Cornerbacks have been a point of emphasis over the past few years for the Bucs, especially in the draft, and this year we see it start to pay off as the battle for a roster spot should be fierce.
The Chosen Few
Simply The Rest
Jamel Dean: A 3rd round pick by the Buccaneers this year, Dean is certainly a lock to make the team and will be battling for some significant playing time. He won’t immediately pose a threat to take minutes from “The Chosen Few”, but nothing is stopping him from chipping away as the season progresses.
De’Vante Harris: It’s time for the positional practice squad player to make an appearance, and this time it’s De’Vante. Having previous stints on the practice squad with both the New Orleans Saints and the Buccaneers, he’s almost certain to have a 2nd go-round on the Buccaneers practice squad this year.
Ryan Smith: He had a chance to become one of “The Chosen Few”, but getting himself suspended for the first 4 games of the season has knocked him down a peg or two. Ryan was tied for 2nd on the team in interceptions last year with ONE…you read that right, and he had more than 30 solo tackles with a fumble recovery as the cherry on top. While his performance last season wasn’t strong enough to balance out his recent suspension, it should still be enough to secure him a spot on the team.
Marvin “M.J.” Stewart: He’s a bit of an odd one, but very promising. He played in 11 games last season, but only started 5 of those. He didn’t have an interception and only had 3 pass deflections, but had 31 solo tackles and 2 hits on the opposing quarterback. With the kind of numbers that don’t jump out at you, yet are certainly good enough to make you want to see what he can do next, it’s easy to see why Stewart will find some playing time this year, even if it’s a little less than he saw last year. The defensive line battle, during training camp, should be exciting!
Mazzi Wilkins: An undrafted rookie out of USF, Mazzi has shown a lot of promise. He started 22 of the 47 games he played in while recording over 100 tackles to go with 3 interceptions and 19 passes broken up. He topped it off with half a sack and a fumble recovery. While not the best collegiate career we’ve seen, there’s a reason to think that Mazzi can build on what he learned in college and make the necessary moves to ensure he not only locks up a roster spot, but puts himself in the position to learn from those who have something to teach.