Everybody (just about) thought it would be a running back the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would target early on day two of the NFL Draft. But with the 45th pick in this year’s proceedings, the team selected Minnesota safety, Antoine Winfield Jr.
As the son of an NFL player he’ll have a good mentor behind him while seeing the fan displeasure stemming from the team passing on running back to take the safety. Of course, all of those feelings can be erased with a solid rookie campaign and some winning football from Tampa Bay.
Versatility is the key to Winfield’s game, and it’s something he sees Todd Bowles exploiting, “I can play pretty much anywhere. My versatility is my biggest asset and I feel like Tampa Bay is going to use me well that way.”
No one draft story is the same, and Winfield is no different. several injuries threatened to derail his career before it got started, but a strong final season eventually helped catapult him near day one speculation.
Like many draft selections, he and his family - who were celebrating elsewhere in the house while Winfield was on with media - are celebrating the moment and looking forward to the next step.
“I’m just ready to be that additional piece to hopefully win a Super Bowl this year,” Winfield said.
Bucs fans who were hoping to see a running back taken at this spot, will be hoping Winfield becomes a key piece to those efforts as well. The defensive back with free-safety and nickel potential is certainly cut from the right cloth, and fits the mold of what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have eyed for their secondary since the arrival of head coach Bruce Arians.