Is it a matter of Mark Barron or something specific to the Buccaneers?

Mark Barron is at his best as a box safety. He's excellent against the run, and he is generally pretty good in man coverage against tight ends -- he's repeatedly shut Jimmy Graham down when given the chance. He struggles in a deep role, both as a half-field and as a single-high safety. He's not a bad player, overall -- you just have to use him in a specific way, and he's not all that versatile. If your coach is okay with that, he should be fine overall. Not a great player, not unless he picks up the pace, but a useful starter.

Why would the Bucs be so eager to move him for just a 4th and a 6th? Why did the Bucs unload him of all the draft day options that had been floated?

Basically, because he'd been mediocre so far this season, and they didn't see him as part of the long-term future of the team. At this point it's obvious they've given up on this season, and he's only under contract for one more year. The Bucs also apparently prefer more versatile safeties, given how often they've used him in a deep role - Pro Football Focus noted he's lined up as a free safety on 201 of his 279 snaps this year.

If the Rams are going to help Mark Barron evolve into a "better" player, what is the most important thing they have to do with him?

Play him in a role that fits his skillset: close to the line of scrimmage. He can be a solid player in that situation, and he may turn into a real difference maker down the road.