Antoine Winfield, Jr.: I’m Starting At Free Safety

May 9th, 2020

New Bucs safety Antoine Winfield, Jr.

It seems the Bucs’ goal is to roll with a 21-year-old safety and a 23-year-old safety to kick off the 2020 season.

Second-round pick Antoine Winfield Jr. was talking yesterday and said the Bucs have identified his position — for now.

“I talked to my safeties coach, Coach Rapone, and he kind of told me my role. I’m going to be used as the free safety in the [inaudible],” Winfield told WDAE radio. “And so right now I’m pretty much learning as much as I can about the position.”

No shock here, given that Winfield played safety in college at the University of Minnesota. However, the Bucs have compared undersized Winfield to former Arians safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Budda Baker; both started their Cardinals careers as primarily nickel cornerbacks.

Immediately after being drafted, Winfield said he thought free safety and nickel were his fits. Given the shortened offseason because of The Sickness, Joe suspects there won’t be the usual amount of cross-training of rookies in 2020.

Winfield, 21, would team at safety with third-year man Jordan Whitehead, Joe presumes. The Bucs are holding out hope that Justin Evans can recover from his various foot injuries and compete.

Joe really liked a one-liner from Winfield while talking about his focus on academics and football growing up. He said it’s just an extension of his mentality, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

34 Responses to “Antoine Winfield, Jr.: I’m Starting At Free Safety”

  1. Sarasota Garey Says:

    If Justin Evans returns, along with the addition of Winfield, the Bucs secondary should be considerably better from last year.

  2. Chuckstutz Says:

    Just an extension of his mentality. Great quote. I like this young man. Gd luck to him.

  3. Dewey Selmon Says:

    As he should. who started the rumor of him being a nickelback?

  4. ATrain Says:

    I believe this will be an excellent pick for Bucs

    I think a lot of energy and big hits coming

  5. ncbucsfan Says:

    Him and Whitehead at safety…..okay! Whitehead has to improve in coverage though! The good thing is Greg Olsen and Austin Hooper are gone in our division, but Jared Cook is a weapon at TE for the Saints that we need to figure out how to cover!! I’d put Jamel Dean over him when we play the Saints. Murphy-Bunting can play Emanuel Sanders and Carlton has to find a way against Michael Thomas. Our secondary just needs to make plays against Brees week 1 and we will be 1-0.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We had the hole at Safety, not at Nickel… to start at S is preferable……and, who said he is a starter, his coach, Bowles, BA or Winfield……
    Confidence or Arrogance?…….actually, I like both… have to perform when you declare yourself a starter.

  7. QUE589 Says:

    Excellent draft pick

  8. AwShbucs Says:

    Only makes sense for him to be at free safety considering how dominant Sean Murphy-Bunting became at Nickel last season.

    With Winfield at FS, that leaves Jordan White at SS, Carlton Banks and Jamel Dean at outside Corner, and Murphy bunting at nickel/ relief for Davis or Dean on the outside.

    Depth at DB being Justin Evan’s, Mike Edwards, Ryan Smith and MJ Stewart. Not bad considering all of them used to be starting and all can be great special teamers.

  9. Casual Observer Says:

    I suspect this guy will become a star – soon.

  10. Buc4evr Says:

    It’s all just talk until he gets on the field.

  11. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    I really hope Justin Evans can come back. I think he showed a lot of promise.

  12. Joe Says:

    I really hope Justin Evans can come back. I think he showed a lot of promise.

    Don’t lose too much sleep. Gotta figure if the Bucs had any confidence Justin Evans could come back they wouldn’t have drafted Winfield.

  13. Afo Says:

    @Buc4ever watch his tape before spitting gibberish here

  14. Afo Says:

    Bucs might cut Justin Evans, he won’t be the same when he comes back and his frequent injury have put the team in a lot of jeopardy

  15. Adrnagy Says:

    I’m starting to relax with a six pack of lagunitas. Let me know when we are real contender for years to come. Not a one year wonder.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Makes sense for the Bucs to teach Winfield the safety position first, given the shortened training season. But I don’t see anything in what Winfield told WDAE that indicates that he’d be the STARTING FREE SAFETY; only that Rapone indicated that he’d be used as a safety, and so that’s where he’s START OFF. Obviously, he’ll start at that position. Joe was very clear. Short offseason for cross-training.–Joe

    Todd Bowles defense is about COMPETITION. Ask any of our 2019 rookie CBs (Dean, SMB) who couldn’t get on the field until TB felt they were ready. Heck, ask VHIII what he thinks about the Secondary COMPETITION. Or Mike Edwards, who started off at Safety, but couldn’t hold the position & ended up playing nickel then some safety again. And I don’t think Winfield’s bragging, he’s just relaying what his position coach told him about the first position he’d learn. Some folks read too much into things.

    Also think that Mike Edwards will do a lot better this year, although I think he’ll split time at Safety & nickel. Another guy who folks shouldn’t sleep on is Andrew Adams. He did start 11 games last year, which is pretty good considering that we didn’t even sign him last year until Sep 10th. And he does have 5 INTs in 2 years with us, more than any other DB. I don’t think TB would’ve re-signed him unless he had confidence in him to start if need be.

