Another influx of rookies at DB.
In this year’s NFL Draft, the Bucs went after bigger, faster defensive backs. Again throwing multiple picks at the position, which has become a habit as of late. They are done with camp, and there have been three preseason games by which to gauge this group. What we have found out, is that last year’s draft class is pretty darn good while this year’s class needs more time to be gauged effectively.
2nd-year guys making an impact.
Carlton Davis, M.J. Stewart, and Jordan Whitehead three of those from the 2018 draft have come along nicely. Whitehead looked pretty good towards the end of last season. Having been forced into action as a rookie due to multiple decimating injuries. He has picked up right where he left off, then some. Jamel Dean came up with a nice interception in the Dolphins preseason game, other than that, was still waiting for the great play in games that they have shown in Camp. Rookie Mike Edwards, who was expected to grab a safety position has been injured. So his ability to shine has been shelved until his health will allow him to compete again. Justin Evans is coming back slowly, and cautiously, and when healthy is surely a plus for this group.
Mostly a mixed bag.
Vernon Hargreaves III has been running with the first team, his assessment so far has been spotty at best. My feeling is he will have his time to shine, and he will if he stays healthy. Knock on wood, so far he has. Even with the injuries and what could be some initial setbacks from the rookie class’s ability to adjust to the Pro game right out of the shoot. The defensive backfield is far superior to where we were last year at this time. Overall assessment of this group heading into the 2019 regular season is mixed. The starters will be better, and the depth is better. Whether they can play at the level envisioned when this year’s draft was final, is another story. I think most, including Jason Licht, was expecting the rookies to be bringing more impact. It’s very early though, this group is in its infancy, and has plenty of time to step into their predicted roles in this defense.
Time will reveal what we don’t know.
Wrapping it all up, first team and depth are way ahead of last year. Time will sort out the rest of the unknowns, I’m sure with injuries, and healing, and simply more talent overall at the position, this could turn out to be a fluid situation with many players seeing time on the field this year. After last year’s crippling injuries, having extra-talented bodies around at the position can only be a plus. This group could be fairly average, to outstanding. That’s why we play them, to find out, and we will find out without a doubt, very soon. Go Bucs!!