Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and coaches are enjoying one final bit of down time before the start of training camp, but there's still some bits of work that need to be done.
One of those was the signing of rookie cornerback Jamel Dean, a third-round pick in the 2019 draft, and that was accomplished early on Monday afternoon. Dean inked a four-year deal, as all players drafted after the first round do, and now the last remaining unsigned Buccaneer is first-round pick Devin White. Players may not report to training camp without a signed contract; Tampa Bay's first practice is on Friday, June 26.
Dean is the seventh member of the Bucs' 2019 draft class to get his deal in place. Also signed are second-round cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, third-round safety Mike Edwards, fourth-round outside linebacker Anthony Nelson, fifth-round kicker Matt Gay, sixth-round wide receiver Scotty Miller and seventh-round defensive lineman Terry Beckner.
Like Murphy-Bunting and Edwards, Dean (6-1, 206) will get a chance to win playing time early in a secondary that figures to have a very different look in 2019 after a rough 2018 season. Dean boasted the best 40-yard dash time among all cornerbacks at the NFL Scouting Combine and is capable of matching up with the bigger receivers in the NFC South. He overcame a pair of knee injuries early in his college career to play in 26 games over the past two years and record 73 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and 17 passes defensed.
"Jamel is a big guy," said General Manager Jason Licht after the draft. "Obviously, I know the talk is how he blew it up at the Combine, ran very fast, but he plays a physical game. He’s a really good press guy, he’s a really good tackler and he’s a really sharp kid too as well."