Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
3rd Round (84th overall) – Mason Foster – LB – Washington
In his senior year of college, Mason Foster averaged almost 12.5 tackles a game. He was named the Defensive MVP in the Holiday Bowl and was an All-American. Leading up to the draft, he was projected as one of the top linebackers, and was expected to go in the 3rd or 4th round. His stock kept improving, especially after the combine and he was seen by some as a second rounder. Immediately after being drafted, Foster took over for a departed Barrett Ruud at middle linebacker, also assuming his playcalling role. He started all but one game his rookie season and recorded 82 tackles, 2 sacks, a forced fumble and an INT. In 2012 Lavonte David took over play-calling duties as it may have proved to hamper Foster, and that was backed-up by his improved stats. That year Mason improved to 2 sacks, an INT and 103 tackles.
4th Round (104th overall) – Luke Stocker – TE – Tennessee
SIDE NOTE: Tampa traded their 2011-2012 4th round picks to the Eagles to move up and take Luke Stocker TE. The Eagles used the 2011 pick to select LB Casey Matthews.
A 2010 standout on his college team, Luke Stocker was third on his team in catches and yards, and was the only player with a reception in every game. The year previous, he was second on his team with 5 touchdowns. Once drafted by Tampa, Stocker was a starter in more than half of the games over the last two seasons (most were in two TE sets). In his last three games of 2012 Stocker had 8 catches for 89 yards. As of right now, Luke Stocker leads the depth chart as the starting Tight End of 2013. His chances of keeping this role, really depends on how the draft goes. By not bringing Dallas Clark back, the front office showed they believe Stocker could be the guy, but they may also have big plans on drafting a TE early that they plan on plugging in ahead of the tight ends currently on roster.
5th Round (151st overall) – Ahmad Black – S – Florida
In his college career, Ahmad Black had 244 tackles, 2 sacks, 13 INTS (3 for scores) and a forced fumble. Upon entering the NFL, Black appeared in 4 games his rookie season, getting 5 tackles and a forced fumble. The following season, Black played in every game, starting 2, and got 2 INT’s, a FF, and 32 tackles. Though capable, Black figures to see less playing time with the signing of Dashon Goldson, and, barring injury will fill in as more of a breather.
6th Round (187th overall) – Allen Bradford – RB- USC
SIDE NOTE: Tampa traded two of their 7th round picks to the Broncos for their fifth. That fifth went to the Chiefs as a conditional pick in a deal that brought DE Alex Mcgee and a 6th rounder over in 2010. The Chiefs used that pick on B/U QB Rick Stanzi, and we used that sixth on RB Allen Bradford. Furthermore, Tampa traded their 6th rounder to the Eagles for Reggie Brown in 2010, which the Eagles sent to Arizona for Reggie Wells. The Cardinals used it to select DE David Carter.
In high school, Bradford played both RB and LB. Many NFL players have played multiple positions in high school, but for Bradford this would prove prophetic. At USC (under Pete Carroll, also prophetic), Bradford was a capable runner. In his college career, he held a 5.9 average YPC, and 16 TDs. After being drafted, Bradford played in only one game for the Bucs and had 5 carries for 13 yards. Shortly after he was waived, and claimed by Seattle (re-uniting with Carroll). He was back and forth between the active roster and practice squad, but made a noteable change to linebacker. Currently he is on Seattles depth chart as a B/U linebacker, and can fill in both in the middle and on the outside.
7th Round (222nd overall) – Anthony Gaitor – CB – Florida International
Anthony Gaitor was signed as a backup cornerback, playing mostly behind Ronde Barber and then Aqib Talib. He has fallen further down the depth chart, and with all of the rotation in our secondary, has only seen 2 starts in his two seasons. He has played in 12 games though, and has been able to tally 12 tackles and defend 5 passes. Right now he is behind Eric Wright on the depth chart at RCB, but that will prove to change through the draft and a possible Revis trade.
7th round (238th overall) Compensatory Pick – Daniel Hardy – TE – Idaho
In his senior year of college, Daniel Hardy was leading the nations TE’s for receiving yards until he broke his arm and was out for the rest of the season. Once drafted, Hardy was relegated to the practice squad, and finally released. He was signed to the Saints practice squad for a total of 8 weeks, then signed a contract with the Vikings and was released later that offseason, having never seen time in an NFL game.
Overall, this draft saw 3 players make an immediate impact, 2 of which were even starters. More importantly, this draft class kept the theme of hard-hitting, hard-working intelligent players stepping into positions and improving our defense as a whole. The 2012 draft would prove to do the same. If we can keep this trend rolling in the 2013 draft and shore up the few holes left (mind you BIG holes at that), there is no telling where this defense will take us.