Round 7 – SMU CB Jordan Wyatt
6-0, 190 – Senior
Previous Pick: Oklahoma State QB Taylor Cornelius
Tampa Bay has drafted three cornerbacks over the last four years in Vernon Hargreaves III as the first-round pick in 2016, and M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis as second-rounders last year, but the team still may not know what it has at the position. Hargreaves has battled confidence problems and injuries that have limited him to just 10 games over the last two seasons. Davis looked like a competent starter last year as a rookie, but failed to record an interception, while Stewart was miscast as a nickel cornerback. He’s more of a strong safety prospect due to his lack of elite speed. Between the three, they have one interception (Hargreaves) in a combined 50 games. Tampa Bay is need of another cornerback for depth and competition – preferably one that can make plays.
So don’t be surprised to see the Bucs draft yet another cornerback in 2019. If Tampa Bay doesn’t do it in the first round with a player like LSU’s Greedy Williams or Washington’s Byron Murphy, the Bucs may wait until the middle or late rounds. In our previous PewterReport.com 2019 Bucs’ 6-Round Mock Draft we had Tampa Bay select James Madison’s ballhawking cornerback Jimmy Moreland in the fourth round. Moreland has 18 career interceptions, but his smallish size would limit him to playing the slot as a nickel cornerback.
A player like Wyatt, who is 6-foot, 190 pounds, can play outside and compete with the likes of Ryan Smith, Stewart and others for the right to start opposite Davis. Wyatt was a four-year starter at SMU and recorded 146 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 21 passes defensed, 11 interceptions, eight forced fumbles, five defensive touchdowns, two fumble recoveries and one sack.
Wyatt’s SMU Career Defensive Stats
2015: 31 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 PBUs, 2 INTs, 1 FF
2016: 50 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 7 PBUs, 4 INTs, 4 FFs, 2 TDs, 1 FR
2017: 49 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 8 PBUs, 4 INTs, 3 FFs, 3 TDs, 1 FR, 1 sack
2018: 16 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 4 PBUs, 1 INT
Wyatt tore his ACL in the season finale in 2017 and returned for his senior season after rehabbing from that injury in addition to having surgery for a torn labrum. As is the case with most players returning from injury, it can take a year before bouncing back into form, and that was the case with Jordan, who statistics dipped last year, which hurt his draft stock.
Wyatt did receive an invitation to participate in the East-West Shrine Game and had a good week of practice and met with the Buccaneers scouts in St. Petersburg, Fla. The expectation is that Wyatt should have a better season in 2019 after being one year removed from ACL surgery.
“It’s been fun to watch Jordan Wyatt come back from the injury,” SMU head coach Sonny Dykes told 247Sports.com. “He’s a really unique leader and (it’s great to watch him) utilize his leadership abilities and skills.
“Everybody follows him. He does things the right way and has a great work ethic. He’s the kind of kid you want in your program. I can’t say enough good things about him. … Man, what a special kid. I just love the way he comes out and works every day.”
Wyatt isn’t the biggest cornerback, nor is he the fastest. But he has very good instincts, and he’s mentally and physically tough enough to play the position. Wyatt is a high-character player that has a history of being around the ball and making plays. Tampa Bay’s secondary can’t have enough of those type players.