In his three years with the Buccaneers, Chris Conte has received plenty of criticism. Since he was acquired in free agency by Tampa Bay before the 2015 season started, Conte has managed to be given a starting job at safety, despite mediocre performances on his part, while on the field. The reason for that is the lack of competition at the position. The front office’s attempts at improving the position have failed so far, as the acquisition of TJ Ward last year did not pan out at all.
To be fair, Conte has not really been surrounded by great talent, either, as the Buccaneers’ defensive backfield, partly caused by a weak pass rush, has been terrible for years. Outside of Brent Grimes, the play of the Buccaneers Cornerbacks has been particularly bad. Former early first round pick Vernon Hargreaves has not been able to live up to his lofty expectations at all.
All this might change this year, finally. At least the pass rush should be much improved and a lot better than it has been in years. Furthermore, the Bucs used two second round picks on two Cornerbacks in the draft, MJ Steward and Carlton Davis. One of them might start by Week 1 of the Regular Season.
All these factors will make life easier for Chris Conte. The only competition, he has is rookie Safety Jordan Whitehead out of the University of Pittsburgh. However, given how much experience Conte already has with this defense and Mike Smith’s system, it is highly unlikely that a rookie picked in the fourth round will take his job this year.