Waiting Game For Murphy-Bunting

September 1st, 2019

They’re jacked up for JoeJuan Williams in New England, and Lonnie Johnson has turned a lot of heads — for a variety of reasons — in Texans camp.

So why is Joe mentioning these rookie cornerbacks?

Those guys are a couple of SEC corners drafted in the second round this season after the Bucs picked CB Sean Murphy-Bunting at No. 39 overall.

Murphy-Bunting had a rough preseason. He looked more like a fifth-round pick than a second.

It happens. Guys often need time to adjust. But Bucco Bruce Arians took it a step further telling media after the Bucs’ preseason opener that Murphy-Bunting didn’t “show up,” and he relayed an anecdote that he sarcastically asked Murphy-Bunting if he was there for the game in Pittsburgh.

That likely was meant to spark the rookie out of Central Michigan but no significant response arrived on the field.

This means Murphy-Bunting won’t start over Carlton Davis and Vernon Hargreaves on opening day. And it appears surging M.J. Stewart will be the top nickel cornerback, while late-third-round pick Jamel Dean will back up Davis and Hargreaves on the outside.

Ryan Smith had a solid spring/summer, and when he returns from a four-game suspension in October, he’ll be competition for Murphy-Bunting. This isn’t quite what the Bucs envisioned on draft night.

Joe just hopes the Bucs stick with the best players and don’t force Murphy-Bunting if he’s not ready.

Joe has heard from various sources that Arians is not the kind of guy to ever play a guy who hasn’t earned his snaps. So Joe isn’t concerned. But the Dirk Koetter-Jason Licht regime wasn’t like that, so Joe wonders.

At No. 39 overall, you expect an immediate and solid starter to be drafted, but it seems the Bucs won’t get that for the second consecutive season.

74 Responses to “Waiting Game For Murphy-Bunting”

  1. Franklin 813 Says:

    If Greedy Williams turns out better than Bunting, the whole scouting staff should be fired ….

  2. Fire the fans Says:

    Does anybody remember Josh Norman? Sometimes guys from small schools take a little time to come into their own. I believe this kid is going to be very good

  3. Rayjay1122 Says:

    I don’t understand using premium picks to reach for players that would be available in later rounds. This ridiculous practice during drafts is a big reason why we don’t see better talent through the draft.

    They over complicate everything with their analysis and projections of where a ayer may be selected and in so doing we keep screwing up.

    Message to Gump for next draft class is KISS! Keep it simple stupid!

  4. OBP Says:

    Guessing SMB will be this year’s MJ Stewart, bad rookie year followed up by coming into Year 2 with a renewed drive. Disappointing given his measurables but it is what it is.

  5. Dom>Licht Says:

    Yet Dalton Risner is starting on OL for Denver. McCoy looks like he is starting on OL for Saints… and we got 5 more years of a clueless GM!

  6. Don_RyJo(e) Says:

    I’ve read so many articles [many by the Joe(s)] that cornerback is one of the rougher transitions/steeper learning curves in the NFL. Give the guy a minute, people, geez! If he’s crapping all over the field in a month, then we can start to be disappointed.

  7. Sport Says:

    I’ve got an idea, let’s all overreact before the season starts. We will have growing pains with rookies, however we now have a solid coaching staff to work with them.

    Let the process work.

    In BA I Trust!

  8. Dom>Licht Says:

    Been waiting on the process to work the last 15 years.

  9. #1bucsfan Says:

    Good point sport

  10. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Don’t question Licht’s draft picks…particularly in the secondary. It’s not as if he has spent multiple premium picks on these types of players the last few years.

  11. Glazers are idiots Says:

    This seems all too familiar with 2nd round picks under Licht. Maybe he should just start trading out of the second round altogether. Glad Glazers gave him 5 more years!

  12. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    Jeez Joe you just keep the negativity flowing. I bet you’d rather this team go 0-16 with Allen and Manziel then go 6-10 with this roster. Yeah I know, you are keeping it real… real negative. Your blog, your right.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Licht hasn’t earned the wait and see approach

  14. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Don’t like it…don’t read it. Joe(s) put out a quality product.

