It’s no secret that the Buccaneers will be looking for help in the secondary, as they started four different safeties and six different cornerbacks in 2015 and couldn’t find an answer. Tampa Bay’s defense allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 70 percent of their passes, which is simply unacceptable. New Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith has said that he will implement a “flexible” defense, which would show multiple fronts that give different looks to opposing quarterbacks. Smith will likely be looking for ‘flexible’ players to conform to his defensive plan, and a draft option that could make sense for the Buccaneers is Duke’s Jeremy Cash.
Cash is part of the influx of ‘hybrid’ safeties that are entering the league in recent years. With tight ends becoming bigger and more athletic, teams are looking for big, athletic safeties to cover them. Players like Arizona’s Deone Buccanon, Cincinnati George Iloka, and former Buccaneer Mark Barron are all being used as hybrid safeties/linebackers for their respective teams. Nickel packages are being used more and more as NFL offenses are spreading out their formations, so the demand for big athletes that can cover in the back 7 is higher than ever.
Cash is known for his violent, highlight reel hits, and he makes them on a consistent basis. On tape, the Duke product lives in the oppositions backfield, blowing up screens and running plays often. He’s a sound tackler that plays with a mean-streak and fire. Cash was used everywhere by the Blue Devils, where he worked as a nickel corner, linebacker and center fielder safety. His versatility and play style makes him a candidate for most teams in the NFL, which should lead to a very good draft grade from clubs.
At Tuesday’s Senior Bowl practice, Cash had two opportunities to lay huge hits on the South squad’s tight ends during the team session, but he pulled up on both attempts to avoid injuring the offensive player and himself. After the plays were over, Cash put his hands together and place them by his ear, implying that he would’ve put the receiver to sleep. He showed great range and always seemed to be near the ball. He’s not a world-class athlete, but it’s obvious he has a high football IQ and a great motor.
The 6-foot, 212 pound safety originally signed with Ohio State but transferred to Duke where he went on to claim the honor of ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2015. As a senior, Cash had 101 tackles with 18 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and four pass breakups.
PewterReport.com’s 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl coverage is sponsored by Gerber Collision & Glass.
(On being labeled as a hybrid player)
“You need a guy with that hybrid combination. Someone like a Deone Bucannon comes to mind because he’s a big physical safety that can play in the box. With the way tight ends are being built, they’re much faster than they used to be. They used to be just blockers and now they run routes. Now you need someone that can keep up with them in coverage.”
(On what he’s trying to prove at the Senior Bowl)
“I mean they understand that he’s a versatile guy, but what is he? Is he a safety or a linebacker? Coming from a 4-2-5 system, I have lined up all over the field. But the biggest thing I’m trying to prove is that yes, Jeremy Cash can cover and play center field. I went out there on a big stage today and performed to the best of my ability. I think I turned some eyes towards me.”
(On if he wants to be a safety)
“Yes, that is the plan.”
Umm, is this kid speaking in the third person? Is that a red flag on his ego? 😉
He was speaking as an observer of him might.
We need all the help we can get in back end of defense. Need more then one safety prospect.
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