Projected Record-Breaker Antoine Winfield, Jr.

July 6th, 2023

While a certain player grading system is highly questionable in its methodology, it can make a little sense to look at those grades over several years to spot a trend.

Joe is referring to the grades handed out for every player in every game by the PFF Tribe, aka Pro Football Focus. Joe doesn’t take them seriously because the methodology isn’t clear and neither are the qualifications of whomever is deciding, say, whether Robert Hainsey had the correct blocking assignment on a 4th-and-2 running play. And, of course, the grader doesn’t know how the player was coached to perform.

Regardless, broad generalities can be pulled from the PFF Tribe grades once in a while. And this might be one of those times.

The PFF Tribe keeps close track of their grades and PFF Tribesman Trevor Sikkema, the former Bucs beat reporter, noted the season record for a safety in run defense was set last season by part-time Titans safety Joshua Kalu, who got a 93.7 grade for the season from the Tribe. (Joe had to laugh. Kalu is still on the street as a 27-year-old free agent.) But Sikkema then made the case for Bucs safety Antoine Winfield to break that all-time record this season, noting Winfield’s steady annual improvement in run defense grades that are in the elite category.

Sikkema believes Winfield is likely to up his career-high grade from last year (89.2) while moving back to free safety and working his magic with smart angles to ball carriers and anticipation. Winfield played a ton of nickel cornerback last season, which won’t happen in 2023.

Again, Joe’s not sure about the grading rubbish, but it certainly is fair to assume Winfield’s stellar young career is on the upswing. Throw in him playing in a contract year in a more comfortable position, and Winfield should be headed back to the Pro Bowl if he can avoid another concussion.

14 Responses to “Projected Record-Breaker Antoine Winfield, Jr.”

  1. JOE 2.0 Says:

    Pinpointing the Missing Link: Bucs’ Dismal Run Defense”

    As we delve deeper into the off-season and look toward the upcoming 2023 NFL season, the Buccaneers’ run defense leaves a lot to be desired. Last season was not up to the par for a Todd Bowles-led defense, and it’s hard not to notice the cracks that showed up in the Bucs’ previously rock-solid defensive front.

    According to data from Pro Football Reference, the Buccaneers’ run defense gave up an average of 4.5 yards per carry in the 2022 season, ranking them a lowly 22nd in the league. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, such stats are less than stellar and certainly a cause for concern.

    When dissecting this situation, one can’t ignore the impact of a subpar edge rush. The lack of a threatening presence at the edge made it easier for opposing offenses to lean heavily on their run game, exacerbating the Bucs’ woes.

    This begs the question: how does the team turn this around? In April’s draft, Bowles and general manager Jason Licht clearly acknowledged this deficiency by loading up on picks for the front-seven. The influx of young talent like rookie defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, alongside established players like Vita Vea, should theoretically provide the push needed to plug up running lanes and impose more of a threat on the edge.

    However, the effectiveness of these changes will only be determined when the rubber meets the road. As the new season draws near, a marked improvement in the Bucs’ run defense will be key to their success. Let’s hope the changes in personnel will bring about the desired effect and propel the Buccaneers back to their place as a top-tier run-stopping force.

  2. SlyPirate Says:

    The entire backfield looks awesome: CDIII, Dean, Win, Neal

    If we get push upfront, this defense will create a name for itself.

  3. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I like Winfield. I’ll boldly predict that back in his natural position he’s going to have an 8 int and 5 sack season.

  4. Bojim Says:

    The concussions bother me. Hope he stays safe.

  5. teacherman777 Says:

    Both of corners get hurt every year.

    We don’t have a legit #3 outside CB anymore. SMB is gone.

    Zion is our #3?


    Once again, we don’t have a proven nickle.

    And we don’t have a solid #3 CB.

  6. Seattle Buc is back in TB Says:

    Teacher man is right. Who is our #3 corner? Who is our nickle. Will 45 get pushed 25 yards backwards against the run again this year?

  7. Dooley Says:

    “Teacher man is right. Who is our #3 corner?”

    3rd-5th CB Candidates going into training camp are:

    -Dee Delaney
    -Don Gardner ’22 UDFA
    -Zion McCollum
    -Keenan Isaac ’23 UDFA
    -Duron Lowe
    -Anthony Chesely
    -Derrick Pitts

    Decent mix of veterans and young CBs. McCollum can 100% be a NB in this scheme, he’s brings more to the table than SMB in terms of athleticism, but I’m guess we’re still waiting to see how high a note he’ll finish this offseason with. Like watching Don Gardner play last season and curious to see what strides he’s made in the last year since being plucked off the UDFA wire. Keenan Isaac I’ve read almost nothing but good things about from multiple sources and I’m really curious to see what we got in Derrick Pitts. We’ve got 6 CBs(for now) behind Davis & Dean to compete for the last 2-3 openings in the CB room. Chesley & are probably going to work the hardest to earn actual roster spots.

  8. Dooley Says:

    *7 CBs

  9. Mosey Says:

    SMB was the man !!!!

  10. J Says:

    It’s a good thing smart folks like Canales believe in PFF. It silences all that outside noise.

  11. fred Says:


  12. Herbiebuc Says:

    I think what teacherman is trying to say is we don’t have a #3 corner 🤔

  13. garro Says:

    I could find enough stats to justify that my grandma could replace Jensen and have an All Pro year. If Ilooked at enough of these so called stat experts grades.

    Go Bucs!

  14. Joker's Paradigm Says:

    Love watching Antoine play. He has mad Moxie. Here’s to it being contagious on the team. Go Bucs!