The Youth Movement in the Buccaneers’ Secondary

  • Antoine Winfield Jr
  • Carlton Davis
  • Jamel Dean
  • Jordan Whitehead
  • Mike Edwards
  • Sean Murphy-Bunting
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Todd Bowles
  • Tom Brady
By AlexSilberman June 24, 2020 0 Comment

With the additions on offense, the Buccaneers defense is overlooked. Especially the very young secondary that put up elite numbers last season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary was the team’s biggest weakness for eight games in last season, and for good reason. At the midway point, this past season the Tampa Bay secondary ranked tied for last in the NFL. The secondary gave up 311.9 yards per game. Over the final eight games, the secondary was able to cut 43 yards off the average. During the first half of the season, the Tampa secondary only had 39 passes defended in the first eight games. During the final eight games, this secondary racked up 57 pass breakups, which led the NFL.

By the end of last season, the Tampa secondary saw three rookies starting in the five possible positions, and one second-year player. The Buccaneers may have found hidden gems in corners Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting while Mike Edwards stepped in when Jordan Whitehead landed on the injured reserve.

Antoine Winfield, Safety

It came as a surprise when the Buccaneers selected Antoine Winfield 45th overall in the second round. Winfield joins an already young secondary group that is ready to work. In 2019, Winfield was a unanimous All-American, Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, and a member of the All-Big Ten First Team. It was the perfect ending to his college career in which his Minnesota beat Auburn to win the Outback Bowl.

Jamel Dean, Cornerback

Dean was drafted 94th overall in the 2019 draft and did not see much playtime the first eight games of the season. Dean was given a chance Week nine against the Seattle Seahawks. He gave up big plays, but also had 5 passes defended. Jamel Dean wanted to get better. He met with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for extra film study, and Dean excelled from that point forward. After playing half of the season, Dean managed to grab two interceptions and 17 passes defended.

Carlton Davis, Cornerback

Davis was drafted 63rd overall in the 2018 draft. He led the team in passes defended with 19. One shy of tying with the NFL league-leader, Stephon Gillmore. Davis was the corner that found himself taking on the opposing teams’ number one receivers. Davis started each of the 14 games he appeared in. The third-year corner finished his 2019 campaign with 19 passes defended, one forced fumble, and one interception. He also ranked fourth on the Buccaneers tallying 59 tackles.

Sean Murphy-Bunting, Cornerback

Sean Murphy-Bunting is a former second round pick out of Central Michigan. Murphy-Bunting led the Buccaneers with three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Although he only started in ten games, Murphy-Bunting is versatile and can be moved around. Murphy-Bunting can be found on the hybrid outside and in the slot role.  Murphy-Bunting added eight pass breakups as well to his impressive sophomore campaign.

Mike Edwards, Safety

Edwards was drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft out of Kentucky, . He started seven out of the 15 games he appeared in. Edwards racked up 45 tackles, six passes defended, and one sack. Edwards needs to elevate in 2020 in order to secure a starting position.

Jordan Whitehead, Safety

A safety going into his third year. Originally drafted 117th overall in the 2018 draft. Whitehead started 14 games this past season and came in third overall on the team with 68 tackles. He was also able to add one interception as well as nine passes defended. Whitehead missed the final two games of the season after an injury. It would be safe to assume Whitehead as one of the two starting safeties this upcoming season

This Buccaneers secondary saw lots of time on the field last season thanks to Jameis Winston and his many interceptions. Now with Tom Brady under center, they need to get him the ball more. These young defensive backs should benefit from Tampa’s excellent pass rush. The secondary is young and has the potential to be special. Fire those cannons.

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