On November 11, 2001, Tom Brady threw the fifth interception of his NFL career, in a Week 9 game against Buffalo. The defensive back who grabbed the pick: 24-year-old Antoine Winfield, who would go on to be a three-time Pro Bowl defensive back.
On Friday, Winfield’s son, Antoine Winfield Jr. became Brady’s newest teammate, selected by Tampa Bay in the 2nd round of the draft with the 45th overall pick. That’s the kind of coincidence that could only happen to a guy like Brady, still kicking at quarterback at age 42–the same age as Antoine Sr. Call it full circle, or something like that.
The pick came as a bit of a surprise as the Buccaneers had some other obvious deficiencies to address. They are in need of help at running back and J.K. Dobbins of Ohio State was still on the board.
The Bucs were tempted into adding help in the defensive backfield, though, which was a strength of this draft. There were no true safeties chosen in the first round, which left a player like Winfield, who might have been a 1st-rounder in other drafts, still available.
The Bucs’ talent in the secondary is good but the health has been poor. Only one defensive back played all16 games last year, Sean Murphy-Bunting. They’ve consistently added players in the defensive backfield in the draft but with mixed results. Last year, the Bucs ranked 30th in the NFL in passing yards allowed, at 270.1 per game.
Former second-round pick Justin Evans has undergone foot and Achilles tendon surgeries and is a question mark going forward after missing all of 2019. Jordan Whitehead and Mike Edwards have potential and played well last year, but each missed games with injuries last year, too. Undrafted free agent D’Cota Dixon made an impression, too, but wound up missing the year because of injury.
There’s some sense that the Bucs could have helped themselves in other spots. But they clearly are worried about how their depth in the defensive backfield will hold up.
Scouting Antoine Winfield Jr.
Here’s is how NFL.com’s scouting report of Winfield shaped up:
Winfield isn’t as tall or as long as teams like and he’s an average athlete, but he’s an interchangeable safety who can flat out play. Winfield is stout and strong with above average body control and balance. He can bang on tight ends in coverage and support the run near the box. His angles to the ball are efficient against the run or pass. He’s very instinctive and sees plays unfold, but doesn’t have ballhawking twitch to challenge a high number of throws. His tackle net isn’t as wide in the open field, so he must tackle with excellent fundamentals. Winfield isn’t a star but he’s a quality building block with the toughness and intelligence to help fortify the back end.
Bucs’ Current Draft Board
Here is a 2020 NFL draft pick-by-pick breakdown for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Round 1 — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa. (No. 13 overall, from Colts through 49ers)
Round 2 (45)
Round 3 (76)
Round 5 (161)
Round 6 (194)
Round 7 (241, from Seahawks through Patriots)