Thanks to the 2020 playoffs and Super Bowl LV, we already knew that the defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was elite. What we didn’t know about the Buccaneers unit, was just how much Carlton Davis would improve going into 2021.
This is not saying Carlton Davis is an average or even below average cornerback. Davis is as solid cornerback as you’ll find in the NFL. At 6 feet-1 inch and 206 pounds, Davis is also the ideal size for an NFL cornerback. He used that ideal size to have his best year if his career in 2020.
During the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl championship run, Davis lead the Bucs with four interceptions, whereas the next closest were Jordan Whitehead, Mike Edwards, and shockingly Jason Pierre-Paul all tied with two. Davis also added 68 tackles with three of them coming for loss, which is truly a great season for a corner. Despite being snubbed, David was also one of the leading fan vote-getters of his position for the Pro Bowl.
Oftentimes, the corners with the quietest stats speak the loudest since it’s usually a result of them not being targeted. Both are true in the case of Davis. However, some thought that may be the ceiling for him.
However, with the defense around him maturing before our very eyes, now with a full offseason coming off of the Super Bowl, Davis may emerge as a true shutdown corner in this league. He also may be the defender maturing the most from last season to this.
Lavonte David was quoted as saying that Davis has emerged as a leader of the defense, and is emerging as a top cornerback in the league. Coming from the undisputed leader of the defense, and top linebacker in the league, that’s high praise.
Bruce Arians also said that Davis reminds him of a cornerback that he spent time with whilst an assistant coach with the Kansas City Chiefs, and one of the best he said he’s ever been around, Albert Lewis. For those who don’t know, or care, about history, or have heard of Lewis but simply can’t rattle off historical player profiles at the drop of a hat (not-so humble brag), the 6-feet 2-inch and 196 pound Lewis was a four-time consecutive Pro Bowler from 1987-1990 and two-time All-Pro in 1989 and 1990. He was also one of the greatest punt-blockers of all time, but we doubt that’s in Davis’ future. Once again though, high praise.
Now, obviously it’s early. That doesn’t mean that the praise Carlton Davis has been getting thus far isn’t cause for excitement. Buckle up Bucs fans, there is yet another star emerging on this defense.