NFL House Organ Not Convinced Zyon McCollum Is Locked In As Starter

May 28th, 2024

Priority, says

As OTA practce No. 4 kicks off today at One Buc Palace, questions about the team are everywhere. OTAs may give the Bucs an idea how to answer these questions when training camp opens in two months.

Is Graham Barton a center?

Who is the left guard?

Who starts opposite YaYa Diaby?

One question on the defense needs an answers, per Kevin Patra of And he believes it is the most important offseason Bucs question.

Who starts at corner opposite Jamel Dean?

Top priority: Sort out corner spots opposite Jamel Dean.

The Bucs traded away Carlton Davis, believing they could cover up for the departure of the high-priced veteran. Dean is a stud, but the question is who will man the opposite side and the nickel slot? Third-year pro Zyon McCollum gets the first shot at outside corner but had a roller-coaster year in 2023, when he got picked on at times but also tied for second on the Bucs in PBUs (nine). Christian Izien manned the slot last season and flashed, but he also occasionally got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Third-round rookie Tykee Smith should be a candidate to play the nickel spot on Day 1. He has the feet to stick with slot receivers and a good nose against the run game. There is talent in the Bucs’ secondary, but it’s mostly unproven.

Believe it or not, Joe isn’t too worried about Tykee Smith. His Georgia tape reminds Joe a lot of Antoine Winfield Jr. when he played for Minnesota. But Smith is not being targeted for Carlton Davis’ old spot, only nickel corner.

In this case, Joe thinks it would be healthy for Zyon McCollum to be in a battle, though it doesn’t sound like it from the words of Bucs coach Todd Bowles last week.

Bowles named McCollum starter 2 1/2 months ago after Davis was traded to Detroit. Bowles considers McCollum a starter since he started nine games at outside corner last year. Still, Joe isn’t won over that McCollum is ready to be consistent.

Joe would hope at least some competition at corner will emerge to drive McCollum to be more consistent.

17 Responses to “NFL House Organ Not Convinced Zyon McCollum Is Locked In As Starter”

  1. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    And not a single mention of Bryce Hall. I honesty think he has a chance to start. Well, we all know Dean will miss 2 games this year.

  2. CleanHouse Says:

    The new corner from the Jets could sneak in there potentially, based upon what you’ve written about him. Would not be shocked if they do more of a rotational thing. Would also mot be shocked if they get torched all season.

  3. Booger Says:

    What about the guy from the Jets… Breece Hall’s Brother!? LoL

  4. Dave Pear Says:

    The kid we got from the Jets, Bryce Hall, will start opposite Dean. No one is talking about him. He and Whitehead know each other, and Jordan can hopefully interpret Bowelese so Bryce can understand it.

    Bryce Hall was one of Jason’s undetected thefts.

    JL is a stud.

  5. dmatt Says:

    Bryce Hall n Tavierre Thomas might be sleepers at corner. They both are head’s up aggressive type players who are not slow to react. McCollum still play confused. Other than the hit he made on Julio Jones, he’s a passive tackler. I’m not bought all in on JDean. He’s slow to react, is passive at tackling for a player his size, and at times play confuse. When he does make a good play, he comes off as if he was shocked he made the play.

  6. Dave Pear Says:

    dmatt- perfect description of a Todd Bowles secondary.


  7. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucs will reap the benefits of all the playing time McCollum received last year.

    Zyon is ready!

    Will he be a shut down CB out the gate? Highly unlikely….

    Will he make some mistakes in coverage? Almost certainly.

    McCollum is still developing….. Its a HUGE jump coming from Sam Houston State Bearkats to the NFL…..

    But if there is 1 Bucs player we should ALL be rooting for to put it all together and substantially outplay his (5th rd) draft position – it’s Zyon McCollum.

    Why? Because this young man is THE PERFECT CB specimen.

    6-2″ – 200 lbs – just turned 25 years old… still on his rookie deal for 2 more years….

    4.33 40 – 39.5″ vertical jump – 11′ broad jump – Elite 3 cone, shuttle, 10 and 20 yard splits…..


    A perfect ’10’ RAS score – Ranked #1 out of 2073 CBs drafted from 1987 to present.

    Which guarantees nothing….. but its a hell of a starting point.

    The only good thing about Davis and Dean missing multiple games each last year was that McCollum played more live snaps than either ‘starter’. And we all saw a big jump in Zyon’s ability to do what is expected of an NFL CB last year compared to his rookie year in 2022 when he looked damn near lost out there….

    Coming into year 3, Zyon will make another big jump – receiving ‘starter’ practice snaps throughout OTAs, Training Camp and Preseason.

    Sure Bryce Hall seems on paper like a nice pick up for the price. And we better all hope he’s ready for prime time in this defense as well – because Dean is bound to miss at least a handful of games – and leave the field hurt in 2 or 3 others….

  8. Capt.Tim Says:

    Zyon Played more snaps last year than either “lazy days” Dean
    Or “tub diver” Davis.
    He was our #1 Starting CB last year.
    Im sure Kevin Patra looked at the trade announcement, looked up Davis.
    Saw he had been a starter- and made the Typical lazy leap that we needed a starter.

    He was right that Zyon got picked on. But that was because he was the starter!
    Hard to pick on Davis, when hes in the Ice bath playing on his phone!

    Zyon is bigger and faster than either one of our part time CBs. Licht and Bowles have both said they got rid of Davis, because Zyon had taken his spot.
    Thats what is SUPPOSED to happen. You draft a talented young kid, to replace a used up lazy vet.
    The Davis age is over. Its Zyon time.
    And Deans contract made it hard to trade or release this year, but I think next year may be Brice time. And Dean can go relax in the Browns or Commanders training room.

    There is no mystery at left CB. Zyon was and is the starter.
    Only mystery is if Dean last out the Season, before he loses his job

  9. garro Says:

    I hope Baker and Coen pick on him alot from now till September. Our opponents will be.

    Go Bucs!

  10. Fred Says:

    NOT a Dean fan. Too many mistakes and attitude.

  11. Dude Says:

    Zyon looked good at times, and at other times looked like a 2nd yr player. With yr 3 loading for him, hope he’s dedicating his time to refining his game because if he can teach himself to start reading WRs body language to trigger getting his head around, its PBU city for that kid. This year, I want to see if McCollum is as smart as his play projected(at times) last season and if he can take a few steps forward in his development. I’m excited about him.

  12. Dave Pear Says:

    I’m cheering for Zyon, Bryce, all of them. I think Hall is our other starting CB. Zyon will get a lot of snaps and continue to get better as long as he doesn’t play confused like dmatt pointed out above. I wish he didn’t look like future male cosmetics designer JTS.

    Given the scheme, it’s likely everyone will play confused.

  13. Scotty Mack Says:

    Honestly, I think the Bucs are much improved at the CB position this year. Not even a slight worry unless there is no pass rush (our true weak spot on defense).

  14. PNW Buc Says:

    Stefon Gilmore is still available if training camp comes around and we’re still concerned about our starting CBs.

  15. Fred McNeil Says:

    McCollum won’t start if Hall can be at him. That said, Hall is a step or two slower. Good problem to have.

  16. ChiBuc Says:

    @ Pickrin: you just describe Capt James Austin. Sign me up, I’m getting a McCollum jersey!

  17. Jake been there since the beginning Says:

    Dean got paid and laid on down. Kinda like some of the guys that were just getting paid, the last few years. Come to Tampa and collect a check for getting ” hurt ” retirement team/ home. Bliorg.