Buccaneers: Sean Murphy-Bunting primed for breakout in 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sean Murphy-Bunting,(Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sean Murphy-Bunting,(Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /

The secondary in Tampa Bay took major leaps forward last year and Sean Murphy-Bunting looks ready to lead that group in 2020.

It’s about time we all put a collective amount of trust in Bruce Arians as a head coach, as well as a team operator. He is, of course, a two-time AP Coach of the Year award winner mind you.

On a surface level though, I get it. Tampa Bay fans have seen unproven or downright mediocre coaching since Gruden left in 2008 ( yes, I’m talking to you Schiano). In the grand scheme of things, Tampa Bay should no longer be worried about head-scratching coaching moves or boneheaded draft decisions.

Arians is always two steps ahead in terms of coaching, always being able to see the bigger picture before many viewers of the team do. This is exactly the case when Tampa Bay used an early second round pick on a little-known cornerback out of Central Michigan.

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It was a shocking pick to say the least and one can only imagine the amount of “Sean Murphy-Bunting” google searches in the Bay Area after his name was called was in the thousands.

In the end it seemed as if Arians and defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, had seen enough of the kid to place him high on their draft board as well as keeping his name under the radar. One year later and we now recognize their gamble had paid off.

After showing skills and flashes every now and then during the preseason, Murphy-Bunting was still given the rookie backseat in favor of now ex-Buccaneer, Vernon Hargreaves. Through weeks 1-10, the CMU product was beaten badly on plays but was also a quick study and learned from his mistakes.

All it would take was a Week 10 release of Hargreaves and an essential lock to start that lit the spark for the young rookie. From there, he was off to the races.

As the final game game of the season came to close on a sour pick-six to division rival, Atlanta Falcons, the rookie still had much to lift his head for. He would finish the season as the leader for all rookie cornerbacks with three interceptions to go along with eight pass deflections. This was all accomplished while starting less than half a season.

While Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis look like locks for the starting outside corner spots, Murphy-Bunting will be a mainstay as the team’s starting nickel corner for years to come.

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Remnants of Ronde Barber’s insane speed and vertical seem to be written all over this kid. For that, Tampa Bay should thank the new Arians-led draft movement.