For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the front seven get all of the love when it comes to their defense. In 2021, the Buccaneers secondary should make more of a name for themselves around the NFL.
In Super Bowl LV, the defense of the Bucs put on a show for the entire world, basically ruining the life of Patrick Mahomes, if only for that night. Mahomes was running for his life all evening, thanks to the smothering pressure being brought by the Buccaneers front seven. The secondary had themselves a nice game as well, with then-rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. getting an interception. What Winfield also did, was taunt Tyreek Hill in an image that will live on in Super Bowl, and Buccaneers history for years to come.
It was the most attention the Bucs secondary had gotten up until that point, and when the 2021 season is here, they should be getting a lot more.
Make no mistake about it, this group may not have the “big names” but they have big talent. At cornerback, Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are a solid duo. Davis had four interceptions which lead the team in 2020, with Murphy-Bunting adding one of his own. Jamel Dean provides solid depth as a nickel corner, adding an interception in 2020 as well. Ross Cockrell provides a veteran presence in the cornerback room as well as necessary depth. Elsewhere, the Bucs drafted cornerback Chris Wilcox in the seventh round, and undrafted free agent Cameron Kinley has impressed thus far, and may even have a shot at making the roster.
At safety, the aforementioned Winfield and Jordan Whitehead are as solid of a one-two punch in the backend of a defense as they come. At 22 and 23 years old respectively, they both had almost identical stats in 2020. Winfield, a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, recorded three sacks, one interception, and recovered a fumble, while Whitehead had two sacks, two picks, and a fumble recovery. If this tandem can keep up their production, and keep their trajectory going up, then they just may find themselves at the top of the NFL when it comes to safety duos.
At the end of the day, the Buccaneers defense is one of, if not the top unit in the league. Many have chalked this up to the font-seven, but don’t kid yourselves, the secondary has just as much to do with the success, and in 2021, the world will know it.