  15. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Still hearing Arians’ proclamations about this kid post-draft, it really sounds like it was HE who drafted him (he liked him so much as a person). It reminds me of Licht picking Stewart before Davis because the theme that year was toughness. The theme this year seemed to be “BA and Todd clean up the mess”, but these guys get so immersed in the draft process I think they don’t step back and just pick the better player (Greedy?). They outthink themselves.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    The grass is always greener …. yada, yada. Last year we weren’t sure that we had ONE bonafide starter at outside CB to open the season. This year we’ve got Davis, VHIII, Dean and could start Dean in a pinch. Fairly solid at safety and LB too IMO. SMB may take awhile longer to come. up to speed, but he’s got talent and he’ll get there. They’re all young, but finally we seem to have some bonafide talent back there. And that’s a LOT to feel good about.

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    Expecting anything from rookies is a dumb idea. Some guys are ready to play day one, some take a year.

    Even dumber is saying a guy is a bust based off the preseason of their rookie year.

    Lots of dopes in here that have seemingly never watched football before.

  18. DCBucsfan Says:

    In fairness to not expect a huge impact from game one of rookies.. its fair to say the quick anointed, qb of the defense D White might also have to adapt and adjust to his full potential . Thats why I mentioned yesterday on different article on how it was great getting back LVD.. next thing I know .. lets trade him now comments!

  19. Dom>Licht Says:

    I do expect something from a rookie drafted in the first or second round. Why? Because I see it year after year after year. Other teams manage to get it right we on the other hand have a 40 year of usually getting it wrong. Watch someone other than the Bucs this Sunday and you will see 2nd rounders on other teams contributing for there teams.

  20. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    We all thought last years DBs sucked but they have been a surprise this year.

    BA knows Murphy-Bunting has all the tools to be a great CB. He must be slow in learning the playbook. This makes a player think more than play, which slows his reaction time and his ability to read the plays. I think BA was just trying to light a fire under him so he would better take the time in learning the playbook.

  21. DCBucsfan Says:

    BTY I m LOCKED IN MJ Stewart! He’s gonna be a good tackler!

  22. Bucamania Says:

    SMB looks allergic to contact. That’s concerning. Grimes disease.

  23. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    The best corner in the draft was Treyvon Mullen. The MVP of the football factory known as the Clemson Tigers. The National Champions. Clemson’s opponents feared Mullen so much that they would never throw in his direction until last year’s final game. When Alabama decided to rattle Mullen’s cage, and he came up big time and was the deciding factor in that game. Selected MVP!

    Mullen was selected by the Raider’s braintrust Gruden-Mayock two picks after Gump selected SMLB.

    Bunting played for Central Upper Michigan’s Fukawi’s who went 1-11 in some God forsaken D3 conference that I’ve never heard of. SMLB has never been in a big game. Never saw top rate competition. Never had good coaching. Never won anything. There are many top rate Florida high schools that would beat the living crap out of SMLB and the Fighting Fukawi’s.

    Five more years of the Gumpster Fire, no wonder they hid that from the fans!

  24. BigMacAttack Says:

    I can’t but feel the ceiling for this guy is pretty high. I just hope he reaches it while he’s still wearing a Bucs’ uniform. I would not have selected him ahead of a few others, but Licht loves these small school players. Unfortunately, Marpet is the only one he’s got right. The big problem is that Licht is wasting premium picks to get these guys when he probably doesn’t have to. Licht n Ed’s to work on his patience because he jumps the gun constantly.

  25. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Greedy Williams is looking really good for the browns

  26. Isaac haggins Says:

    This was 100 percent Arians Guy , not the Scouts !!!

  27. webster Says:

    This is the dumbest fan base. We have idiots calling smb college a d3 school. We have idiots saying all other teams hit on their 1st and 2nd round picks and the bucs dont as if other teams dont miss on 1st and 2nd picks. We have idiots still crying about greedy williams as if 8 other cornerbacks were not picked before him. Yea he is 4th on cleveland depth chart just like bunting is here. Some of you really need serious help. Hey idiot fan base, go back and look at ronde’s rookie year. Go back and look at brian kelly’s rookie year and how he was torched constantly. Its not the end of the story because a rookie has a slow preseason. You guys are IDIOTS!!!!!

  28. Destinjohnny Says:

    Greedy is the real deal.
    Life with the worst gm….

  29. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Webster, Ronde and Kelly played at UVA and USC, respectively. That’s why the concerns are that with 3-4 corners already ahead of him, SMB may never recover and get lost in the shuffle. He was a reach on the night and hasn’t done anything to push on that perception.

  30. Buccaneerscotty Says:

    Could not believe we passed on Greedy! Wtf are they smoking? Every year reaching!

