Worst Secondary In The NFC South Ranking Pinned On Bucs

July 21st, 2023

The following is part of the reason a lot of analysts are down on the Bucs’ prospects of winning more than six games this season.

Former Bucs scout and Jets linebackers coach and personnel chief Pat Kirwan engaged this week in a detailed breakdown of every NFC South defensive backfield on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Regular listeners of Kirwan know that he’s not a hot-take artist, and they also know he’s a big fan of Bucs head coach Todd Bowles.

Kirwan has a scoring system to grade a secondary entering a season and the Bucs came up short, worst in the NFC South and it wasn’t close. The methodology gives a hearty weight to depth, and that’s where the Bucs really bombed.

Also, Kirwan wouldn’t give top grades to Carlton Davis or Ryan Neal, but Jamel Dean got a perfect score as a No. 2 cornerback and Antoine Winfield Jr. got the max grade for being the teams’ No. 1 safety. Davis got the same grade as Panthers’ top-dog cornerback Jaycee Horn. Obviously, the Bucs didn’t score well at nickel cornerback.

Joe likes the Bucs’ secondary and it could be special if two of the big four play to their extraordinary capabilities.

Still, Joe can’t argue with Kirwan’s scoring. The Bucs have highly questionable depth in the secondary and Davis, Dean and Winfield have combined to miss 23 games over the past two seasons.

57 Responses to “Worst Secondary In The NFC South Ranking Pinned On Bucs”

  1. HC Grover Says:

    The Bowles Curse

  2. SlyPirate Says:

    Graded down because of depth?


    So the Chiefs get the worst graded QB because of Blaine Gabbert?

    CDII, Dean, Winfield, Neal
    That’s the top 5 the best starting four in the league.


  3. Stanglassman Says:

    17 x 3 x 3= 153 or 15% or about 2.5 games per year. That’s about average games missed injury rate for all the players across the NFL.

    Ranking the Bucs secondary this low is ridiculous. Overall depth and nickel are concerns but that’s what camp is for.

  4. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    How good is McCollum?

    It’s a big question.

    If he can step up and run with the 1s the Bucs will be in good shape.

  5. Miller5252 Says:

    If they do ball out this year, Joe and everyone here is going to have to give them a cool name like legion of boom. I really think the big key is for them to stay healthy this year. It just seems like 1 to 2 a year is missing too many games. Plus, they may give the Dline an extra second to get to the QB this year. Our Dline is going to need all the extra time they can get this year unless the rookies and Hall cover for JTS crappy play. Plus no idea how Shaq is going to do after the injury and tragic event. He could just give up this year, and we would all understand.

  6. APiratesLife Says:

    No need to worry. We have Faker Mayfield at qb.

  7. Miller5252 Says:

    Joe, how come the second to newest podcast, has Devin white in the title, isn’t working on this site or playing on the Apple site? Says it’s not available. Had 16 hours of drive time yesterday and was trying to get caught up with no luck.

  8. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Nonsense…how does anyone think we made the playoffs last season with a bottom 5 offense?….magic?

    Teams struggled to pass and score points on the Bucs for much of last season and it will likely continue to happen unless the pass rush fails.

    As for the nickel spot, what’s Leonard Johnson up to?

  9. Beej Says:

    You put either Dean or Davis on Jamar Chase, and he doesn’t get any passes. I’m not sure how that’s not relevant

  10. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    ‘Swiss cheese’ secondary; athletically average, but communication highly suspect, to the point one wonders do they even talk to each other during the week at all?
    It’s a highly detailed league the nfl, and failure manifests in many forms.

  11. Buc4evr Says:

    Improve the pass rush and the secondary will look a lot better.

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    Wow – if he hates our secondary tell him to please ignore our QBs and RBs…


    Our starting DBs are solid the depth is downright dismal…

    Most teams in the NFL are in similar situations. Solid starters and questionable depth.

  13. Elita Vita Says:

    Well if each of our groupings are the worst, or near the worst, why don’t they just “gift” us Caleb Williams and save some time

  14. ATLBuc Says:

    I LOVE it!! More bulletin board material for the Grave Diggers!!!

  15. godlovesbucs Says:

    A depth argument is a bad argument. When a team is evaluated, it is or should be based on their starters. You win and lose games on the backs of the starting 22. Even if you have backups play due to injuries, it is the other starters that usually step up and take more responsibility to help the replacement player be put in favorable positions to succeed. For example, if Godwin gets hurt, Evans, the TE, and the RB target count will go up along with Russel gage. They would not try to have Gage become a 100+ catcher overnight

  16. Canabuc Says:

    Well considering how fast McCollum and Dean are why don’t we call them the Legion of zoom.

  17. SOEbuc Says:

    One thing idiots don’t realize about Bowles HC is he is still amazing DC and secondary coach. Number ten (Dean) and number five (Neal) press coverage plus CDIII and Weinfild? “Don’t care about Vegas.” Unfortunately unless McCollum can produce as a year two depth, him and Delany are guaranteed L against a Trask type QB (practice squad).

