The Bucs obviously have several areas to improve on in preparing to play in 2018. One that they must have felt still needed help was defensive back. Even though the team drafted the Gators Vernon Hargreaves in the first round just two years ago, and also re-signed Pro Bowler Brent Grimes to a one year deal in March, Tampa Bay used two second round picks on corners.
One is M.J. Stewart from North Carolina, and the other, Carlton Davis of the Auburn Tigers. And it’s Davis, who’s already got the media, and more importantly, head coach Dirk Koetter talking. After Saturday’s workout, the Bucs third year boss was very complimentary on what’s he’s seen this weekend, albeit going 3/4 speed in helmets and shorts, out of Davis.
In particular, Koetter told the media and was transcribed by the team’s website:
“After looking at the tape last night (Friday), Carlton probably had one of the best days on defense of anybody out there yesterday,” Koetter said. “He did a good job. We already knew he was a good player in press coverage, but we wanted to see him play some off coverage as well. He did a really good job. His form tackling-for football on air-was good. We were fired up about the way he played yesterday.”
Davis is bigger at 6’1 and 205 lbs. than Grimes, Hargreaves or his fellow rookie Stewart, and he’s coming out of the premier conference in college football, the SEC. A year ago he was voted first team All-SEC with 36 tackles, 11 passes defended, an INT and a fumble recovery as Auburn won the SEC West.
Davis also talked to the media after Saturday’s practice:
“I was nervous at first coming out here, being my first day not knowing what to expect,” Davis said. “But after a couple plays, it’s just like you were playing football when you were younger. Football is still football no matter what stage you are on and we are just out here having fun.”
Clearly, it will be a big step up from going against Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, and Tennessee every year (just ask Hargreaves) and into an NFC South with QBs Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton. And, Davis has a long way to go from showing promise in a rookie camp in May to being effective on Sunday’s this fall.
But, as we laid out above, he’s got a lot of things already going for him to see the field a bunch this season.
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