  31. sincethebeginning Says:

    Joe, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say the preseason has little meaning and that training camp barely tells you anything real about a player and that these preseason games don’t show what a team or a player can really do because of no game planning etc… yada yada yada… and then you turn around and say it’s because of preseason and training camp performances that these other rookies are going to be so amazing because they’ve looked so good already (or that the OL, for another example, is going to be garbage). That is sloppy to say the least. Dude, Joe has said team performance has little meaning, almost none. Individual performance is a different animal, certain positions more than others, especially when gauging the readiness of a rookie, as that’s all we have. –Joe

    Insulting Joe is not appreciated, especially when it’s malicious. And that’s why the remainder of your comments were deleted. Why come here if you abhor the website that deeply? That’s tantamount to talking out of both sides of your mouth.–Joe

  32. TDTB Says:

    Now that he’s a Buc, I hope Murphy Bunting becomes a beast. That said, I screamed at the TV when the selection was made. It was a bad pick. Risnor was the pick or, as many of you have pointed out, if you agreed with the draft strategy, then the pick should have been Adderly, Mullen or Williams. Those of you who think we should not expect much from a second rounder in their first year are nucking futz. 1st and 2nd rounders have to start as rookies unless they’re QB’s. anything else was the wrong pick.

  33. Tom S. Says:

    I’m shocked that someone with the impeccable draft record of one Jason Licht (Aguayo, ASJ, Spence, Hargreaves etc) would make questionable draft decisions. It’s almost like once Lovie and Jon Robinson left Light became both bad at free agency, roster construction AND the Draft.

  34. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    Every team passed on Greedy. Every team. If Licht is a loser so is every other GM.

  35. Brandon Says:

    Greedy was passed on by every team multiple times. Just like that RB from the Rams that isn’t special. Greedy doesn’t tackle, isn’t physical, and isn’t nearly good enough in coverage to make up for it.

  36. JimmyJack Says:

    Last time I checked Bunting and the rest of the draft class have an entire career ahead of them. Rendering verdicts after one preseason is very very lame.

  37. JimmyJack Says:

    Meanwhile all y’all who are whining about Bunting are likely the same that called MJ Stewart a bust……..Nevermind that he gave y’all the proverbial middle finger with his game last week while winning the starting nickle job.

    It should be time to get excited to see what he does in the season opener while learning how foolish it is to judge these rookies with no patience. Nevermind that MJ is prooving you wrong right in front of your eyes. Ignore what was said about him in the past just move on to the next developing player to kneejerk about.

    These kneejerk reactions are becoming an extreme stain for Our fanbase.

  38. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Completely off topic, Hudson, Miller and Gabbert will most likely be 3 inactives Sunday. who are the other 4? Maybe Vea if still injured?

  39. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    How about we not give up before we even know???

  40. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    JimmyJack, I’ve never called either player a bust, but I’ve never said they’ve made it, either. I don’t thing MJ is proving anything. I want to see regular season production, not 4th preseason game production. Just like we shouldn’t judge players negatively too soon, we shouldn’t expect them to be good too soon either based on preseason play. Neither Bunting or MJ have had the time to develop either way. Remember how every other poster on here was calling Noah Spence “Spawn” his first year. That died out quick. Don’t be quick to judge either way. After year 3, we’ll know.

  41. adam from ny Says:

    when hoping for a hit, we got a bunt…

  42. adam from ny Says:

    sometimes a bunt is a hit too… 🙂

  43. adam from ny Says:

    arians: “hey sean you swinging for the fences?”

    smb: “nah coach i think i’n gonna be bunting”

  44. adam from ny Says:

    training camp etc. is a small window…some players need a little more adjustment time…like with scotty miller…i’m sure they hope he gets more on his game around the bye week…a couple extra months to acclimate is a fair pass for any rook…same with sean murphy busting

    #WhenAyeBuntBecomesAyeBalk #BustingAtTheSeams

  45. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    “sometimes a bunt is a hit too…”

    Sometimes a bunt is a suicide!

  46. Jason S. Mclaurin Says:

    SMB is a bum who needs to be professionally developed. The thing Licht is doing now is drafting replacement for guys who are due big paydays. They got something with the depth at DB.

  47. Greg Says:

    Holy crap can we let the kid play a dam game before people start crying and calling him a bust???? This site will say anything for clicks.

  48. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Lots to work with here…Drag Bunting, swinging bunt(ing)…just don’t question the next late bloomin’ Ronde Barber type. Haters. 😉

  49. BringBucsBack Says:

    He’s a Buc now, so I’m pulling for him. However, he could have been gotten later in the draft and his college “highlights” were about as impressive as Rojo’s rookie highlights. His coverage wasn’t special and I seem to remember him making picks on balls that were thrown right to him.

