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Leonard Johnson prepped to start at slot cornerback once again

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers think the slot cornerback is very important. So important that they separate it from the other cornerbacks, training specific players only to play in the slot -- the position that made Ronde Barber famous. It was kind of ironic, then, that that position was easily the weak point for the Bucs last year, with Leonard Johnson being a liability all season long.

The Bucs supposedly addressed this position by signing Sterling Moore, who had a quality season with the Dallas Cowboys last year, but it looks like he's being groomed at outside cornerback instead.

Moore was a quality player for the Cowboys last year, but his prospects for playing time at outside cornerback aren't great. Alterraun Verner is basically guaranteed a starting spot, while Johnthan Banks played very well at the end of last season and deserves to be on the other side. Moore might be able to beat out Banks,

Because the Bucs separate the slot and outside cornerbacks into different position groups, moving Moore inside at a later date could be problematic -- he'll basically have to learn a new position in significantly less time. In addition, several reports at the time of signing claimed that Moore would get a shot as the outside cornerback -- and he's certainly getting that right now.

Instead, it looks like the Bucs are going to be stuck with Leonard Johnson at slot cornerback, or potentially Isaiah Frey. That's not a particularly appetizing prospect, given that Johnson has struggled ever since he entered the NFL (barring the occasional splash play) and Frey is largely an unknown. Johnson was repeatedly the weak point in the defense last year, before the Bucs re-signed him for some unknowable reason. Frey got very limited playing time but did look a little better than Johnson, at least.

But the Bucs now have four quality outside cornerbacks in Verner, Banks, Moore and Mike Jenkins. That depth isn't going to do much for them if they can't get the slot cornerback to actually play well, though.