St. Louis Rams Trade for Tampa Bay Buccaneers Safety Mark Barron


The St. Louis Rams made their first deal at the trade deadline since 2011 (when they acquired Brandon Lloyd from the Denver Broncos), acquiring safety Mark Barron from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for their fourth and sixth-round selections in the 2015 Draft.

Barron, the seventh pick overall in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Alabama, has had mixed results over his three-year pro career. He’s a hard hitter who can make an impact playing up near the line of scrimmage. However, he’s not much of a playmaker, having recorded only three interceptions over the course of his career, and it would be hard to imagine him playing free safety. Though his coverage ability has improved, that area certainly isn’t his strength, and he received a -2.0 rating in coverage during 2013 from Pro Football Focus, which ranked him 54th among NFL safeties who played at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps.

Barron is strikingly similar skill-set wise to the Rams’ current starting strong safety, T.J. McDonald. With that in mind, it should be interesting to see if the team plans on using both of them on the field together, or if the plan ultimately is for Barron to replace McDonald, with free safety Rodney McLeod retaining his starting position.

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Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this move is that 2014 fourth-rounder Maurice Alexander is very far away from being ready to contribute to an NFL team. Alexander, a St. Louis native who many draft analysts and observers felt was a sixth or seventh-round talent, was selected near the start of Day 3 at the insistence of head coach Jeff Fisher, who likened the risk of the situation to when he decided to pass on Bobby Wagner, now a star linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, in the second round of the 2012 Draft.

However, Alexander has only dressed for two games while filling in on special teams. The 6-foot-2, 212-pounder is thought to have a similar skill set to McDonald and Barron, so we’ll see if he is still in the staff’s plans going forward. While it appeared that he would at least get a chance to dress this week with McLeod and backup safety Cody Davis potentially on the shelf, that seems rather unlikely following the trade.