On Day Three of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers efforts are trending in two distinct directions: Defense and Mountaineers.
With the fourth pick of the sixth round, number 174 overall, the Buccaneers landed West Virginia cornerback Keith Tandy. This follows the fifth-round selection of West Virginia linebacker Najee Goode and gives Tampa Bay four defensive players among its first five selections in 2012.
Specifically, the Bucs have added four players to the back seven of their defense after investing heavily on the defensive line in the 2010 and 2011 drafts. In addition to Tandy, the team selected Alabama safety Mark Barron in Round One, Nebraska LB Lavonte David in Round Two and Goode in Round Five. Though a cornerback throughout his Mountaineer career, Tandy has a skill set that leads some scouts to believe he could play safety, as well.
The 5-10, 200-pound Tandy is a very willing and effective run-stopper, as evidenced by his 182 tackles over his three seasons (2009-11) as a starter on the Mountaineer defense. Overall, he finished his four year career at WVU with 40 starts in 45 games played and 188 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 13 interceptions and 24 passes defensed.
Tandy moved to the left cornerback spot as a senior after starting on the right side the previous two years and produced a very strong season. Last fall he racked up a career-best 64 tackles while also snaring four interceptions and breaking up nine other passes. That earned him first-team All-Big East honors both from the conference's coaches and ESPN.
In 2010, Tandy recorded a career-best six interceptions, tying for the 10th-best total in the nation. Those turnovers, plus 57 tackles and another 11 pass deflections, earned him second-team All-America accolades from SI.com. Scouts complement Tandy on his short-area quickness, good hands and strong work in zone coverage. He has also proven to be a very good special teams player, which is often the attribute that earns a player a roster spot in the NFL after he is selected in the later rounds.
This marks the second year in a row that the Buccaneers have directed four of their first five picks to the defensive side of the ball. Overall, since the start of the 2010 draft, Tampa Bay has selected 22 players and 15 of them have been defenders.