Buccaneers: Ross Cockrell return is good sign for secondary

Ross Cockrell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Ross Cockrell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers needed Ross Cockrell to stay put.

After winning the Super Bowl, the main goal for the Buccaneers was keeping their starters on the roster. This worked out well, as Tampa was able to bring back all 22 starters from last season, but adding key depth like Ross Cockrell also helps.

Cockrell flew under the radar as a signing this week, but the upside that he brings to the Buccaneers as a depth piece is impossible to underscore.

Last year, the Buccaneer secondary struggled greatly when the injury bug bit. Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis both had interruptions in their season due to injuries, and the Bucs can’t afford to go back to having a secondary without any depth.

Sure, this group is very top-heavy, but Ross Cockrell brings some weight to the bottom half of the unit to even out the distribution a bit. No one would say that Cockrell is unfairly relegated to the bench, but he does make a compelling case as one of the best fourth corners in the NFL right now.

Cockrell was a midseason addition by the Buccaneers that mostly started on special teams, but towards the end of the season, he began to play a bigger role on the defensive side of the ball. Cockrell played more than half of the defensive snaps for three of the last five games and was never a liability.

Buccaneers: 3 ‘why not?’ free agents to target before the 2021 NFL Draft. light. Trending

This sample size is small, but it shows that Cockrell still has the ability to be a contributor on this defense. After losing Ryan Smith to free agency, the Bucs did still need help on special teams, and Cockrell’s ability to serve as a viable backup to the starting corners on the defensive side makes this an extremely underrated signing by Jason Licht and company.

Want to write about the Buccaneers? Apply below!