Two Pro Bowlers On Arians’ Mind

April 26th, 2020

Toy for Todd

Back in 2017, when a lot of Bucs fans were still crying about the decision to draft O.J. Howard instead of future All-Pro running back Dalvin Cook, the Bruce Arians-led Arizona Cardinals were making their own draft move with Cook still on the board in Round 2.

The Cardinals traded up nine spots to pick two-time Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker at No. 36 overall.

He wasn’t an instant starter early in his rookie year while playing mostly a nickel hybrid role, but he came on big-time defensively and landed in the Pro Bowl as a special teams cover guy, a tremendous honor for a rookie.

Arians remembers what he had back then in the versatile 5-foot-10 safety, and he knows that mold was set in 2013 when he drafted 5-foot-9 Tyrann Mathieu, now the Chiefs’ stud safety. Mathieu primarily played nickel cornerback in his rookie season with Arians and Todd Bowles.

Enter Bucs second-round pick Antoine Winfield, Jr., the 5-9 ballhawk, hard-hitting speedster safety out of the University of Minnesota.

Joe asked Arians about him last night and the head coach looked to his Arizona past.

“Yeah again, he’s an extremely bright football player that’s got great bloodlines. He is so position flexible – half-field, deep-field, middle-field, nickel, dime, linebacker – he’s got so many positions he can play,” Arians said. “We love to mix it up with our safeties, when they’re interchangeable. He’s part ‘Honey Badger’ (Tyrann Mathieu) and he’s part Budda Baker – he’s that style player that we can use in a different type of role along with our other safeties, who are interchangeable.”

General manager Jason Licht also gave the Mathieu-Baker analogy for Winfield when Licht spoke Friday, before Arians’ chatter yesterday. So obviously that was the mindset around One Buc Palace.

Winfield is a very exciting pick. And it’s going to very interesting if Winfield settles into a nickel role early. That would drive great and healthy competition for the Bucs’ two outside corner spots.

Joe thinks the Bucs, even with their limited salary cap room, are likely to add a veteran safety before the games begin in September.

TAMPA TWO is back for another day of Bucs draft talk, presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating. Enjoy!

52 Responses to “Two Pro Bowlers On Arians’ Mind”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Arians is getting senile……..

    Winfiield jr is a shrimp………most of those interceptions on youtube were overthrown balls………I didn’t see a whole lotta man to man coverage.

    Even so if he is stuck in FS or SS…..he’s still so small, that I wonder how he’ll hold against elite talent every single game?????

    Then the RBs he drafted aren’t even good enough to be first string roster RBs in the NFL.

    Bucs got screwed once again at RB qnd there goes Jason Gump drafting Secondary (DBs) players and wasting draft capital as usual again.

  2. Pugs&Bucs Says:

    🚨🚨🚨You can reference Bucs fans “crying” over picking Howard over Cook, but Cook was the catalyst for a deep Vikings playoff run and Howard’s most memorable moments are literally handing the ball to the other team and catching a foul ball at a Rays game. 🚨🚨🚨

  3. Leighroy Says:

    I disagree. With Winfield now, Evans allegedly becoming healthy, Whitehead, Edwards and Adams. 6 safeties ain’t happening, and 5 is a stretch. I only see room for a vet if Evans hits another setback.

  4. NutterBuccer Says:

    Love this pick joe, as far as adding more players other teams manipulate the cap every year to add veterans (saints) I know the bucs don’t like to do this but with Brady and Gronk now on board wouldn’t it make sense to make an exception. Trading for a guy like Yannick would make sense. I think we still need another pass rusher unless they really think anthony Nelson can do some damage. Marcus Golden I believe is still out there too. A little cheaper and would give us 3 legit pass rushers. Any thoughts?

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    ESPN analysts lauded Buc defensive back coaches several times during the draft as being some of the best in the NFL…

    And, no Joe…..there will be no Vet added to our young DBs…..

    Flying around in Todd Bowles’ defense will be………Winfield, Edwards, Whitehead, SMB, Davis, Dean and “Old Man Evans”…..and maybe a bit of MJ Stewart & “Old Man Ryan Smith”
    Young and fast…..some with size…..exciting….

