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Bucs cap off excellent first round with RB Martin

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

After missing out on the draft’s top rusher, Trent Richardson, early on, the Buccaneers traded back into the first round to select the second-best back of this year’s class, Boise State’s Doug Martin.

Tampa Bay sensed the Giants would have taken Martin with the 32nd pick if he was available and had to move up to land their man. (The Giants took a running back, Virginia Tech's David Wilson, with the next pick.) The Bucs sent pick Nos. 36 and 101 to Denver for the 31st and 126th picks.

With Martin, a complete back who can start immediately, the Bucs filled a big need, and they will have a strong 1-2 punch, pairing him with LeGarrette Blount. The Bucs’ rushing offense ranked 31st in the league last season, and Blount was not a good fit as an every-down back. Martin — who rushed 263 times for 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns last season — is a better rusher, receiver and blocker than Blount and can help take pressure off QB Josh Freeman as he looks to bounce back from a very disappointing season.

Overall, the Bucs had an outstanding first round. They addressed their two biggest needs — Tampa Bay traded down from the fifth spot to select Alabama S Mark Barron seventh overall before trading up to pick Martin. GM Mark Dominik added two players who can start from Day One and be long-term solutions for a team that has greatly improved its roster this offseason.

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