We’ve heard it over the last few years from former Bucs head coach Bruce Arians that Carlton Davis III is a Top 10 corner in the league. As recently as this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, Arians and general manager Jason Licht doubled down on that statement.

Then the Bucs paid him like one. Davis received a three-year, $44.5 million contract with $30 million guaranteed in free agency.

For a moment, Davis was the ninth-highest paid cornerback in the league. That was before extensions were given to other corners around the league. Now Davis is just outside the Top 10 in terms of contract status.

One former top NFL cornerback thinks that’s more indicative of where he belongs. On a Twitter Live Spaces room, former NFL corner Antonio Cromartie said he doesn’t think Davis is a Top 10 corner in the league currently.

“Carlton Davis was hurt with the Bucs for a little bit, so I can’t put him in the Top 10,” said Cromartie, who was a four-time Pro Bowler with three different teams. “There’s a lot of guys that’s in the Top 10 that’s better than him. I don’t think he was a Top 10 corner and his market showed that also.”

Room For Improvement

Bucs CB Carlton Davis III

Bucs CB Carlton Davis III – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

It’s not that Cromartie doesn’t like Davis as one of the top players at the position. He just thinks he needs to stay healthy and be more consistent in his play. He points out the coaching staff the Bucs have in place. Specifically two coaches he’s played under in his career as leaders who can help him take his game to the next level.

“Do I like him? Yes” said Cromartie. ” Do I think he could be better? Yes. I think he’s got a great coach over there in coach Kevin Ross and coach Todd Bowles. Two guys who I’ve been around for most of my career. If he can understand the game and take the game a little more seriously and make it a little bit easier on himself, because he’s not a fast guy. He’s a guy that depends on getting his hands on guys and playing off. He has to do a better job at that, or he won’t be there for much longer. Because it’s all about what you can do for me now not what you can do for me later.”

If Davis can stay healthy this season and make more plays on the ball he could easily take his game to a new level. Already a lock-down caliber player, his 48 forced incompletions is the most by any player since 2019. Where Davis has struggled is coming up with interceptions.

After not recording a pick in his first 21 games, Davis finally came away with his first INT during the 2019 season. He then added four more in 2020 while helping the Bucs win Super Bowl LV that year. Davis missed nearly half the season last year with a quad injury and only had one interception. He dropped several others.

Likely one of the reasons why Cromartie isn’t as high on Davis is that he fact that Cromartie was a ballhawk in the NFL. He had 31 career interceptions in his 11-year career, and led the league with 10 INTs in 2007 in San Diego. Cromartie had at least three interceptions in seven of his 11 NFL seasons.

The 2022 season will be a big one for Davis. If he can focus and finish on the ball he could very well find himself in that Top 10 conversation – and with a potential Pro Bowl nod.

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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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PewterHeart
PewterHeart
1 month ago

Agree with AC. Love Davis, this guy is a dawg on the field. But tends to be on the highlight reel for WRs. It is a difficult job, no doubt, but some men thrive on this position. If you’re going to get paid like one, play like one. Top 20?

drdneast
drdneast
1 month ago

Davis’ biggest flaw is he drops to many INT’s. Does he spend anytime at all on the juggs machine.

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith
1 month ago

I think the contract he received was fair for #1 corner of his rank. He will never be a perineal Pro Bowler but is solid for the team. The contract essentially pays $10M per year and the rest of the $45M are incentives.

Captain Sly
Captain Sly
Reply to  Bradley Smith
1 month ago

Yep, no since getting mad at the truth right! The Bucs knew what Davis was before signing him, a solid B level player who fits the scheme. it’s really a non story to me but I guess some will find this disrespectful and rant anyway.

bucballer
bucballer
1 month ago

Top 20 is more accurate. Not a top ten DB. His salary was probably a little bit above his current talent. Doesn’t mean he CANT be a top ten DB. Needs to catch some of those INTs he drops. Needs to stay on the field! Believe he will step up this coming season. The DBs r kind of at the mercy of those D-Linemen in the box. If our big boys up front and our Edge guys can’t create constant pressure and get sacks, then the entire Defensive Backfield will look a lot better.

Spitfire
Spitfire
1 month ago

The problem is he’s a Man CB and Bowles has him playing so much Zone and it’s not his game. I understand we had so many injuries last year but even when we were healthy he didn’t change the Defense. When Bowles schemes to his players strengths we get results like Super Bowl 55, when he doesn’t we get plays like Kupps long completion.

Benjamin
Benjamin
1 month ago

OK so the Diggs cb in Dallas is top 10 because he had the most ints last year while also giving up the most yards and getting burned basically every play where he didn’t get a int. Davis didn’t lead the league in ints but he also wasn’t the cb who gave up the most yards and wasn’t burned every play he didn’t get an int and is way more consistent play to play than Diggs is. OK yea that makes perfect sense because how much you make equals how good you are. If that’s true then Tom hasn’t ever… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Benjamin
The Freeman
The Freeman
1 month ago

remind me Brian Kelly

fredster
fredster
1 month ago

He’s a good CB not a great one. I’m not in love with any of our CB’s but he’s no doubt the best of the bunch and little better than average for sure.

bucballer
bucballer
1 month ago

It’s like the used car market. Just bought my daughter a used car and it was crazy prices due to low supply in inventory. In some cases, a fifteen hundred dealer add on due to low inventory. That’s the case with the DB market in the NFL. If u want a good solid DB, which every team does, u will pay the price. Sometimes u strike gold and solidify the position and other times u have player who just doesn’t have the stats or can’t stay on the field due to injuries. It’s supply and demand.