Buccaneers: Javien Elliott working hard to lock up nickel corner

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 04: Melvin Gordon
SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 04: Melvin Gordon /

Undrafted free agent signing last year Javien Elliott has made splash plays in training camp. Has he done enough to secure the Buccaneers nickel cornerback spot?

Back in 2014 the new comer to college football walked on to one of the most prestigious colleges in the NCAA, Florida State. Javien Elliott wasn’t recruited heavily out of high school and didn’t  even play for Florida State until his senior year.  Elliott worked his was up through community college before he could make it as a walk-on at FSU. He grew up in Panama City, Florida, a few hours from FSU, and had his family was with him throughout his path to the Buccaneers.

After his lone season at Florida State he was draft eligible. Elliot gained some attention from NFL teams at his pro day due to his speed. He ended up going undrafted but managed to sign with the Bucs in late May. He was released before the season but brought on to the practice squad the next day. After the four game suspension of Jude Adjei-Barimah he was promoted to the active roster for the Week 11 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. He didn’t record a stat until the Week 14 matchup against the New Orleans Saints where he recorded four tackles. Elliott finished with 10 tackles and one pass deflection in six games his rookie season.

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With the 2017 training camp well under way some one needs to step up and take over the third corner slot. The nickel corner position has been a weakness for the team since the days of Ronde Barber. Jude Adjei-Barimah served as the primary nickel corner before his suspension. Jude didn’t return after his suspension due to being placed on IR. Jude ended the season recording 22 tackles, two sacks, and two pass deflections during the season. While he played admirably in ten games he hasn’t made the splash plays that the Bucs were looking for, so they are looking at all options.

Elliott may not have recorded an interception or sack in his short amount playing time but he has impressed in training camp this year. Head coach Dirk Koetter has raved about his performance recently. According to reports he gets more interceptions than any other player in camp. Playing against the first team players like Mike Evans has definitely given him an opportunity to play against the best of the best. Being an undrafted free agent he needs to continue to make plays because everyone is expendable.

Javien Elliott might not be the tallest corner or the fastest but he has been making plays which is what Tampa needs. The defense had been a top ranked squad towards the end of the season and it was mainly because of turnovers. If Elliott wins the job this preseason it’s because he has been making plays in practice.

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If Elliott makes the starting line up he will be along side veteran Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves. They won’t be the tallest group in the league but if you can make get turnovers you can beat the best. The consistency of having Mike Smith should make the defense a top defense in the league. Javien Elliot may be a surprise key contributor to the defense this upcoming season.