When the Buccaneers selected Jamel Dean in the second round of the 2019 draft, there was a lot of optimism around the selection. Dean was very inconsistent in his rookie campaign, a trend that would continue throughout his career. Fast forward to 2022 and he is playing the best football of his career and some could argue he has been the Bucs best corner this season.
The Bucs were patient with Dean’s development, and it finally seems to be paying off.
Dean was really good against the Cowboys in week one, having four tackles and a couple of pass breakups, but the real test would be the following week in New Orleans against a new look Saints offense.
Dean passed the test in a big way with two interceptions on the day, including an incredible grab on a well-covered deep ball. At the time of Dean’s first interception, the game was tied at three and the Saints offense was around mid field. The takeaway by Dean then led to the Bucs first touchdown of the day to take the lead. Just 56 seconds after that touchdown, Dean picked off Jameis Winston again for his second of the day. His second pick also led to points as the Bucs kicked a field goal to make it a two score game.
The fourth-year corner has been fantastic for the Bucs thus far and after winning the second string cornerback job in camp, he has not looked back. His development is important for the Bucs defense as they could not just have one productive corner in Carlton Davis. Dean makes Todd Bowles’ life a whole lot easier.
The Bucs could have easily given up on the Dean experiment at any point over the past few seasons and looked for a veteran to replace him with, but they looked past his inconsistences and hoped that he could put it all together.
Obviously since consistency has been an issue for Dean, he will have to keep up his strong play but through two games on some pretty big stages, Dean has made the Bucs look very smart for sticking with him. As he continues to progress in his fourth year, each game it is looking more and more like the Buccaneers were right with their decision to be patient with the young corner.