“Zyon Looks Great”

June 19th, 2024

Has Zyon McCollum found greatness?

So a Buccaneer recently was asked to name his early pick for a breakout defensive player in 2024. And he wouldn’t pick one.

Joe’s talking about linebacker K.J. Britt’s chat on The Sick – Pirate Parlay podcast.

Britt said he sees the entire defense breaking out based on individual improvement. He named a few players specifically, including newcomer/returning safety Jordan Whitehead. “I’m so happy to see J-White back at practice,” Britt said of Whitehead.

But Britt did throw extra love to one player, for whatever that’s worth before training camp.  “Zyon [McCollum] looks great,” he said.

What intriguged Joe was Britt seemingly implying with his tone of voice that the Bucs defense has better offseason focus in 2024.

Is that because Devin White was dumped?

“You can kind of see everbody wants to get better this year. It kind of looks different this year,” Britt said.

27 Responses to ““Zyon Looks Great””

  1. JimBobBuc Says:

    Yep, I think Devin was a cancer in last years TC, Neal is gone, and J-White is back. Zyon was given the starting job in the offseason by Bowles and is feeling it. Britt’s feeling optimistic. Hit the Juggs guys!

  2. CleanHouse Says:

    Defense kinda reminds me of what Bowles did with our young DB room before our Super Bowl run. He just started them all young and it ended up progressing in the right direction. A bit uneasy about it all, but I’m willing to give Bowles the benefit of the doubt on the defensive personnel… for now.

  3. Jonny Says:

    Even if a player gets awarded to be a starter because of his high draft status no matter how much he stinks week in and week out, his colleagues are bound to lose faith in the coaching staff and management that hardwork and results will translate to more playing time. Devin White himself may not have been the cancer, but Bowles and his assistant coaches’ tendencies to not bench him 2 years prior was the true cancerous thing that may have happened on defense.

  4. Dude Says:

    McCollum is going to get tested often and early playing opposite of Dean, but that should be something he can handle pretty much moonlighting as the every man last season getting reps at CB, nickel, & saftey. Hopefully having less on his plate intellectually in terms of playing in multiple spots will allow him to play looser and faster focusing on being just a boundary CB.

  5. BillyBucco Says:

    You don’t bench a guy that played like White in 2020. Especially the playoffs.
    Same thing with Shaq and hoping he hits his stride again. There is NOT a single player that viewed them starting badly. True competition IS a beautiful thing. Everyone should feel like they have a chance at certain positions. Not sure Latreal Jones feels that way at WR for instance but who cares. We are LOADED at WR. There are potentially 5 CBs that COULD start and are trying to win a job they feel they can. Dean, McCollum, Hall, Hayes, Funderburk. Thomas, Smith and Izien at Nickel. Banks safety 3. Deloach at LB. That’s just on defense.
    These guys are hungry and lead by 5 guys who won a SB.

  6. SlyPirate Says:

    “It looks different this year,” Britt said.


    The entire mood of the team is an inherent motivation to be great. Usually the offseason is boring but we’ve read so many articles about guys putting in extra effort to dramatically improve. Vea, Zyon, Mauch, Goedeke, Wirfs, AWJ, Otton, CK, Britt, LVD, Tucker, White, and Bucky all driving to be the best professionals they can be and produce the best team. It’s an impressive group and an impressive culture.

    I like this squad a lot.

  7. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Zyon break the DB curse in Tampa! catch the passes that hit your hands… please!

  8. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Is that because Devin White was dumped?”

    That’s a stretch.

    I think it’s more that the rookies learned from their first season and took steps to improve over it. Licht drafted effort guys.

    White was not a cancer, JimBobBuc.

  9. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    SlyPirate Says

    The entire mood of the team is an inherent motivation to be great…
    It’s an impressive group and an impressive culture.

    I like this squad a lot.”

    This is how I feel as well. It feels like a new generation is stepping up…and we got what seems like a really good batch.

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I think, what it is, is that with mostly veterans, we enjoy them but are not as invested in them as we are in home-grown players.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    Zyon McCollum’s perfect 10 RAS (athletic) score says he is the prototype. The most athletic CB to ever be drafted in the modern era of football. #1 out of 2073 CBs drafted since 1987…..

    6′-2″, 199 lbs, 4.33 40 yard dash, 39.5″ vertical jump, 11.0′ broad jump…. elite in every measurable involving quickness and explosiveness (shuttle, 3-cone, 10 & 20 yard splits).

    And we traded up (giving following year’s 4th rd pick) to draft him in the 5th Rd… Why so late??? For such an athlete? How was the Bo Derek of CB prospects – the perfect specimen if you will – still sitting there with 156 players off the board??

    Only 31 other NFL GMs could answer that question with any clarity.

    My guess is McCollum was on most everyone’s board as a late rd prospect. And apparently, all but 1 (Hat tip Mr Licht) felt that the climb for a guy like Zyon – from Sam Houston State to success in the NFL – was akin to scaling Mt Everest…. and that he wasn’t worth spending any significant draft capitol… other needs… etc.

    So we spent a 4th and a 5th Rd pick and we drafted the kid.

    And our coaches went to work. Zyon was good immediately on ST – but looked half lost – not ready for prime time – in a # of the live defensive game snaps he received as a rookie.

