The Bucs have hit the reset button since the end of last season, and a new regime has taken the helm. Once Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles took over, they brought in several players that were more adept at their offensive and defensive schemes. They signed several FAs such as OLB Shaquil Barrett and S/LB Deone Bucannon as well as finding what looks to be several hidden gems in last year’s draft. With the draft picks, like MLB Devin White, CB Sean Bunting, CB Jamel Dean, S Mike Edwards, and DE/OLB Anthony Nelson on the roster, training camp is about to get very interesting.
Here are 3 camp battles to watch closely.
1. Vernon Hargreaves and Sean Bunting:
There was a lot of hype when the Bucs first drafted CB and former Florida Gators’ star, Vernon Hargreaves. However, in his first season, he was the most targeted CB in the league, and he hasn’t improved much since then. Hargreaves is on thin ice, and the Bucs drafted Sean Bunting out of Central Michigan in an attempt to light a fire under Hargreaves as well as solidify the corner position. If that doesn’t happen, then look for Bunting to get serious playing time this year. At 6’1″, he’s a tall corner, and like Hargreaves, he comes to the Bucs as a player with an extremely high ceiling. Bunting excels in press coverage and did not allow a single TD his final year in college. This battle could get ugly between the veteran and the rookie.
2. Scott Miller and Breshad Perriman:
Adam Humphries has moved on to a bigger payday which leaves the Bucs in desperate need of a third receiver. They signed FA Breshad Perriman who played last season with the Browns. While he has been disappointing his whole career, he does have 4.22 speed, and towards the end of last season, he developed some great chemistry with rookie QB Baker Mayfield, averaging over 20 YPC.
Another candidate, who might be just as qualified to be penciled in at the 3rd receiver spot, is 6th round draft pick rookie WR Scott Miller out of Bowling Green. At 5’11 and 166 lbs, his frame is a concern. Hopefully, he can add 10 to 15 lbs of muscle. Like Perriman, Miller is a speedster that loves the vertical route. At his pro day, he was clocked at 4.28 and 4.3 also while playing his last 2-years of college, he caught 67 percent of the passes in which he was a target. This will be an interesting battle to keep an eye on.
With Justin Evans on the NFI the battle for FS:
Former starting FS Justin Evans is starting Training Camp on the NFI list so, now Todd Bowles is looking for a new starting FS, and that’s one position the Bucs are not short on. I’m sure last year’s second-round pick DB MJ Stewart will get a look. He is good in coverage, he can play the slot, and he’s not afraid to tackle anybody including RBs. There is also this year’s 3rd round draft pick, and my personal favorite, former Kentucky S Mike Edwards. Edwards is SEC tested earning Second-Team All-SEC his senior year. He is a certified ball hawk with 10 INTs and 23 PD over his college career and is good in pass coverage with the speed to play the slot as well. He is also a great tackler and hits like his idol, and namesake, S Tyrann Mathieu “The Honey Badger”. Like Mathieu, he can be an excellent Blitzer tallying 20.5 TFL, a and safety that can blitz is something Todd Bowles craves.