With the 45th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Antoine Winfield Jr., Safety, Minnesota.
Winfield Jr’s Bloodline
Winfield is not a new name to the NFL. His father, Antoine Winfield Sr. played cornerback in the NFL for 14 seasons. His impressive play led him to three Pro Bowl appearances and 27 career interceptions. Having a role model and pedigree like this is likely a big reason why Winfield Jr. has been a force in the secondary throughout his college career.
– Solo Tackles: 122
– Assisted Tackles: 50
– Tackles for Loss: 7
– Sacks: 4
– Interceptions: 9
– Touchdowns: 2
– Pass Defended: 6
– Forced Fumbles: 2
– Fumble Recoveries: 3
Winfield Jr. is a lot like his father in that he is a ballhawk. He only played four games each in 2017 and 2018 in just his four seasons at Minnesota. However, in those two seasons that he played 10 of more games (Freshman, Senior) Winfield Jr. registered 135 tackles, eight interceptions, as well as three sacks (which all came last season.) In 2019, Winfield Jr. led the Big 10 in interceptions with seven. At the end of the season, he was deemed a Consensus All-American.
What He Will Do for the Buccaneers
Tanard Jackson was the last true ball-hawking safety to wear a Buccaneers uniform. With the selection of Winfield Jr., that play style is back in Tampa Bay. I expect Winfield Jr. to jump right into the mix and start next to Jordan Whitehead. He may rotate in and out with Mike Edwards, but there is no doubt he will make a contribution right away in 2020. In an interview with Buccaneers insider Casey Phillips, Winfield Jr. said the following:
“I’m a very versatile player, I can play pretty much anywhere on the back end of the defense. I can play down in the box, I can blitz, I can cover tight ends and number two receivers pretty much anywhere on the field. Another thing I do is create takeaways.”
This versatility will be tested, especially in the NFC South which features players such as Julio Jones and Michael Thomas. Antoine Winfield Jr. will bring intensity, passion, and an overall love for football every Sunday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for years to come.