2019 Stats- 43 Total Tackles, 8 Pass deflections, 3 interception, one sack, one forced fumble
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A collective gasp was heard during the 2019 draft when the Buccaneers selected Murphy-Bunting in the second round as other coveted corners, such as Greedy Williams, were still available. One season later and it looks as if Sean’s detractors have begun to quiet down and for good reason. As such for most rookie cornerbacks in the NFL, there was a bit of a learning curve for Murphy-Bunting.
Once SMB learned the defensive system of Todd Bowles and logged more snaps, people began to realize why Tampa Bay reached for the athletic cornerback from Central Michigan. Down the stretch it become obvious that Murphy-Bunting has lock-down capabilities as he finished the season the season with three interceptions ( best among all rookie CBs) and eight pass deflections after starting only 10 games. He capped off his year with a late-season pick six in front of family and friends when the Bucs beat the Detroit Lions in Detroit in Week 15.
2019 Stats- 21 Total Tackles, 2 interceptions, 17 pass deflections
No offense to Sean Murphy-Bunting and the great year he had, but Jamel Dean was definitely the diamond in the rough for the Buccaneers this draft. After slipping into the third round due to injury concerns, Dean found himself in Tampa Bay. He quickly ascended up the cornerback depth chart and despite only starting a meager five games, Dean posted some of the best stats for ALL cornerbacks in the NFL, not just rookies.
After only 13 games played in his rookie season, Dean would get the recognition he deserved as PFF named him to the All-Rookie team. Here’s what analyst had the say about the young corner:
"Since then (Week 9), he’s been one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Among all cornerbacks with 25 or more targets since Week 10, Dean’s passer rating allowed of 29.1 was the lowest in the NFL by over 10 points, and his forced incompletion rate of 30.3% also led the position group. That strong finish to the season gives plenty of reason to be optimistic about his pairing with Carlton Davis in 2020."
This is pretty high praise for a third round pick if you ask me. Dean’s 17 pass deflections would also rank in the Top 5 of all corners in the league as well as first amongst rookies and in only 13 games played.