Two-and-a-half seasons into his career, the jury is still out on Bucs CB Jamel Dean. There have been struggles, but when Dean is at his best, he looks like a quality starting cornerback in the NFL. That was the case on Sunday against Miami, as Dean recorded five tackles, broke up two passes and snagged an interception. With Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting on injured reserve, the Bucs desperately need Dean to step up.
In the fourth quarter, that’s exactly what Dean did. With the Bucs holding a 38-17 lead, Dean snatched a Jacoby Brissett pass after it bounced off wide receiver Jaylen Waddle’s hands. The turnover set up the Bucs final touchdown of the game. Two weeks ago, Dean was in a similar spot against the Rams, but dropped the interception.
“It’s a great feeling knowing I can make up for that easy interception I dropped in Week 3,” Dean said. “I set goals for myself. I said I was going try to get five [interceptions] this year. So now I can just say that’s one out of five I got so far.”
Dean’s big play was his first interception since his game-changing pick-6 of Aaron Rodgers in Week 6 of the 2020 season. The third-year corner is now up to four career interceptions, after recording two as a rookie. Considering the injuries to Davis and Murphy-Bunting, Dean will likely play every snap until one or both of them are back. That means plenty of opportunities to reach his goal of five interceptions. And the Auburn product believes that playing alongside veteran Richard Sherman will help him get there.
“Watching Richard Sherman, I’ve always looked up to him as a kid and I always tried to mimic my game after him,” Dean said. “Now, being able to watch him live, it’s helping a lot because I am more of a visual learner. It’s good having vets that can give us tips and pointers on what to expect and how to watch film. It’s just showing us the ways. We didn’t have that going into our rookie year. So, now that we’re getting it, we have something to build from.”
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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