BUCS’ PRE-DRAFT VISITS & WORKOUTS: CBs
The Buccaneers have added some depth and competition to the cornerback position this offseason and will likely continue that trend in the draft. With Mike Jenkins re-signed to bolster the cornerback position, which is led by Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks, Tampa Bay could turn to improving the talent at the nickel cornerback spot in the draft.
The Bucs only had one interception last year from the nickel cornerback spot, which was handled by Leonard Johnson and Isaiah Frey. Tampa Bay signed veteran free agent Sterling Moore to compete for the starting job, but all three nickel corners are only signed for the 2015 season.
The Bucs have been scouting nickel cornerbacks during the offseason, including Texas’ Quandray Diggs and Oregon State’s Steven Nelson at the Senior Bowl and Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Here is a list of nickel cornerbacks the team has scouted in either visits to One Buc Place or personal workouts at the players’ respective schools.
TCU CB Kevin White
The Bucs met with White at the Senior Bowl and then visited with him at One Buc Place. He’s a willing tackler in run support and had six career interceptions while matching up against some of the Big 12’s top receivers like West Virginia Kevin White and Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett. The shifty White is considered to be a third-round pick.
Florida State CB Ronald Darby
The Bucs have met with Darby, a junior entry, who produced two interceptions and two forced fumbles in his three years at Florida State, but did not record a pick last year. Darby isn’t as fast or as athletic as fellow Seminoles cornerback P.J. Williams, but he’s tough in run support and good against slot receivers. He’s regarded as a fourth-round draft pick.
Kansas CB JaCorey Shepherd
The Bucs worked out Shepherd in late March at KU on the same day the team worked out linebacker Ben Heeney. Shepherd is more quick than fast, which is why he’s better suited inside in the pros. He’s had 28 pass breakups and five interceptions in the past two years, and is viewed as a fourth- or fifth-round selection.
Rice CB Bryce Callahan
Callahan is always around the ball, evidenced by his 33 pass breakups and 13 interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. The Bucs were scouting him hard at the East-West Shrine practices and have met with the Day 3 prospect, who will likely be drafted in the fifth or sixth rounds.
Memphis CB Bobby McCain
McCain has 12 career interceptions, including three he returned for touchdowns, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. He had a great week at the East-West Shrine Game and met with the Bucs, in addition to Tampa Bay visiting with him at One Buccaneer Place. McCain, who also has experience as a kick returner, is viewed as a sixth- or seventh-round pick.
Ball State CB Eric Patterson
The Bucs worked out Patterson, who hails from Tampa, with some other local prospects on Friday. He’s overcoming a broken arm that caused him to miss the last three games of the season. Patterson is a hard-hitting corner in run support, but also had six career interceptions at Ball State. He’s likely a seventh-round draft candidate or an undrafted free agent.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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