There aren’t a ton of defensive backs being tied to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in this year’s NFL Draft, but it doesn’t mean the group will be off the team’s draft boards come April.
Youth is not an issue in the secondary for Tampa Bay these days, it’s experience the team is lacking.
With this in mind, most of us here at Bucs Nation agree it would be wiser for the team to pursue an affordable yet capable veteran in free-agency over spending high draft capital on prospects such as these.
Still, we don’t know how things will pan out, so let’s take a look at five defensive backs who stood out at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
NASIR ADDERLEY (DELAWARE)
KEY COMBINE STAT: NONE
Takeaways are going to be big for the Buccaneers defense in 2019, and despite the fact Nasir Adderley couldn’t workout in Indianapolis, he’ll remain one of the top safeties in this year’s class.
Dealing with a high-ankles sprain kept him from performing in drills, but it won’t keep him out of the day one conversations around the draft world.
If the Bucs trade out of the fifth spot, Adderley could become a person of interest depending on how far back the team trades back. Right now, Adderley is expected to go somewhere between 15-25 when the draft gets started.
HAMP CHEEVERS (BOSTON COLLEGE)
KEY COMBINE STAT: 6.96 SECOND THREE-CONE DRILL
Is Vernon Hargreaves III going to play inside or on the perimeter in 2019? I have no idea, do you?
I’d play him against the slot. What is Todd Bowles going to do? Well, if you have the answer please share with the rest of us.
Until then, let’s pretend the team doesn’t need a nickel, but may draft one late for depth. Enter Hamp Cheevers from Boston College who projects at the NFL level as a nickel with solid change of direction, enough speed to keep up, and production in college.
Takeaways are key. And as a late round guy, Cheevers could play a role on the 2019 team while developing into a guy who could become a regular contributor on the defense and has the ability to get his hands on the ball.
If he’s drafted by Tampa Bay, most are going to have to google him. Now, you can say you knew who he was before they hit google on draft day.
AMANI ORUWARIYE (PENN STATE)
KEY COMBINE STAT: *4.47 40-YARD DASH
This Penn State prospect is a guy who’s name has been floating around here and there among Bucs fans. And his name should gather more steam after the NFL Scouting Combine.
The problem is, it might gather enough steam to take him squarely out of reach for the Bucs.
However, if he’s still somehow waiting to hear his name called on day two, he’ll be one of the guys to watch as the clock ticks closer to Licht’s time to draft another player.
I’ve gone on record saying I feel like the best move for Tampa Bay would be to sign a veteran corner, but if they do look in the draft, this is one guy I’d be all for them selecting if given the chance.
GREEDY WILLIAMS (LSU)
KEY COMBINE STAT: *4.37 40-YARD DASH
I’m not on the Greedy Williams train, but some are, so let’s include him here. One thing is undeniable; the dude is fast.
He’s got all the athletic ability to be a solid cover guy. But looking at his time with LSU and he gives up too much separation and has too many situations where he just doesn’t seem to put in effort enough to warrant a day one investment.
And then there’s the question about whether or not he can play and win physically against receivers like Julio Jones or Michael Thomas in the NFC South.
I don’t imagine there’s anything left in this year’s draft process which could push me off my perch, but I know some of you love him, so by all means let me know what I’m missing.
ROCK YA-SIN (TEMPLE)
KEY COMBINE STAT: 39.5” VERTICAL
Where I’m not in on the Greedy hype, I’m all-in on Rock Ya-Sin. The Temple product by way of Presbyterian College has had a very short life in football thus far, and has made amazing strides already.
Speaking at the combine on Sunday, he filled reporters in on how he was a wrestler before playing football, and only started football in his junior year of high school. He followed those two years up with three at Presbyterian, and his final year at Temple.
At Temple, there’s a tradition. The only people who can award a Temple Owls football player a single-digit number are the players. They vote on the toughest members of their team, and if enough votes are gathered, the player gets a single-digit number.
Ya-Sin wore a single-digit number. In his only year on the team. Think about that for a minute. Imagine the respect he had to earn among his teammates as a one-year transfer joining a roster full of guys who had been together for years, most of them.
Entering draft season, Ya-Sin was a day three prospect with potential. Now, he’s NFL.com’s sixth-best cornerback in the class grading ahead of guys like Amani Oruwariye and Michigan’s David Long.
This doesn’t mean he’ll be the sixth cornerback off the board, but he and Oruwariye are on my list of day two targets for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this April.