  6. TBXTBucs Says:

    Yea if Akers and Dobbins become great players we will always remember true pick as the one that cost us our back of the future

  7. AwshBucs Says:

    If you cant see clear as day that Antoine Winfield Jr. is a baller then buddy, you just ain’t got the eye for it son.

    Ever hear of Earl Thomas? Suppose you wouldn’t drafted that “shrimp” either aye Anthem? Winfield may be short but you take one look at him and you can tell he’s solid as a rock.

    The 2 guys BA and Licht are comparing Winfield to? Diminutive in stature. Doesn’t stop them from being playmakers. This kid is no different.

    Matter of fact he is a human missile with innate instincts for making plays on the ball. So, just sit back, try not to hurt yourself thinking too hard, and witness the greatness.

  8. AwshBucs Says:

    Now if you wanna talk crap about Ke’Shawn Vaughn then be my guest. Licht blew it with that pick with Zack Moss staring him in the face.

  9. Doc Says:

    Will someone remind this coach, that he is not back in Arizona,and that he should be drafting player’s that will help this team and not his ego. Please go back to your retirement home and take all those other senior citizens that you signed with you. Also tell that G.M. to stop being a job scared person and become a football G.M. you gonna get fired anyway,because you can not blame Winston for this bad team. This field goal kicker will cost this team two or three wins just like he did last year. Will someone please tell me what this G.M. win lost record.

  10. Sport Says:

    I get It, for those of you in love with certain guys who got media attention, you are going through the 5 stages of grief. And the only way to reach acceptance is by attaching a Super Bowl and/or 10 straight years of probowls for the guy you didn’t see coming. (And especially for you JW hangers-on).

    We are building a really solid team.

    Plus, did you hear Arians post draft presser? He mentioned the gut wrenching disappointment the team felt at the end of last season. The main difference for not being in the playoffs ‘we need to fix the turnover differential’.

    Winfield helps us with that. And so does moving on from JW.

    In BA I Trust!

  11. Dapostman Says:

    Build that defense. If Winfield turns into a Pro Bowl type safety no one will complain.

  12. Imon Says:

    Off topic but breaking… Jameis to Saints?

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Joe thinks the Bucs, even with their limited salary cap room, are likely to add a veteran safety before the games begin in September.”

    I wish that were true Joe, but it’ll be really hard to do without releasing someone making a decent salary (like Brate?). I suspect at this point that TBBF is right … we’ll go ‘young & fast, with some size’.

    I’m not convinced that Justin Evans will make it back, or IF he does, that he’d get a huge amount of defensive snaps. Todd has a whole bunch of flexibility in our Secondary right now … Whitehead, Davis & Stewart in their 3rd year now, Dean, SMB & Edwards in their 2nd year, plus the rookie Winfield AND two experienced DBs (Adams & Ryan Smith) in reserve. Plus there are several ‘sleepers’ who’ve shown good talent IMO: Wilkins & Dixon plus a couple others (Hall & Miller) with excellent size (6’2″).

    In any event, the key to success will STILL be our pass rush. Although our Secondary is young, it’s VERY talented and well-coached. Our LBs are solid, and fast also. It all comes down to our DLine doing well once again against the rush AND putting pressure on opposing QBs. Our DLine starters are solid, but we still need more depth to weather the 20 games it’ll take to win the Super Bowl.

  14. TDTB Says:

    Concerned about Winfield’s size and speed. Chin seemed like a riskier pick but with way more upside to me.

  15. Bobby M. Says:

    Our biggest risk with all these new guys is preparing their bodies for the heat/humidity. That always seems to be our nemesis with at least one of our new players.

  16. Hamsadwitchtime Says:

    We should have signed Winston as backup. Grabber sucks!!! Now mark my words in the next couple years he will kick our ass for a decade! Another Bucs move

  17. Rob in Land O Lakes Says:

    People…Please chill. Our DB’s looked a helluva lot better when JPP came back and we were able to generate a pass rush away from Shaq Barrett. You can empty out the HOF into our secondary and they are going to look average without a pass rush.