  18. Destinjohnny Says:

    Ole destin johnny been talking about the lack of talent for a long time
    Funny how it works, everyone blames the coach when it’s A talent problem

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    How the media ranks various aspects of the Bucs in July won’t impact our W-L record one iota come January. Kirwan does have a point though about depth. And not just in the Secondary. Not much that Todd Bowles can do about that except work even harder to develop the talent that JL has stocked this team with.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan … ‘How good is McCollum?’

    I was wondering the same thing. I didn’t realize he’s as tall as he is (Bucs list him at 6’2″ but PFR lists him at 6’4″) or as fast as he is (4.33 sec 40-yd at the Combine). He made the typical rookie mistakes last season, but he did get some decent experience (13 games with 277 def snaps & 228 S/Ts snaps). I’d guess that the nickel battle will be between McCollum & Delaney, unless of course Bucs re-sign Logan Ryan (really liked how he played nickel).

  21. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Remember, there is the 40 time fast
    Then there is football fast.
    Aka Jerry Rice.
    If memory serves, Jerry Rice ran a slow 40 timed.
    But put that man on the football field, and he seemed to always get behind coverege going away.

  22. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    “I’d guess that the nickel battle will be between McCollum & Delaney, unless of course Bucs re-sign Logan Ryan ”

    How dare you forget NFL draft pick #181!


  23. Pewter Power Says:

    Man that depth nonsense drives me nuts and doesn’t apply to every position. What happened to Donnie Abraham when Brian Kelly was drafted? He got traded….where are all these teams with quality starters sitting on the bench as backups? Did all the other division teams rank higher because of depth?

    Having said that it’s their fault for not getting interceptions but to be fair as much as they were on the field they were bound to wear down towards the end of the season

  24. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Cooper Kupp is another one.
    He ran a 4.62 -40 at the combine and was drafted after Chris Godwin in the 3rd round because of that slow combine time..
    But put him on the football field, and look out nancy.
    Seldom do you see him not get behind his coverege.
    Point being some people just have an extra gear on the field playing live.

  25. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Bring back the lawn chairs

    Godwin ran a 4.42 – 40 yard dash at the NFL combine…

    We just got very lucky it was a WR rich draft when we picked Godwin in the 3rd round.

  26. Joe in Michigan Says:

    We’ll see.

  27. Fred McNeil Says:

    I don’t wanna hear about Bromosas ever again, no matter how good they taste. I want whatever that space cadet is drinking. Must be 101% pure Sterno and 102% mushroom tea.
    That clown clown couldn’t count his cherry pits and come up with the same answer twice.
    I hope the BUCS have a bulletin board the size of the Titanic.

  28. Fred McNeil Says:

    I don’t wanna hear about beer ever again, no matter how good they taste. I want whatever that space cadet is drinking. Must be 101% pure Sterno and 102% mushroom tea.
    That clown clown couldn’t count his cherry pits and come up with the same answer twice.
    I hope the BUCS have a bulletin board the size of the Titanic.

  29. Fred McNeil Says:

    BTW. I do code in C and C++, and giving away my age … COBOL. The code you mentioned is likely proprietary to your outdated comment software that hasnt changed in all the years I’ve followed this site.

  30. destinjohnny Says:

    Hey who does there drafting ??? Lets make sure we blame the coaches not him

  31. Pickgrin Says:

    Defense Rules – If you didn’t know about Zyon’s length or 40 time – then you probably also didn’t know that McCollum received a perfect score for athleticism prior to the draft. He wasn’t just #1 in his class of 2022 for an athleticism score – he was #1 CB scored of ALL TIME!

    4.33 – 40 yd dash
    1.52 – 10 yard split
    6.48 – 3 cone drill
    39.5″ – vertical jump
    11.0′ – long jump

    Those #s taken as a whole are just incredible!

    This kid is fast as hell, insanely quick, unbelievably agile and his explosiveness is flat out off the charts.

    If Zyon ever develops into an NFL player that can cover well and goes after the ball – he has God given athletic abilities that no one else on the planet has.

  32. gotbbucs Says:

    When they’re all on the field together we’re good. Problem is, that’s probably only about 15% of the season if we’re lucky.

  33. Craig Says:

    It will all come down to the pass rush.

    If Kancey can make a difference the Bucs can win

    Even the great DBs can’t hold out if the pass rush is weak.

    The Bucs like bump and run guys. That gives the D-line some space, now the team needs to use it.

  34. Oddball Says:

    Oh for christs sake. It’s called complementary football.

    You can’t hang one position’s short comings without examining those that support it.

    Numbers ain’t $h1t unless they include all variables that determine the outcome.

  35. First Name Greatest Says:

    Licht is not getting his money’s worth over resigning and over paying for draft picks he is fooled into thinking are good in the secondary. Gotta clean house after this year.

  36. geno711 Says:

    I think that at DB, Kirwin might be on to something.

    It is a position with some of the most injuries across the league every year. So you do need depth to be good.

    Again, every year DB’s and safeties miss games because of injuries. That is not a Buc’s thing. That is an NFL thing. That position has maybe the highest potential for injury.

    Hopefully McCollum takes a step forward and our lack of depth is not exposed.

