While the Buccaneers won’t pigeonhole themselves into taking someone too early based on need, they’ll eventually have to address the secondary at some point in the draft. That’s when a late-round, overlooked prospect comes into play.
William & Mary safety DeAndre Houston-Carson earned an invite to the Senior Bowl after finishing his collegiate career with a team-leading 109 tackles in 2015 (double-digit stops in 6 games), in addition to four interceptions. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety compiled 124 yards on those four picks, showing his elusiveness in the return game and ability to capitalize on splash plays.
Potentially holding him back is subpar competition at a small school and just one year of experience at the safety position. Some scouting reports say he’s undersized and too raw at this point, but Tampa Bay has shown willingness in the past to draft small-school, underdeveloped players. See Ali Marpet, arguably the team’s best lineman in 2015. Like Marpet, Houston-Carson impressed in Mobile while trying to prove he can play up to the competition.
A First-Team All American, Houston-Carson started 45 games over four seasons, playing cornerback his first three years before converting to free safety and having one of his most productive seasons. Houston-Carson finished his collegiate career with 293 tackles, 10 interceptions and nine special teams blocks. Last Tuesday he told PewterReport.com that he’s currently more comfortable in coverage – again, three years spent at corner – but he’s working diligently to improve his in-the-box play and run-stopping ability.
Below is the transcript from his quick Q&A with PewterReport.com
DeAndre Houston-Carson, S William & Mary
(On impressive stats in 2015) “I think, first and foremost, it speaks to the team that we had. We had a great scheme and great coaches and the players really bought into that. And then I really just think it speaks to effort, as far as tackling. As long as your running to the ball with heart, you’re going to get a lot of tackles. That was really the result.”
(On where he’s more comfortable, in coverage or in the box)
“That’s a good question. I like to pride myself on being able to play both, so I’m going to try to show off those skills this week.”
(On what he had to work on the most in Mobile) “I guess probably coming down into the box. I played corner my first three years and I just made the move to safety. I played linebacker like in youth football. I played some safety in high school, too, but just getting used to it.”
(On zone or man coverage) “When I was a corner I prefer playing man coverage. I think most corners do, just being able to compete. But I do think there’s value in playing zone in certain situations.”
(On the Bucs) “I have talked to the Bucs. I talked to a scout, and we were just getting to know each other. I think it went well, hope so.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: email@example.com