The Bucs struck it wealthy within the second-round of the 2020 draft after they chosen Antoine Winfield, Jr. The previous Minnesota Gopher was a starter from day one. He performed an instrumental function in serving to Tampa Bay win Tremendous Bowl LV.
In his rookie season, he began all 16 video games, racking up 94 tackles, three sacks, six passes defended, two compelled fumbles, a fumble restoration and an interception. He adopted it up with a Professional Bowl season final yr that included 88 tackles, two sacks, six passes defended, two interceptions, two compelled fumbles and three fumble recoveries – all whereas lacking three video games.
But Bucs safeties coach Nick Rapone stated Tuesday that he thinks Winfield is able to way more, and challenged the third-year professional to intercept extra passes this season.
“I believe Antoine simply will get higher and higher. That’s the kind of child he’s due to his father and his background. He’s only a blue-collar man,” Rapone stated. “The one factor with Winfield the place I challenged him this yr is – run-support sensible, you’re lovely – and also you’re lovely in plenty of areas.
“Let’s begin getting six and 7 interceptions a yr. Let’s make that the subsequent step the place you’re going to get six or seven interceptions. The true good gamers and one of the best gamers like to get challenged. So, that’s the problem this yr – let’s get six and 7 interceptions. We all know you’ll be able to blitz, we all know you’ll be able to deal with. We all know you’ll be able to cross defend – let’s get the soccer just a little extra.”
An Ascending Expertise
Winfield made the Professional Bowl final season and the arrow is simply pointing up for him. It shouldn’t be lengthy till he’s considered among the best free safeties within the league if he isn’t already. He’s not solely carried out nicely within the common season, however has proven up when it counts within the playoffs as nicely. In 5 postseason video games, he’s totaled 32 tackles, three tackles for loss, two compelled fumbles and two passes defended. He’s added a sack, an interception and a fumble restoration as nicely.
If Winfield can reply Rapone’s problem, he’ll take his sport to a different stage.