Cornerbacks – F
It’s been a rough go for the Tampa Bay secondary through four games. The Bucs are allowing a league-worst 358 passing yards per game, and they managed to make Mitchell Trubisky look like an All-Pro.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Neither rookie has found much success. It’s been a sincere “welcome to the NFL” experience for the two. Again, this isn’t to say they are busts or should move to the bench, but this is what rookie defensive backs look like at times. They may provide impact plays, but their mistakes are equally painful.
Grimes returned in Week 3 and looked his age. Receivers have torched the veteran corner early this season. Hopefully, he can use the bye week to get caught up with the rest of the league. The injury could be the reason for the slow start.
Ryan Smith is the final corner worth mentioning. He played well against the Eagles, and his special teams play continues to impress. The oft-criticized corner has done his job as the fourth cornerback.
Overall, this unit needs work. Davis and Stewart are promising pieces for the future, but the present is not their time. Expect the struggles at cornerback to be an issue all season long.
Safeties – F
Another brutal grade in the Buccaneers secondary. Up-and-coming Justin Evans remains the only bright spot in a unit which has been embarrassed through four weeks.
Chris Conte has been on the wrong end of a handful of highlights. A brutal stiff arm to blown coverages, Conte was targeted plenty. Even with the struggles, it was hard to see Conte go down with an injury that will put him on the sidelines for a long time.
Rookie safety Jordan Whitehead is poised to take Conte’s starting role, but he’s already dealt with some injuries. Whitehead is a fearless defensive back who can play in the box despite giving up some size. He complements Evans well and could use this season to develop.
It might be tough sledding for the safeties this season, but there is potential for a special pairing if Whitehead pans out.