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Do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the best defensive backfield in the NFL?

The talent can't be questioned but it will come down to the health of the unit throughout 2022.
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As we prepare to head into the 2022 NFL season, experts are starting to preview teams and units that could have big seasons. Recently Mike Renner from PFF released his top secondaries, surprising some as he has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rated as the best in the league.

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The defense for the Buccaneers has been very good over the past few seasons. With a balanced unit loaded with stars at every level, it’s easy to see why Tampa Bay is a preseason favorite to once again compete for the Super Bowl.

The league is littered with talented secondaries, most being in the NFC. Naming the Bucs as the best of them all is an interesting decision by Renner.

Tampa Bay’s secondary starts with cornerback Carlton Davis III. Entering his fifth season, Davis has emerged as one of the best young corners in the game. He’s the foundation of the secondary as the organization has built around him. He signed a three-year contract extension this offseason.

Jamel Dean, another former Auburn Tiger, enters his fourth season and has been steady as teams typically haven’t tested Davis III over the past few seasons. His career PFF outside coverage grade of 87.8 is one of the reasons this unit is thought of so highly.

When you look at their safeties you see a lot of versatility, but there are several players that have battled injuries so far in their careers.

Antoine Winfield Jr. is entering his third season but he’s shown that he is one of the best young safeties in the game. Good as a blitzer, Winfield can play slot and he is very good versus the deep pass. He allowed just two receptions over 20 yards last season.

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Mike Edwards has played everywhere, but he may need to solely focus on safety.

Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal bring a ton of experience. Ryan is one of the key additions to the team after losing Jordan Whitehead in free agency. Ryan can play all of the positions in the secondary, including nickel, and Neal is a vet that brings some force on the back end.

Two keys to this unit, and possible foresight into what this unit can do, are Sean Murphy-Bunting and 2022 draft pick Zyon McCollum.

Murphy-Bunting is someone to watch at nickel. Todd Bowles loves to blitz, and his defensive backs have been among the league’s best. If he’s fully recovered from the elbow injury, Murphy-Bunting’s skill set is intriguing.

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I wrote on draft night that I was a big fan of McCollum. He’s a big corner, has elite movement skills, and he’s a turnover machine. While Davis and Dean are locked in as the starters, don’t be surprised to see Zyon leave camp high on the depth chart.

If this unit can play up to this accolade Tampa Bay will be a tough out in 2022. 

Stick with BucsGameday for more coverage on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the offseason.

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