    First and second round picks, on a “5 & whatever” team, should be good enough to earn the right to start, immediately! If they are not then, you inhale vigorously!

  50. BucsFan727 Says:

    I hear ya. But if you remember MJ wasnt even in the WRs area code. Even during the pre season last year. Ive seen improvment with route recognition. Diagnosing the play pre snap and communicating. There still learning and have a long way to go. But there is improvment. Im excited about this young secoundary.

  51. BucHead588 Says:

    Hey Rojo was drafted at 39 last year an as it seems this year he will be a good RB an it took him a year to develop SMB has all the tools an traits you want in a CB can’t we give these kids some time to develop not everyone comes right in an becomes a Pro Bowler there Rookie year kid has played in 4 Preseason games an really hasn’t done that bad he’s not popping out at you off yournTV Screen but he’s not doing Horrible either give the kid some time to catch up with the speed of the NFL MJ Stewart is another one that comes to mined right off the top of my head who has looked great this year so far an not so much last year let’s give these Rookies sometime they will catch up with the speed of the NFL I mean From Coach BAs words an some reporting he SMB has done really good in Practices so He has it in him let’s not throw him over board just yet y’all relax Be Patient GoBucs

  52. Brandon Says:

    I am tired of the hope with our draft picks. Why do we always draft the busts. Scotty MIller better make the team this, Devin White is not the better Devin, drafting DB’s that won’t start, and RB’s that are not ready, while keeping Noah on the team for years when he is a bust.

    Yet Licht gets a 5 year extension. It is either his fault, or the new regime who drafted the guys this year. Either way, a new set of scouts would be nice.

  53. Pryda...sec147 Says:

    Game is moving fast for him but it’s going to slow down for him. He is at least in the area of the ball and isn’t hopeless

  54. BucEmUp Says:

    Ronde barber was a bust when he was drafted. Dude sucked..

  55. Figures Says:


    Yes BOBO SUCKS. the only people who believe otherwise are the dumbas s FSU fans.

    Who probably also believe the QB at FSU (Blackman) is great and
    should be an immediate starter in the NFL.

    Btw: FSU sucks big time lmao hahahahahahahahahaha


  56. gilhealy Says:

    How about we just pull for the kid.

  57. Figures Says:

    And yes so far the other Devin looks better as of right now. The Bucs Devin barely had his name called the whole preseason.

    Licht is an absolute idiot. Anyone who believes otherwise shouldn’t be allowed to talk about football.

    Dude is a walking catastrophe.


  58. Figures Says:

    Not pulling for a suck as s player. Should be on the practice squad at best.

    Sorry I have higher standards.

  59. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight…….Murphy Bunting will not start because of the development of Carlton Davis & MJ Stewart……

    Perhaps the development of SMB this year will replace the high salaried VH3 next year…..

    Give the coaches and this kid a chance before we call him a bust……

  60. Figures Says:

    Bunting has played like a 5th round pick because that’s probably where he should’ve been picked.

    Da mn sure not 39th. But these are the kinds of things this pathetic dumpster fire of a franchise have done the last 15 years.

    Giving that moron LICHT another 5 years is about as bad a decision as any.

    I doubt he will see the end of that 5 year contract.

  61. BA FAN Says:

    Bunting is a playmaking CB with good size and great speed and was discovered by BA himself. Don’t forget we also got a starting level leader too with that trade down in Edwards who has looked great this Preseason but he was from an SEC Team with a breakout year last year. He was used to a much higher level of competition than Bunting, but when Bunting adapts to top NFL competition next year he has future star potential to outshine Greedy. You just have to wait for it. Now, doubters, go back and study how the Cowboys became “America’s Team”. They had Gil Brandt, who just got admitted to the NFL Hall of Fame, and he was famous for locating potential stars among the small schools nobody ever heard of and undrafted gems, and Dallas had Coaches to develop those 5th round gems into star players. Licht is the rare modern day Gil Brant but who for years had poor coaches who failed to develop the talent Licht brought them, but now with BA he has developed them and what looked like busts have turned into overnight starter quality players. Be happy and wake up and enjoy what BA does in turning Yuks to Winners and one day you will appreciate Licht too like BA does!

  62. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Licht is the modern day Gil Brandt? LOLicht!

  63. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Licht is the modern day Matt Millen…maybe…minus the solid NFL career.