    With respect to RB, please name one “bell cow” RB for New England over the last 20 years. Uhh… exactly. James White was the 19th rated RB in 2014, taken in the 4th round and no one in NE is complaining because he does exactly what Brady needs him to. Catch the ball, make the first guy miss and block. And BTW, I think you’ll find Vaughn is better than average RB in the running game. Please chill people. The GOAT has this.

  18. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    I think Jameis Winston signing on the Saints is a good move for him……but it also speaks to one of desperation.

    He obviously thought somehow and someway a team was going sign him to a “starter” type QB contract…………he and his agent severely miscalculated his worth and value; so essentially he took a backup role.

    Everybody here knows Jameis Winston is still an extremely talented QB, but his mental “in between the ears” decision making is a serious #1 concern.

    If somehow he pulls it all together…….some team will have a helluva player on their team for cheap.

  19. David Says:

    Amazing how many “fans” can sit on their couch and predict the future.

  20. Imon Says:

    Brees, Hill, Stevens, Winston? Or is Jameis behind Hill? Can’t really see him being QB2 over Hill? So did he get paid QB2, 3, or 4 money? No matter what it is, the paycheck has to be a mere fraction of what he thought he was going to zing the Glazers for.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I make it a point not to question draft picks until they have had a chance to play at least a few games.

    The only exception in recent years was MJ Stewart…..I simply couldn’t understand why he was picked before Davis…..and to some degree why he was picked at all….JBF posters ridiculed me for that position…..

    As far as Winfield is concerned, don’t blame him for being picked instead of a RB. I’m quite sure he’ll turn out to be a very good Safety/Nickel.

  22. Dapostman Says:

    Bucs Anthem still has Winston Derangement Syndrome.

    He’s not a Buc and the article is clearly not about him but ole Bucs Anthem still pounding on and on like Rob Reiner.

    Clearly a mental case.

  23. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ Tampabaybucfan

    You made my point……………………Jason Gump and his team of talent evaluators absolutely suck at evaluating Defensive Backs.

    Need I remind everyone of the horrible VHGIII……..aka TOAST.

    I didn’t even have a second round grade on VHGIII…… valuation of him was nickle in 3rd of 4th.

    BUT NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO………Jason Gump took VHGIII in the 1st round!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ……and I never got the MJ Stewart pick either.

    Carlton Davis was the only DB pick I agreed with.

  24. mark2001 Says:

    Why would anyone bring up Jameis…he is history? And another part of our miserable history. Just another failed decision made by a poor coach that twisted the GM’s arm to bring in here. He is another Jeff George…nothing more.

    Winfield is 5’9″…so is the Honey Badger. But they are both superior athletes. The guy has all the talent needed to be successful. Can he stay healthy? That is the major issue in my mind.

  25. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    BucsAnthem…Budda Baker, Earl Thomas, Honey Badger, all around the same size as Winfield. Safeties nowadays are smaller. Calling Winfield a shrimp and dismissing him is a poor thought, much less one you brought in the world.

    And what Joe is this? Why are you obsessed with bringing in a vet at corner, safety, or running back?!? Why draft the kids and have them do well if you’re just gonna essentially bench them in favor of a couple bon mots of wisdom in the locker room. Your safeties are Winfield, Whitehead, Edwards, Evans, Stewart, and Adams. What unwanted retread would you like to take away their playing time?!?

  26. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    I am with you on this , Sport.

    I am looking at what BA & JL are working toward together. It really is time to move on from the past here in Tampa Bay.

    I was pleased with the progress in turning things around in Arians’ first year here. Get with program or get out seemed to be a theme last year.

    I see an organization that is truly all in. We are going for the gold, sooner than later. Win now does seem to be a theme this year. I think we have had a spectacular off season so far.

  27. Matt Says:

    Lol these critics will be silenced the first game when Winfield fills on a run blitz and delivers a bone-crushing hit. He will become a fan favorite day 1! Book it!

