The Buccaneers have a sleeping giant on defense
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers may have a new starter step up on defense.
The Buccaneers already had one of the best defensive units in the NFL last season, and it looks like the recent trends of improvements under Todd Bowles will continue well into the future.
The new-look Bowles defense has dramatically changed the landscape of the Buccaneer defense, and new players are put in positions to find great success under one of the best defensive minds in the game.
Bowles started out his time in Tampa by adding several extremely talented defensive players through the draft, and that group has proven to be a backbone behind many of the recent changes.
Devin White needs no explanation. Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean have helped close the gap between the Buccaneer secondary and a large portion of the rest of the NFL. And now we make it to Mike Edwards.
Edwards was the best player most people didn’t know last season. NFL stat watchers that never bothered to turn on a Buccaneer game may have thought that Edwards was the full-time starter as he garnered legitimate All-Pro attention from the media, but Edwards was rarely on the field for more than a quarter of the defensive snaps.
If you multiply Edwards’ snaps out over a season, he was one of the most productive defensive backs in league history, and he has likely earned a starting spot for 2021.
Jordan Whitehead is an excellent safety, but Edwards has magnets in his hands. Whether it is in practice or in games, Edwards finds his way to the ball, and the emphasis on turnovers makes Edwards an obvious choice to start alongside Antoine Winfield Jr.
Mike Edwards is one of the best coverage players on the team and has played like one of the two best safeties for over a year now. The Bucs may want to show loyalty to Whitehead, who is again an excellent safety, but the recent injury to Whitehead and Edwards getting more reps could be just the push the third-year safety needs to move into the starting lineup permanently.
If Edwards does get to start for most of the season, the All-Pro attention is sure to follow again in 2021.
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