Rookie mini-camp kicks off today for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, naturally causing excitement for the Buccaneers’ quest to “go for two” to be at a fever pitch. It’s why the NFL will always be king. As soon as the Super Bowl ends, attention turns to free agency, then the draft, then camps. Well, here we are.
Naturally, most of the attention will be towards the rookies whose names were actually called at the Draft. First-round pick Joe Tryon, a pass rusher from Washington, and University of Florida quarterback Kyle Trask, who the Bucs perhaps controversially used their second-round pick on lead that charge by a wide margin.
We can’t forget about the undrafted free agents, however. Their hard road to achieve their dreams of playing in the NFL begins today as well. There are several undrafted free agents that are intriguing, but one to watch in particular is cornerback Cameron Kinley.
The general notion that when players get drafted they are still often seen as “kids” despite their superhuman size, strength, and athleticism. In the NFL, they force everybody to be a man, no matter how long it takes. If it takes too long, you aren’t lasting too long, simple as that. Make no joke about it though, those who graduate from the military academies are already men. They may not produce a huge quantity of NFL talent, but they do produce a huge quality of mature prospects.
Kinley was not only the team captain at Navy, but he was also the class president. Kinley is already an impressive young man before even stepping foot on the field. Now that rookie minicamp has begun, he has stepped on the field, so let’s look at that aspect of Kinley.
Kinley can be a nice fit in this defense as he is a big, physical corner at 6-feet-2 inches and 204 pounds, which is great size for an NFL corner. In his four-year college career at Navy, Kinley intercepted one pass and broke up six. He also added on 88 tackles (3.5 for a loss) and a sack. Those aren’t exactly eye-popping stats, but with cornerbacks sometimes quiet stats speak the loudest. They usually have to do with not being targeted as much, as was the case with Kinley.
The cornerback position is an interesting group for the Buccaneers. They are a solid, deep group, but don’t possess what one would call a real “star”. Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are a solid duo, albeit with strong safety help and MASSIVE front-seven help. Davis did have four interceptions which lead the team in 2020 though, with Murphy-Bunting adding one of his own. Jamel Dean provides solid depth as does Ross Cockrell who also provides a veteran presence in the cornerback room.
Undrafted free agents are always longshots to make the roster, but one or two will surprise and make the final roster, or at the very least the practice squad. This is a Super Bowl championship roster with all 22 starters and some change returning, so Kinley has his work cut out for him. Luckily, he is cut from the cloth that is prepared for the work. Of all the undrafted free agents for the Bucs, he is the one to watch the closest.