    RJIII is darn close to 230 and easily as agile as Dobbins. You do realize how many Big runs he had called back and how many unfavorable fronts he ran against right? Don’t be shocked if he has a couple 170-200 apy games this year.

  28. geno711 Says:

    @TBXTBucs Says:
    April 26th, 2020 at 8:30 am
    Yea if Akers and Dobbins become great players we will always remember true pick as the one that cost us our back of the future

    Are you right now saying that they both be great players? I would take that bet all day?

  29. RICHARD weeks Says:

    You so called fans are ridiculous..You bash everything the bucs do.It would not matter who the bucs drafted ,you make believe general managers could of done it better..I cant wait for these rookies to prove all you guys wrong.!

  30. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    And Anthem…the runners weren’t drafted to be first string. Vaughn has a chance but he’s gonna compliment Jones not replace him.

  31. geno711 Says:

    It is so amazing to me that fans are seeing history of success with Tyrian Mathie and Budda Baker and not even giving Antoine Winfield a chance.

    If he ends up close to the same as either of those guys we got a steal.

    P.S. Remember that quote from Winfield watching film with his father. That is one of the transitions from college to pro ball that you don’t know whether a young player will get. This guy already has that.

  32. Pewter Power Says:


    Thanks for the evaluation, scouts aren’t doing most of their evaluation from YouTube, another irrelevant opinion. So so odd how everyone waste so much time thinking they know how to draft and can do better, they aren’t my opinion or yours and for good reason. If your a fan be a fan and root for the players drafted and hope they work out but it’s impossible every pick every year works out

  33. C2asante Says:

    I find wanna be GM’s who overdosed on mock drafts and draft guides hilarious. If you are so much better at talent evaluation and building/coaching a team than the people making six and seven figure salaries to do it at the highest level, why are you still living in your Mothers house getting ready to go to your five figure job tomorrow? It’s great to be a fan and speculate, heck even critique what your team does, but know when to stay in your lane. The only real rationale you have for slamming the Bucs 2nd and 3rd round picks is none of the mocks you read had it that way or rated the player as high as the Bucs did. To leap from that and act as if you are a better GM than Jason Licht is plain silly. If you want to convince everyone here you are the expert go get hired as a GM or talent scout by an NFL team.

  34. SickofLosing Says:

    The argument he’s too small is stupid. As the comps given (Baker and honey badger) are pretty much the same size. Let the kid play

  35. DBS Says:

    Winston is on a 1 yr deal Only thing he is going to do is hold a clipboard. If he does play he will get another coach fired.

  36. WhatTheBuc Says:

    The fake fans and their wannabe GM skills. You guys blew the Bucs up for taking SMB and Dean last year because you didn’t know who they were. Both Dean and SMB were voted rookie CB of the year by various sources. Then you point to a player that was a bust and say “see Licht doesn’t know what he’s doing.” You’re too simple to realize that this is true of every GM throughout the history of the NFL. You’re also too simple to realize that you don’t have all of the information. For those of you saying Winfield is too small, I would refer you to his father who played 14 years in the NFL. We once had a guy named Ronde Barber. Do you remember him? One of you even said Winfield was slow. Do you even watch football?

  37. I Bleed Pewter Says:

    TBXTBucs Says:
    April 26th, 2020 at 8:30 am
    Yea if Akers and Dobbins become great players we will always remember true pick as the one that cost us our back of the future

    uh …Akers was taken before the Bucs picked in the 3rd

  38. firethecannons Says:

    The Chriss Simms you tube top five safeties in nfl 2020 draft is good to listen to–he looks at film we never get and it is telling.

  39. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    This dude had SEVEN picks last year y’all!!! SEVEN!!! Delpit only had what? Two?? …. This dude is small and I worry about him up against Thomas or Jones… One thing I’m not worried about is this dude’s ability to flippin ball man!! This dude is the best ball hawk the bucs ever acquired!! Yes he’s small but he plays with his hair on fire loves the game and is a ball hawk!! Love this pick!! That dude btw got those 7 picks after only playing a handful of games the year before due to ankle injury!! This dude is a natural safety!!!

