The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have some decent depth at safety, but taking a chance on a player like LaDarius Wiley could pay off in the long run.
As it stands, the Buccaneers have four, maybe five safeties that can start in 2020. Antoine Winfield Jr. and Andrew Adams are the favorites to start at free safety, and Jordan Whitehead and Mike Edwards are the favorites at strong safety. In addition to the players already on the roster, Tampa Bay could look into free agent safety, LaDarius Wiley.
Justin Evans may not even return to the team, and the Buccaneers need to develop depth that can step in at a moment’s notice.
The players on the roster are good, but upping the competition is exactly what the Bucs will have to do before training camp. Wiley is built to push the strong safeties, and he also has the ball skills to compete with the free safeties in coverage.
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Standing at 6’1” 210 pounds, Wiley has the build to be an in-the-box safety at the NFL level. His tape, while playing four seasons with the Vanderbilt Commodores, shows a skillset that Todd Bowles could work wonders with, as seen previously with Jamal Adams.
Bucs fans may want the team to pursue a player like Adams to reunite with Bowles, but LaDarius Wiley could be a cheaper option that doesn’t require the expense of draft picks.
Wiley’s college stats also indicate a player that is well-suited to play in the box, finishing his career with 256 tackles, two interceptions, and seven forced fumbles, four of which came during his final season.
In addition to his stats playing in the SEC, Wiley also found success in the XFL. Having played most recently with the L.A. Wildcats, Wiley was able to produce a sack and an interception in just five games played.
Here is the interception tweeted by Arif Hasan of The Athletic. Wiley shows excellent vision and speed, skills that would easily translate to the NFL.
It may seem like the Buccaneers are set with their secondary, but after the start that they experienced in the 2019 season, bringing in more bodies to compete would only improve the overall outlook on the unit. LaDarius Wiley may be an under the radar free agent, but he has a chance of making an impact on the 2020 Buccaneer defense.