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Butch Davis: Buccaneers drafted Mark Barron to stop Jimmy Graham

Safety Mark Barron and cornerback Rashaan Melvin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle New Orleans Saint tight end Jimmy Graham Photo: Getty Images

Safety Mark Barron and cornerback Rashaan Melvin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle New Orleans Saint tight end Jimmy Graham

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham filed a grievance this offseason to be considered a wide receiver for purposes of the franchise tag. (An arbitrator ruled against Graham last week, though that decision is subject to appeal.)

Pro Football Talk looked through a transcript of a portion of the testimony and reported that Butch Davis, a former Buccaneers special assistant, testified that Graham should be considered a receiver. Davis said that Tampa Bay’s draft strategy in 2012 was “fueled directly by a desire to stop Graham,” including drafting safety Mark Barron with the eighth pick.

More from Pro Football Talk:

The goal, as Davis explained it, was to have Barron cover Graham for short to intermediate routes, with help over the top on deeper routes, because Graham is faster than Barron.

It hasn’t exactly worked; the Saints are 4-0 against the Bucs since Barron arrived.

The testimony ultimately was turned against Davis on cross examination by the NFL’s lawyers, when Davis was forced to admit that the Buccaneers didn’t draft a cornerback to cover Graham — and that the Bucs never would have drafted a safety to cover Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.

- Sarah Barshop

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