With their third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked Jamel Dean, a cornerback out of Auburn. Dean is a Florida native who grew up in Cocoa.
The 6’1” rookie went to Cocoa High School, where he received all-state honors as a wide receiver, scoring 15 receiving touchdowns in his senior year. Conclusively, he was a highly recruited player coming out of high school. On the downside, Dean suffered two major knee injuries in high school, which also caused a rough start to his collegiate career.
When it was time for college, Dean signed with Ohio State. However, due to his knee problems, he was not medically cleared to play football. Consequently, he sat out the 2015 season and transferred to Auburn University, which enabled him to play again. Unfortunately, he suffered yet another major knee injury in the preseason of 2016, which caused him to miss the entire season. He was projected to start that year.
In 2017, he was finally able to stay healthy and started in 11 games. He recorded 43 tackles and defensed 8 passes. 2018 was his final year in college. He started in another 11 games, recorded 30 tackles, 2 interceptions and 9 pass breakups.
Just like the Bucs’ other early picks, Dean has tremendous speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds. Therefore, he might be a great fit for Todd Bowles’ new defense. Yet, having suffered three major knee injuries, his health obviously will be a concern.