Bucs cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah has gained a reputation as one of the most competitive players on defense.
Bucs CBs Alterraun Verner & Jude Adjei-Barimah – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
He fought his way onto the practice squad after going undrafted out of Bowling Green in 2015 and eventually earned a starting job by Week 9, replacing Johnthan Banks. In seven consecutive starts Adjei-Barimah recorded 33 tackles, and while he may lack elite skills in coverage, he showed promise as a physical defender. Which is why Mike Smith’s system is a great match.
As Alterraun Verner told Scott Reynolds, written in the Fab 5 Friday, Adjei-Barimah is adapting well in a more aggressive scheme and making Vernon Hargreaves, the Bucs first-round pick, earn his reps at nickel corner in training camp. Hargreaves is expected to break into the starting lineup, to be sure, but not without fierce competition from a player who is more comfortable and confident heading into his second season.
Adjei-Barimah, staying humble and praising his fellow cornerbacks, is approaching this training camp with the same mentality as last year: showing he belongs on the roster.
“Right now I’m just trying to carve out a role for myself wherever I’m needed,” he said.
Understanding the makeup of the secondary this year – two high-profile additions and two returning veterans – Adjei-Barimah is even looking to “carve out a role” on special teams, in addition to a rotating role at nickel corner. Competition is strong, he said, and Smith is giving everyone an equal opportunity to make an impression.
“We can do a lot of things, and I feel like that’s what coach Smith wants to do,” Adjei-Barimah said. “Right now he’s giving everyone a chance to get acclimated, come out here and compete. As players, that’s the most we can ask for.
“I’m a lot more comfortable just because I had the opportunity to go through the offseason program. I was able to come in with the vets in April and go through OTAs and minicamp and stuff like that. Just the chemistry I got with the guys, the familiarity I got from coming out here, just the day-in and day-out process of being a pro – I think I’m a lot more comfortable coming into this year.”
He didn’t forget to mention his supporting cast, either.
“(Verner and Banks) are veterans – they know what to bring to the table,” Adjei-Barimah said. “They know how to come into camp, how to prepare and how to play,” and Hargreaves and Grimes are “both great talents, great additions to the group. Like I said, our group is very talented and I think we’ll be pretty good. Lot of confidence.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he’s handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
I can’t help but feel our corners and coverage will be so much better this year. Just a big upgrade in talent, competition and coaching.
I just hope I am not being overly optimistic and setting myself up for another disappointment.
Didn’t Jude play some safety in College? I seem to remember that he did. I wonder if that’s true they would consider moving him into one of the safety positions? At this point, even if he doesn’t have safety experience – cross-training him there might pay off big this time next year.
Thanks Zach; good to know we have some keepers. Go Bucs!
I hope we see aome analysis of Adjei-Barimah’s coverage skills and how they compare to his competition’s. Most interviews of athletes will have copy and paste answers to stock questions. “I work hard every day. I want to do what coach says we can do. I hope to be part of this great organization’s future. Blah, blah, blah.” I would really like to know how well he covers and/or guns, though, based on his tape. What is he good at precisely? What holds him back? What other corner, in Bucs history or elsewhere, does he resemble. How so?
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