Todd Bowles identifies how Buccaneeers will replace Carlton Davis III

It seems the Buccaneers already have a plan to replace Carlton Davis III.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

It's been a relatively quiet free agency for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have opted to re-sign their own top players rather than dive into the open market.

The Bucs have made two external moves since the start of the legal tampering period, with one of them being in the vein of bringing players back. Jordan Whitehead, who spent the first five years of his career in Tampa Bay, was signed on Wednesday to a two-year deal. He'll rejoin a defense that he helped win a Super Bowl with but there will be Gravedigger who won't be here when he arrives.

Carlton Davis III was traded on Monday in the first big move of the Bucs' offseason. He was shipped off to Detroit and the move vacated a top spot in Todd Bowles' defense. Davis was a starter, and a really good one when he was playing up to the level he's capable of, and now the team needs to find a way to replace him.

It sounds like that was something already in the works when the deal was made.

Todd Bowles already knows how Buccaneers will replace Carlton Davis III

Bowles spoke with the media after Baker Mayfield's re-introduction press conference and identified who he sees replacing Carlton Davis. It won't be an outside addition, although that could still happen, rather it's an internal candidate he's looking at.

“I said it all last year, Zyon [McCollum] was like a third starter for us. He played most of the year anyway whether it was the left side or the right side," Bowles said. “He played some really good football last year and he has an opportunity now to secure himself as a starter on this team and play some good ball.”

McCollum took some big steps forward early last year in standing out as someone who could play an important role on defense. After a solid preseason campaign he worked his way into the mix at nickle and now seems to be in line to be the guy who replaces Davis.

Those are big shoes to fill, even if Davis had a down year last season. When he was on his game, Davis was the top cornerback on the roster and one of the best in the league. It sounds like McCollum will get first crack at filling the role but the Bucs still need to find ways to address depth before the season rolls around.

It seems likely that one of the four Top 100 picks the team has will be used on a young cornerback to replenish the roster, but there are still some intriguing free agents who could be brought in to help things along. Kendall Fuller is the top available corner, although he'll be pricey, while Stephon Gilmore might be a decent veteran addition.

McCollum has earned his shot at a starting role, and it sounds like the Bucs are going to give him a fair shake to win it.

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