  40. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    With the addition of Raymond Calais at the very end, our draft rounded out VERY nicely…

    A Franchise Offensive Lineman, our version of the Honey badger, a do-it-all RB who was the best pass blocker on the board, a WR who reminds me of Cris Carter, an athletic Freak D-lineman to develop who runs a 4.75 40 at 308 Lbs and benched 225 for 32 reps, a solid backup LB, and my guy Raymond Calais to be our flashier/faster Dion Lewis (or David Johnson to quote BA)…

    We are winning the Superbowl this year, Bucs Fans….

  41. ©MadMax Says:

    JW wants to get back at us….thats what i see with the 1 yr 3-5 mil deal. He’ll spill everything he can to everyone there. It wont matter much though. Plays will be adjusted more to TB12 anyway. He thinks he’s smart doing this but its actually going to hurt him in the long run with trust from other potential teams. Im sure he wont be there more than a year. They’re paying for intel, not turnovers.

  42. rrsrq Says:

    For those complaining about Vaughn – didn’t we sign Brady to make everyone around him better. So why are we complaining when likely seen him play outside of the YouTube highlights. This guy performed with back to back 1000 yard seasons in the SEC for Vanderbilt.
    Your SB running backs last year: SF Matt Brieda FA and KC Damien Williams undirected FA

  43. PANAMA1638 Says:

    If you think Winfield Jr. is too small take a look at the 2 players Arians was throwing comparisons of, Mathieu is 5’9″ 190lbs and Baker is ‘5’10” 195lbs. If you’re complaining about Vaughn getting drafted go watch some tape and you’ll change your mind.

  44. Darin Says:

    Way to tell him. Beat me to it. Some of the best players of all time are “shrimps”. Cant measure heart kids. You can measure balls but in today’s society that’d be considered too sensitive. All these guys are crying because they wanted a “better” rb. Havnt even seen these guys play with this offense yet. My guess is Ronald Jones is gona blow up. Late bloomer. Well maybe not he’s just very young. Anyway go Winfield.

  45. Scott Says:

    Love the Winfield pick,dude made one of the greatest defensive plays i have ever seen on trick play,can play all over but we still need rb help

  46. 2020 The Year of The GOAT Says:

    If he is anything close to his father …. He will be one of the leading tacklers on the team… 👍

  47. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I guess the person that called Antoine Winfield Jr. a “shrimp” has never seen Darrell Green, Sam Mills, Troy Polamalu, Warrick Dunn, Barry Sanders, or Tyrann Mathieu play football. A famous quote, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”. This kid’s gonna be good.

  48. Day 1-76 Says:

    Antoine Winfield looks like he will be a good player. I’m just so tired of hearing about BA being a genius when his draft history has been horrible. He and Licht need to get to the retirement home ASAP.

  49. Buczilla Says:

    What’s done is done and even though I think we should have gone running back, I’m not going to bash this kid. He was one hell of a playmaker in college. I’ll b!tch again when our running game is wallowing in mediocrity.

  50. Bucs Guy Says:

    The Bucs are over the cap even if they still trade OJ. So who are they going to release or get to renegotiate theie contract? Gronk ain’t worth $10M and it’s his salary that’s the problem. Start with him.

  51. C2asante Says:

    The post below is just plain silly. If you got fired by your employer do you honestly think anyone begrudges you from taking a job offer from a competitor? Get real, he didn’t demand a trade to the Saints, he was let go and free to pursue whatever opportunity he wants…

    ©MadMax Says:
    April 26th, 2020 at 10:57 am
    JW wants to get back at us….thats what i see with the 1 yr 3-5 mil deal. He’ll spill everything he can to everyone there. It wont matter much though. Plays will be adjusted more to TB12 anyway. He thinks he’s smart doing this but its actually going to hurt him in the long run with trust from other potential teams. Im sure he wont be there more than a year. They’re paying for intel, not turnovers

  52. TOM Says:

    Yea Akers was gone when the Bucs picked in the 3rd but he was there when they picked in the 2nd & so was Dobbins. Just another loser Licht 2nd rd pick.