Coach compares Barron to John Lynch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith generally is positive when he’s asked about specific players.

But, so far, I haven’t heard him put as much praise on one player as he did on strong safety Mark Barron on Monday night. Smith compared Barron to one of the greatest players in Tampa Bay history.

“We’ve talked a lot about and I’ve heard (the media) talk a lot about Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy being compared to two Hall of Famers (Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp),’’ Smith said. “But we had another great safety here in John Lynch. Mark Barron looks the part.’’

I don’t think that’s much of an exaggeration. Barron was a high draft pick with lots of physical talent. He’s shown promise at times, but he should really thrive under a defensive-minded coach like Smith.

“I’m very pleased with him,’’ Smith said. “I really like what he did at Alabama. He had a good season last year, but it’s ahead of him. We need a big strong safety moving down into the box. But he went three days and had interceptions on three days. He has good hands for a big guy. We like the direction he’s going.’’