The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open their season against the Carolina Panthers, and the Buccaneers will look considerably different than they did when they finished off last season, with reinforcements coming in across the board.
In among the facelift is an influx of impact rookies. Three will start Sunday and three more are expected to play, Stephen F. Holder of the Tampa Bay Times wrote.
Two of the rookie starters were first-round picks: strong safety Mark Barron, who was drafted No. 7 overall out of Alabama, and running back running back Doug Martin, the 31st overall pick from Boise State. The third rookie starter Sunday will be linebacker Lavonte David, a second-round pick from Nebraska.
Drafting players from big-time college programs was part of the team's strategy, head coach Greg Schiano told Holder. Talent wins out, but rookies that played marquee games in college have one less thing to adjust to in the NFL.
"If you look at the common denominators, these are guys who played in big venues and really had performed at a high level at the highest level of college football," he said. "I think that certainly gives you an advantage.
"Mark Barron, coming from Alabama where there's ... 100,000 people every week, I'm not sure this is going to be too big for him."
For updates on the game, stay tuned to SB Nation Tampa Bay. For more in-depth coverage of this matchup, head over to Tampa Bay Buccaneers blog Bucs Nation as well as Carolina Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader. For more news, notes and analysis from around the league, visit SB Nation's NFL hub.
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