More Rashaan Melvin LoveJuly 8th, 2014
Yesterday, Joe typed about who he deems “The Forgotten Cornerback,” second-year man Rashaan Melvin, the pride of Northern Illinois. Last year, the undrafted free agent opened up eyes at One Buc Palace and high-ranking members of the Bucs were giddy about his ceiling.
Last offseason, there was no player that Joe received more unsolicited texts about from Bucs sources than Melvin. The New Schiano Order had high hopes.
But fate stood in the way of Melvin making headway. He was injured in preseason and was done for the year. This season, with new coach Lovie Smith bringing in Alterraun Verner and Mike Jenkins, along with Johnthan Banks living up to his rookie billing, it was easy to forget about Melvin.
One person aside from Joe who has not forgotten about Melvin is Buccaneers.com multimedia maven Scott Smith.
In a neat column to prepare Bucs fans for training camp (now 17 days away), Smith jotted down a few developments that would not surprise him. One is that Melvin could be part of the Bucs’ regular cornerback rotation.
I’m thinking Melvin makes it this time, and could even be a significant player in the Bucs’ cornerback rotation. The 6-2 Melvin has the size that defensive coordinators covet at the position, and he has once again looked promising this offseason. Banks, Alterraun Verner and Mike Jenkins have the inside track to take the top three spots on the cornerback depth chart, but after that it’s wide open. Melvin is more likely to work on the outside than in the slot, so he may not be in competition for the nickel back job, but even so he could slot in as the fourth or fifth corner, and over the course of a 16-game season that player is going to get some important work. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Buccaneers kept six cornerbacks (especially if two or three of them have special teams talent) and Melvin is one of the most intriguing players in that mix.
However, the old guard is gone. The Lovie Smith Era is in full force. With a new regime comes new goals, standards and expectations. The team is viewed through a different prism. What one football group thinks of a player could be radically different from another group.
So Joe texted one of his confidants who works inside the walls of One Buc Palace to gauge what the current pulse was about Melvin.
Turns out, it appears the new guys seem to have a similar opinion of Melvin; they, too, believe Melvin has a high ceiling. In other words, they think Melvin can be a valuable asset.
How much or how often Melvin sees the field, of course, will largely depend on how Melvin plays this summer in training camp and preseason games.
As Joe stated yesterday, though he’s not exactly driving the Mike Jenkins bandwagon, a team cannot have too many good cornerbacks.