Buccaneers: Jamel Dean was highest rated rookie in 2019

Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /

Although the play from first round pick Devin White was outstanding, it was Jamel Dean who stole the spotlight by season’s end.

Something special is afoot in Tampa Bay even though this Buccaneer team has only been assembled for a year. Bringing in a defensive maestro like Todd Bowles and pairing him with a dynamic head coach like Bruce Arians comes out vicariously through the players. Call it a culture change, if you will.

After just one offseason and one draft  working together to pick players that best fit their systems, the two distinct coaches are reaping the benefits of their standout rookies and an overall highly effective rookie class.

One can talk for days about the overall ceiling of Devin White and his bright future in Tampa Bay, but today’s highlight goes out to the third round pick who slipped in the draft due to injury concerns and became a draft gem for the Buccaneers; Jamel Dean.

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It goes without saying that acclimation for rookie cornerbacks can be one of the most difficult position transitions from college to the NFL. However, Dean used his fall on draft night to take the chip on his shoulder and produce whenever he was given the opportunity. And boy, did he not disappoint.

21 tackles, two interceptions, and 17 pass deflections later, Dean solidified himself as a rookie on the rise. While finishing tied for second among all rookie cornerbacks in interceptions (2), Dean finished first in pass deflections among rookies with 17. That number was also good for Top 5 in the NFL among all corners. Not bad for a third round pick with a “bad hip”.

None of that has gone unnoticed of course as Jamel ranked favorably with the analytics crew over at PFF. He graded out as the highest rated rookie on the team, a group that included Devin White, and now looks as if his ceiling is completely untapped.

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Barring any major offseason changes, Jamel Dean looks to be a favorite to start Week 1 of the 2020 season opposite of Carlton Davis. The Buccaneers have a wealth of talented corners to take into the 2020 season and seem as though they will not have to worry this position in the offseason for the first time in a while.