The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have selected Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. with their second round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Winfield will have a good shot to come right in and have starting role on the Bucs defense, providing versatility and skills that they have been lacking.
With uncertainty if Justin Evans can return from a toe and foot injury, the Bucs need a playmaker. Safety was the weakest part of the Bucs defense going into the draft, and Winfield upgrades that here in the second round.
Winfield comes from a football family as his father, Antoine Winfield, Sr., played 14 seasons for the Bills and Vikings. Winfield had a strong start to his football career as a freshman recording 52 tackles and a pick-six, but consecutive season-ending foot injuries in 2017 and 2018 cost him to miss all but eight games over two seasons. Winfield ended up medically red-shirting those two years, but came back in 2019 with a bang. Winfield wound up with 83 tackles, 3.5 sacks, seven interceptions and defensive touchdown and two forced fumbles in a very good senior year. He was a finalist for the Bronco Nagurski award for the best defensive player in college. Winfield has terrific instincts on the football field and gives out punishing hits. He’s got a nice combo of a high football I.Q. and good physical traits.
PewterReport’s very own draft expert Jon Ledyard had a full scouting report on the newest Bucs player.
“The biggest concerns with Winfield are his size and his past injury history, which caused him to take two medical redshirt seasons. He played at a high level in college despite the first concern, and the second is something I can’t speak to from my vantage point.
“What I can speak to is Winfield’s play-making ability and processing speed on the back end, rarely getting caught out of position and playing with excellent route diagnostic ability in deep coverage. The speedy safety will run and hit in run defense too, never hesitating to fly downhill, sift through trash and get into the mess around the box or out on the perimeter.
“Winfield lacks elite range (still has very good range) and has a hitch coming out of his pedal to close top-down on the football, which may cause some teams to slide him into the slot. His reps there were impressive, but limited this past season, as Minnesota predominantly played him deep or in the box. I think he can be one of the more versatile safeties in this class, not indifferent from Tyrann Mathieu in that way, but Winfield may also have some slight limitations that could keep him from reaching the same level of elite impact as the Honey Badger year-to-year.”
Watch Winfield Jr.’s Minnesota highlight video below.
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