Buccaneers have new starter that will make waves in 2022

Mike Edwards, Antoine Winfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Edwards, Antoine Winfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buccaneers lost Jordan Whitehead to free agency and didn’t draft a replacement, but there is no need to worry with Mike Edwards on the roster.

2022 looks like it is going to be the year of Mike Edwards on the Buccaneers. The backup safety for the last three years has been relegated to a depth role for most of his career, but his skillset and the opportunities created this offseason should make for an exciting year for Edwards with a greater share of the reps.

The Bucs should be moving Edwards into the starting spot after losing Jordan Whitehead in free agency.

Why the Bucs didn’t even offer Whitehead after he proved himself to be one of the best defenders on the roster last season remains a mystery, but Edwards does make a case for getting his own reps.

Whitehead was a full-time starter for most of the season, playing 88% of the defensive snaps available to him as the counterpart to Antoine Winfield Jr., while Mike Edwards was only on the field for 58% of the total defensive reps that he was available for.

The Bucs just lost one of the best box safeties in the NFL last season, and while free agent newcomer Keanu Neal should get some of those snaps that Whitehead had there, Mike Edwards should absolutely see he share of the reps go up.

This is great news for Tampa. Edwards is one of the best players on the team against the pass. Whitehead was better in this area than some people think, but Edwards had an uncanny ability of being where the ball was in huge moments during his limited usage.

With five picks and 12 passes defended during the past two seasons on a substantial restriction, one has to think that the Bucs are going to have an extremely productive new starter on their hands when they finally let Edwards off the leash.

NFL offenses have been pass-focused for years now. Box safeties that are great against the run will always have a place in the league, but guys like Edwards are going to become the norm as teams throw more and more at shutting down the run as quickly as possible.

The Buccaneers need ball-hawks in their secondary after what we saw from the defense last year. Mike Edwards is going to bring that and stands to get some decent recognition from the league if he keeps playing at his current level over a larger sample size.

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