    As year 2 rolled around with a full offseason under his belt – Zyon suddenly looked competent – much improved – almost… good in coverage….

    He wound up playing more snaps in 2023 than either ‘starter’ and got valuable experience playing both outside spots.

    Now – coming into year 3 – with a ton of tape of himself to examine this past offseason – IF this young man can put it all together mentally – and goes over the top with his preparation and film study (Like a certain HOF Buccaneer CB that we all know and love used to do… and still does – LOL) – well – you know what could happen.

    Zyon can be a special player if it all starts clicking 100% for him like it also did for Ronde in his 3rd year….

  12. Ol' Boy Says:

    Excellent presentation, Pick. I’m in the camp of this is Zyons year to put it all together. I think we all saw his potential last year. I can’t wait to see him putting it all together

  13. Crickett Baker Says:

    I loved that post, Pickgrin. I hope Zyon has watched the movie “Prototype”.

  14. HC Grover Says:

    Let the games begin. We shall then see. Speculating is off season fun.

  15. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Joe has all kinds of thoughts on a lot of things. –Joe

  16. Irishmist Says:

    Now give Gregory his walking papers before his attitude has a chance to rub off on the young guys.

  17. PowerOfPewter Says:

    I don’t know if White was a cancer. What I do know is that White was a one-trick pony. His one trick, blitzing the QB, disappeared when Suh and JPP were no longer there taking on double teams. White never adapted and improved his game, and was overly optimistic to his value as a FA. A similar situation existed with Shaq Barrett, he became very average once Suh and JPP departed, and there was also his injury and his big contract. It’s good that the Bucs are fielding younger (and rookie contracts!) players, getting them the reps and playing time so they can improve and realize their potential. White and Barrett did a great job during the SB run, but that’s in the past. Bucs have to go with the players that can win now and the next few years ahead.

  18. SlyPirate Says:


    D White went mentally went off the rails last year. His play during the Baltimore game was the worst LB play I’ve ever seen. Bowles called him out in the press. Sapp called for his Captain’s badge. Eventually he got benched.

    That said, I don’t see him as a cancer. I remember when Kiffin quit the team midyear. That spread like wildfire and he took the whole team down. That’s a cancer. White’s negativity didn’t spread to others. It was just a disruption … like, Randy Gregory.

  19. Mike Says:

    The defense has the talent to be very good. I am optimistic they will improve from last years effort, especially if Diaby and/or Kancey can elevate their game in year 2, and Zyon can be solid in his role as a starter.

  20. Daniel Hammond Says:

    I agree I think the whole defense is going to be riled up this year

  21. TimR Says:

    Well done Pickgrin.

  22. Badbucs Says:

    Pickgrin is the best. It does seem like there is a different better vibe to the whole team this year. Is it Brady infused professionalism or, God forbid, inspiration from dead pan Bowles? I’ll be happily eating my share of the crow if Todd has turned the corner for this team.

  23. Obvious Says:

    Pickin, you’re really spinning some nice yarn. It’s a pleasure to read your inspirations of late. Perhaps Zyon and Licht will get a chance to read your musings. Well put together my man with a hat tip to you.

  24. Dave Pear Says:

    People without cancer are healthier than people with cancer. Osqueeltard wouldn’t ever u destined that. Fantasize about soooning with the Diva and JaMiss, Osqueel.

  25. stpetebucfan Says:


    Others here have caught up to what I frequently say, your posts are excellent!

    If I might add one factor I watched on Zyon’s Youtube highlights, he uses all that athletic skill to lower the boom on people. He hits like a Free safety!!! if he can cover like a true CB he’s going to be special!!! I mean Winfield level special and the Bucs will clearly have the best defensive backfield in the entire league!

    And with Whitehead they may have to revive the “gravediggers” nickname. These guys are definitely going to plant some some people. They’ll also get their share of yellow flags, who cares, just keep digging those graves!

  26. ThatAintRight! Says:

    I agree about what everyone else has been saying regarding Devin White. He was a cancer. Man this kid had the potential to be something phenomenal and great. He was supposed to be the guy a generational talent at LB. Also am I the only one who thinks he took horse steroids or hormones to make him bigger and faster. Is that why he owns a horse farm to get meds for the “horses”. Lol. Anyways I’m sure the entire league does it. Plus the land is a tax write off. Say less hahaha.

    Anyways back to the story above. Yes this Tampa Bay defense this year should be better than last season by far imo.

    Jordan Whitehead + Antoine Winfield = Danger Zone

    Zyon + Jamel on the outside = tall, fast, and lengthy. That’s a problem for most opponents WRs.

    We have a lot of opportunities available at OLB. YaYa definitely secured his starting spot. The opposite side is open for grabs. Who is gonna unleash that pressure?

    LVD and Britt inside for now. Britt better be able to cover or bench him for someone else who can.

    Christian Izien I can’t spell it sorry bro. Then Tykee Smith. Yeah we good.

    D-Line. Not gonna lie mad we didn’t sign Suh or Campbell. Yeah major dissatisfaction there for me.

  27. adam from ny Says:

    he did kind of act like a horse at times…

    wow…horse roids…that’s wild