  37. Idroolpewter&red Says:

    I gotta wholeheartedly disagree with Kirwan. Our secondary should be a huge strength for us this season, regardless of depth.

  38. garro Says:

    I have to agree with Kirwin becuse of the lack of depth thing. Also because our starters do miss games. Plus nobody knows who is gonna man the nickel spot.
    Kirwan is no dummy and is rarely someone I dissagree with.

    However that does not mean that a couple of guys cant get that lightbulb moment this year.

    McCollum, has all the tools. Delaney needs to step up but has ball skills. Hayes has been mentioned a couple of times already…we shall see.

    Go Bucs!

  39. Defense Rules Says:

    Pickgrin … ‘This kid is fast as hell, insanely quick, unbelievably agile and his explosiveness is flat out off the charts.’

    I’m getting more & more impressed with his POTENTIAL, and really hope that he can take a big step forward this year. Same thing with Delaney BTW; he’s shown flashes of being really good in the past. Problem is he’s shown flashes of being really bad also. But he like McCollum has excellent POTENTIAL. Josh Hayes seems like a likely nickel CB, but I purposely keep my expectations of later round draft picks (6th Rnd) low & just hope to be surprised. Rarely does that happen rookie year it seems.

    We’ve got several other undrafted guys (Chesley, Gardner, Isaac, Lowe, Pitts) who are mostly from small schools. Delaney fell into that group back in 2018 (from the Citadel); couldn’t catch on with the Jags or Commanders, but has stuck with us for 2 years. Bowles must see something in him that he feels he can work with.

  40. stpetebucfan Says:

    Some people like to simply blow it out their backside. If simply posting (pick your player or coach) sucks…if you need to vent fine.

    But this thread contains JBF at it’s best. Two of my favorite posters D.R. and Pickgrin engage in an intellectual (dare I say that on a sports blog lol) discussion.
    They bring actual information to back up their thoughts and opinions.

    Thanks guys we need more like you and there are certainly others but we can never have enough to offset the “He sucks ” crowd.

  41. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Most everything depends on Zion….

  42. teacherman777 Says:

    Zion will never be a good nickle.

    He’s an outside CB project.

    We need a 5-10 nickle who can hit!

    A like short and shifty nickles who are tough as nails.

    We need to find Ronde Barber 2.0.

    Hopefully Geno Hayes’s nephew will be that nickle.

    But as a rookie?

    I’m not so sure.

    And who is our #4 CB after Delaney?

    We don’t have anybody!

  43. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I think if Josh Hayes can handle the mental side well he has the best chance and has the best physical gifts to be the nickel. He’s 6 foot 195 with 4.4 speed and his ability to tackle in college was more like a LB/ strong safety than a CB.

    Agree with the other sentiments about Zyon exclusively being an outside CB prospect.

  44. Duane Says:

    None of this matters. The opinions of media talking heads do not matter. Preseason lists and prospective rankings do not matter.

    The only things that matter happen on the field for 60 minutes 17 times a season.

    That’s why they play the games,

    Engaging in argument for or against the media talking heads is a waste of brain cells.

  45. Eric Says:

    Calm down it’s an opinion and opinions are like (insert proper term) we all have one’

  46. TOMMY MORDUE Says:


  47. TOMMY MORDUE Says:


  48. TOMMY MORDUE Says:


  49. Infomeplease Says:

    Depth, at least for the Bucs, does seem very important!! How many injuries have sidelined them all the past 2 years? Plus we lost SMB in free agency . The newer draft picks need to pick up their game!!!! Especially with Winfield having concussion issues similar to Tua! Lose 1 or 2 of the starters, for an extended time, and the Bucs may be in for a very long season!! IMO!

  50. BigMacAttack Says:

    How do you rank a Secondary without factoring in the Defensive Line production? I’m not sure you can. You can make an educated guess on what a unit’s performance will be, but that’s what it is, darts thrown at a wall. Kirwan should have qualified his ranking by starting with “This is a crap shoot as I try to predict the future, and there’s a high probability that I may end up looking like an idiot.

  51. Fred McNeil Says:

    Everybody worries about depth…except the Eagles. They have incredible depth.

  52. destinjohnny Says:

    Ya the GM who created he problem will fix it. I wonder if VH3 is available ?

  53. teacherman777 Says:

    Marcus Peters doesn’t tackle.

    Bowles wants big corners who hit.

  54. Rod Munch Says:

    Winfield can be the best safety in football. Davis and Dean are both plus starters. But yeah, beyond them, you got a bunch of nobodies, and yes, that includes the guy the Seahawks dumped for nothing rather than keep as a cheap RFA.

  55. ScottyMack Says:

    I’ve said it before… the Bucs have ZERO depth at any position on the field except, ironically, offensive guard. With no injuries, the Bucs will be just fine. That seldom happens, though, which will probably be the team’s downfall this year.

  56. Ben Harvey Says:

    Worsr secondary at staying healthy is all.

  57. Bojim Says:

    The defensive line made it easier for these guys in the SB. Never felt confident. Cept Winfield. Maybe Davis.