Strong safety Mark Barron came out on fire early in the season, but lately the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' first first-round selection has been a liability at times on the field.
Barron, who was drafted No. 7 overall by the Bucs in April, has struggled in the passing game as of late. He seems to be out of position way too much and has had trouble covering tight ends, which is something a fast, young player like himself should be able to do.
Barron also hasn't learn a very simple principle that all defensive backs need to do – get your head around when the ball is coming. Last week, Barron got flagged for pass interference after he didn't turn his head toward the ball while knocking down a pass. The flag was picked up so no harm was done.
But he got called for the same thing on Sunday against the Panthers while trying to cover Greg Olsen in the end zone, and this time it cost him. Running back Jonathan Stewart punched it in from 1-yard out to give the Panthers a 14-10 lead after Barron's penalty.
Look, we know Barron is a rookie and we have seen glimpses of the immense talent that he possesses.
But maybe he has hit that so-called "rookie wall" 11 weeks into the season. Barron certainly isn't playing like he was earlier in the year, and the only splash plays he is involved in are the ones he is giving up to opposing players.
Buccaneers 101 thinks Barron will be a fine pro this league for a long time. But we wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't point out the fact that he has struggled the past few weeks.
Hopefully, Barron can improve his game because his teammates will need him at his best as they fight for a playoff berth.