Antoine Winfield, Jr. gained a Tremendous Bowl in his rookie season with the Bucs in 2020. In his second season, he made the Professional Bowl as a security.
Now, Winfield could – or could not – be transferring to nickel cornerback. Winfield spent a great deal of time within the slot protecting slot receivers through the first week of coaching camp whereas safeties Logan Ryan and Mike Edwards had been additionally on the sector. However Winfield additionally noticed time at free security and got here away with an interception on Tom Brady.
Head coach and defensive play-caller Todd Bowles likes his defensive backs to have versatility. In 12 months three, Winfield appears to be extra versatile than ever with a heavy dose of nickel cornerback reps to start out camp.
“It’s a unique transition, a unique really feel, however I’m loving it,” Winfield instructed Pewter Report. “That’s the place the motion is, and I similar to being wherever the motion’s at.”
It’s too quickly to inform if Winfield’s transfer to fit cornerback is everlasting, or if Bowles simply desires to make use of camp to experiment and see how Winfield fares inside. Winfield has performed some within the slot earlier than. He has 5 profession sacks in two years which have come from the slot. The Bucs seem to love Winfield’s physicality inside. Each he and fellow beginning security Mike Edwards have seen motion within the slot in video games earlier than.
Winfield did get beat within the slot by Rams receiver Cooper Kupp for a 44-yard bomb that arrange L.A.’s game-winning kick within the playoffs final 12 months. However within the 2020 playoffs, Winfield pressured a key fumble when protecting Saints tight finish Jared Prepare dinner within the slot.
Sean Murphy-Bunting was the staff’s nickel cornerback for many of final 12 months when he was on the sector, and for a lot of the 2020 season. But, he has lined up solely outdoors at proper cornerback, the place he has began forward of Jamel Dean through the first week of camp this 12 months.
Is Murphy-Bunting forward of Dean on the depth chart? Or do the coaches simply wish to see how Murphy-Bunting fares with the starters on the surface?
It is going to be attention-grabbing to see if Murphy-Bunting’s change to outdoors cornerback is everlasting or if he’ll get one other look inside again within the slot. Time will inform as camp rolls on.
Final season, Dean beat out Murphy-Bunting for the beginning position in base protection. That relegated Murphy-Bunting inside at any time when he took the sector. Each Dean and Murphy-Bunting are coming into contract years in 2022.
Winfield is 2 years away from a brand new contract – and a giant pay day, particularly as a result of he’s as versatile as ever.
– J.C. Allen contributed to this report