  64. Figures Says:

    ^^^^^You can’t be serious? This has to be satire right?

    Licht is the modern day Gil Brandt?

    Wow. Just when I thought I’ve heard it all here comes this dude rolling in.

    Man you’ve really raised the stupid bar. Gonna be tough to top that. But every time I think the bar can’t go higher someone like you raises it yet another notch.

    Enjoy your time at the top you may have a solid run with this one.

  65. BucsBandit Says:

    I don’t understand why the Bucs just don’t ‘get it’ that the two primary positions on Defense that are the HARDEST to draft for are…

    Cornerbacks and D-Linemen.

    Their strategy should be to simply BUY THEM in free agency and not waste years of trying to get lucky and draft a prospect that works out; the exception is drafting one of those positions in the Top 10, and corner is still risky.

    Think of how much better this team would be if it put more of its salary cap into signing SOLID corners and D-Line. We could have used all those other draft picks to find more stud LBs, safeties, and O-Line.

  66. How bout dem bucs Says:

    What’s up with everyone wanting a microwave rookie, these young players are not going to be judged until yr 3. Yes every now & again a rookie comes & perform like a seasoned vet, but that’s not the norm! Can’t wait to see our rookies grow under Todd Bowles & staff, GO BUCS !!!

  67. SB Says:

    Some of you guys are just outta the park.

  68. FireJasonLicht Says:

    Another Jason Licht blunder let’s give him a 10 yr extension

  69. Rod Munch Says:

    Remember last year when 90% of you dullards were calling Vita, “Velcro” and saying how he was a bust.

    Now 90% of you think he’s a 1st team All-Pro guy who is going to be the best NT in football and get double digit sacks because he had a good game against the 49ers who were starting their 4th string QB behind a backup offensive line.

    You dopes weren’t right when you were calling Vita a bust based on nothing, and you’re not right when you’re saying he’s a surefire pro bowler either. Rookies develop at different paces, and areas where you never want a rookie starting are generally the DL, TE and corner. Yes, some guys, if they had more pro-style coaching in college might be ready to go – then some guys are like Ronde Barber and do jack-nothing their rookie year. You idiots in here would have been saying Barber was a bust as well – and I remember talk radio from that time you morons were saying that.

    Chill out on calling rookies busts based on the preseason, and based on early in the year.

  70. adam from ny Says:

    let’s hope bunting works out…if not he has the perfect name for a bustature:

    sean murphy busting…

    let’s hope he is less cool, and more cerebral like ronde…ronde honed his craft because of his cerebral nature…and so did tiki in new york…for a couple years tiki was like the best back in the league…

    one can only hope…

    hard work and mastering your craft is totally possible…

    lets get this going smb…we want you to succeed

  71. Kalind Says:

    I made a lot of excuses for Licht over the years. But he has to have one of the worst records for second round picks EVER. I’m sure there’s a stat on it somewhere. But sweet mercy. He should let one of us take over for the second round. He is so shockingly bad it’s beyond comprehension.

  72. Oregonbucsfan Says:

    BucHead: “Hey Rojo was drafted at 39 last year an as it seems this year he will be a good RB”

    WHAT?! Please tell me what you have seen or heard that would allow you to draw that conclusion. OG44 has to be ahead of him in the depth chart.
    Running back is the EZest transition from college to pros. ROJO has not had a single play I can remember that justifies his draft position. Ezeak from Dallas hit the ground running (literally) and is looking for a new contract. RoJO is light years from that. I think he is another Doug Martin, who would fall down if someone touched him, without the few good years Doug had.

  73. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Who are the people in the Bucs scouting Dept..?

    The few years that we were great, we had talent upon talent. McKay/Dungy absolutely had a great scouting Dept. Whomever is sending these players up the chain own a lot of the responsibility.

    I suppose it’s possible that Gump is just pulling names out of his hat, and we don’t have scouts. If he were a GM at all that would be the first thing to establish. Garbage in, Garbage out. I assume Licht has complete control over the front office, and what a FO it is. He and the Glazers have turned the Bucs into the Motel 6 of NFL franchises.

    And Rod Munch

    Sadly I find myself in the same exact position with Vea, as I was last year…waiting to see how long he’s out with a TC injury and how well he’ll play when he does. A lot of our roster is wait and see, and one year contract guys. Too many in fact. My money is on him to do well..when he plays.

  74. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Motel 6 of franchises…

    We’ll leave a light on for ya, but nobody’s home.🤫