  17. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    Ok Adrnagy leave your number, we will call you. Feel free to stay away until then.

  18. DaBux Says:

    His father taught him well.

  19. JimmyJack Says:

    The guy we might all be sleeping on is Mike Edwards. Deservedly so because he was not very effective last year. But I think they still like this guy and a full year of experience can make a big difference.

    If Edwards wins the job he probably won’t be a starter but will see a lot of snaps on passing downs. If not we still got Andrew Adams around and he is solid.

    Maybe the hurt guy comes back but he basically a after thought for me. Not even worried about that guy til he can even get onto the field. Til then I’m focusing on the other guys we got.

  20. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    I have never seen a fanbase be this outright negative. A team contending for years to come doesn’t happen maybe on 10% of NFL teams it can happen for a while. Honestly once again if you miss Jay Miss this much go to saints boards and start posting on them.

  21. AwShbucs Says:

    Ardnagy when we win the Superbowl at home this year you’ll see it was worth it.

  22. kgh4life Says:

    The Bucs have some talented DB’s in the secondary, however, they’re really young, I was hoping the Bucs would’ve brought in a veteran to shore up the back-end but it seems they want their DB’s to get as much playing time as possible. We all saw how the secondary struggled early last season, hopefully that experience helped them out.

  23. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Winfield will be a baller at FS. The kid just makes plays. Also, I think Edward’s will make a jump this season. But we have plenty of depth and competition for both safety positions, and that’s not even including Evan’s. IF, and yes it’s a big if, Evan’s can get healthy. Him and Winfield would really work well together imo. Evan’s at SS playing in the box and Winfield making plays behind. Could be fun to watch. Winfield can play all over tho so I really look forward to watch him develop over the next few years.

  24. Cobraboy Says:

    I like the swagger. Just back it up on the field.

    CB’s Law of Rhetorical Economics I: The reason “talk is cheap” is because the supply exceeds the demand.

  25. Jason Mclaurin Says:

    Well he never said anything about starting but he did say he will be free safety. He and Whitehead will be the starters at safety come day one with Edwards and Adams backing them up. Evans will be the all world wild card I feel. If he’s healthy and can find a way to stay on the field in limited roles like special teams with Stewart and Smith in a rotation to keep everyone fresh early in those Florida afternoon games. As well he can spell in with the starters as well helping bring along the young guys like Edwards and Winfield in a backup rotation. You ask me the day Evans returns I would see if he could still be a starter. If not just move him to special teams. Evans is in the final year of his contract the team may as well try to squeeze some juice from him while he’s on a budget deal. They shouldn’t move on from him and Stewart who has underperformed as well. Instead just move the two to special teams with Smith. I think they will thrive on the kickoff team. They now have a solid secondary unit now though it appears especially with sleeper Parnell Motley in the fold. Someone will stop the bleeding that’s for sure

  26. Sport Says:

    Ard – read the last sentence of the article and reread your post.

    Only interpretation I can come up with is you are a lazy, cranky drunk.

    In BA I Trust!

  27. David Says:

    Man it would be awesome if Justin Evans returned healthy. Evans and whitehead both show a lot of potential. Just like the young corners.

  28. SOEbuc Says:

    I’ll go with the Bowel’s pick in the second round at free safety and nickel. Gonna be a hawk.

  29. Cainishere Says:

    The Secondary is the Buccaneers greatest weakness that seems to be turning into one of the Buccaneers greatest strengths. GO BUCS!!!

  30. PoundTheRock Says:

    The secondary should be a strength with the amount of draft capital spent in the last 3 drafts. A ton of capital!

    2021 draft priority should be DL, Edge, QB, LB, OL

    2022 draft CB Stingley (LSU). Burrow says he was the best player/most talented player on their National Championship team, and he was a freshman!

  31. Bucsfanman Says:

    This was a solid pick. I like the mentality. Great quote too! I swear I’m stealing it!

    “How you do anything is how you do everything!”

  32. Buchead588 Says:

    So my ? Is why everyone thinks it’s going to be Dean an Davis starting on the Outside if I’m not mistaken I’m pretty sure SMB is as starting on the Outside last year way before Dean could see the field I think SMB will start with Davis an they might move SMB to Nickel when Dean comes in but Dean also played In slot last year and did great there to

  33. Brandon Says:

    AwShbucs Says:
    May 9th, 2020 at 2:08 pm
    Only makes sense for him to be at free safety considering how dominant Sean Murphy-Bunting became at Nickel last season.

    With Winfield at FS, that leaves Jordan White at SS, Carlton Banks and Jamel Dean at outside Corner, and Murphy bunting at nickel/ relief for Davis or Dean on the outside.

    Carlton Banks? Wasn’t that the name of Alfonso Ribeiro’s character on Fresh Prince?

  34. diggler Says:

    Poor Evans that wheel is busted. Hope he can come back. Whitehead can be an incredible player. This will be a fun battle to watch!