Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What they really got in this draft class
Second Round (53): M.J. Stewart, Cornerback
With the Buccaneers having the worst total defense (378.1 yards allowed/game) and the worst pass defense (260.6 yard allowed/game and 67.6% completion) last season, and their top corner at 35-year-old. The secondary became a major need and with three second round picks they used two of them on defensive backs. With the 28th pick in the second round they chose a player that not a lot of Buccaneers fan were familiar with in M.J. Stewart.
While playing in 49 games and starting the last 37 at the University of North Carolina Stewart excelled at corner totaling 199 tackles, with 11.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, six interceptions, and a school record 47 pass breakups. He was a member of the South team at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. While participating in the Combine he measured in at 5’11” 200 pounds and ran a 4.54 forty with a 35” vertical and 118” broad jump.
Stewart plays very physical at the line in press coverage and also runs the routes about as good as the receivers, and shows his ability and physicality to play the ball in the air quite well with 47 pass breakups. He is not afraid to come up the line and tackle the running backs and shows very good technique in his tackles. Showing his versatility by playing inside or outside corner and also doing some punt returning duties.
Second Round (63): Carlton Davis, Cornerback
The Buccaneers then traded back with Patriots acquiring a fourth round pick as a result and again went with secondary with the 31st pick in the second round they selected cornerback Carlton Davis.
While playing in 38 games with 32 starts at the University of Auburn he had a total of 138 tackles, with 4.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and 29 pass breakups and was named to the First Team All-ACC after the 2017 season. During the Combine he measure in at 6’1” (taller then any current Buccaneers corner) 206 pound and ran a 4.53 forty with a 34” vertical and a 124” broad jump and 16 reps on the bench press.
Davis shows good size and length for a corner with 32¾ inch arms and plays a very physical press coverage. He also shows good vision to see balls coming and knock them down and physicality to break up the catch with 29 pass breakups. He shows good speed to chase down receivers that get past him, and has good football intelligence to understand what the receiver is planning to do before and after catching the ball.
In both Stewart and Davis, the Buccaneers are getting two very physical press corners who will show their assertiveness and physicality at the line something that the current Buccaneers corners do not show often. They both show the ability and physicality to go after the ball with a combined 76 career pass breakups between the two of them. Stewart projects to most likely be a slot corner or even a potential strong safety, and Davis is an outside corner and will be given a shot to win the number two corner spot and eventually could take over for Brent Grimes when he is done.
With a more physical group of corners with the addition of Stewart and Davis and a revamped defensive line the Buccaneers will provide plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and receivers, and I am guessing that opposing quarterbacks will not be completing 67.6% of their passes next season with these additions.