March 31, 2023

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Should the Bucs target Claiborne?

2 min read

Dec 15, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) catches a 14-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter as New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) defends at MetLife Stadium. The Texans defeated the Jets 29-22. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With CB Ryan Smith suspended for the first four games the Bucs find themselves short one CB. It appears they have two choices, they can either promote a CB currently on their roster or try to sign a veteran FA to take Smith’s spot. It just so happens there is one CB available that is very familiar with DC Todd Bowles scheme and that’s CB Morris Claiborne.

Claiborne spent the last two seasons with the NY Jets where Bowles was the head coach. Last season he put up arguably the best season of his seven-year career. In 2018 the former Jim Thorpe award winner out of LSU played in 15 games with a career-high 2 ints, 14 PD, and 57 tackles. At 28 years old it seems he still has some gas left in the tank.

Claiborne didn’t have the best transition from college to the NFL, but has improved greatly since being drafted 6th overall in the 2012 draft. He is also a perfect fit in the new defensive scheme, and at 5’11” 188 lbs, he is very skilled in press coverage. He is very aggressive as well, not afraid to get in the faces of receivers and has no problem making tackles in run support.

With very little cap space and a first-round pick, Devin White, still remaining unsigned, the Bucs must make a decision. Do they attempt to sign the veteran FA knowing they still must sign White or should they go into the season with the corners that are currently on their roster?