With Tom Brady retiring from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it looks like the 2022 version of the team will need to rely on the defense more than they have in the past two seasons.
That being said, the futures are up in the air for players like William Gholston, Carlton Davis III, Jordan Whitehead, Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul, and others.
Could the Bucs find reinforcements in this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl class? Sure they could. And here are three guys I like, coming out of Mobile, Alabama.
3. DEFENSIVE LINEMAN, PERRION WINFREY (OKLAHOMA)
Winfrey projects to the NFL best playing the 3-technique in a 4-3 defense. This poses a problem for Tampa to draft him because its base defense is a 3-4.
However, Winfrey does some things Todd Bowles could certainly accentuate in his defense, and with some more weight, his skill set could work well in a versatile line when looking to matchup against specific offensive fronts.
2. OUTSIDE LINEBACKER, JERMAINE JOHNSON (FLORIDA STATE)
If you like versatility in the front-seven then you like this Seminoles prospect who has proven he can play standing up, with his hand in the dirt, against the run and rushing the passer.
Johnson can do a little bit of it all, and given the class he’s in, could actually be available within striking distance of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.
Is last year’s first-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka ready to start? Sure likes like he probably is.
But is he ready to carry the workload of a veteran outside linebacker? Perhaps not. Which opens the door to taking the best player available. If Johson is there, it’ll be hard to find another player with as much upside that late on Day 1.
1. CORNERBACK, COBY BRYANT (CINCINNATI)
Bryant is just one of several Bearcats preparing to make the leap to the NFL.
Not as polished or pro-ready as Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Bryant still brings his own set of skills to help any NFL defense.
He’s experienced in zone coverage and showed fight and ability in man situations at the Senior Bowl, getting better every day.
In fact, he made such an impact on the field in Mobile he was voted as the best defensive back of the week.
Regardless of what happens with Davis, the Buccaneers would be smart to invest in the secondary this draft season, and Bryant is among the best options coming out of the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl.