Pictures of the Buccaneers' safeties.
There has been quite a bit of movement at the safety position since the start of free agency…or just before the start of free agency.
Both of the team's primary starters from 2016 were set to become unrestricted free agents on March 9. Chris Conte re-signed with the team just before the opening bell but Bradley McDougald hit the market and has just recently signed with Seattle. Meanwhile, two days into the open market, the Buccaneers signed another potential starter in former Dallas Cowboy J.J. Wilcox.
That essentially puts the Bucs back where they left off at the end of 2016, in terms of starting candidates and overall numbers at safety. Those candidates include veteran Keith Tandy, who was a revelation as a starter in place of Conte down the stretch. Tandy started the last five games and racked up 45 tackles, four interceptions and seven passes defensed in that span.
Wilcox was in a similar situation in Dallas, in a three-safety rotation that saw him play a little over 50% of the team's defensive snaps. A former running back who only converted to safety in his senior season at Georgia Southern, Wilcox was a starter for the Cowboys for most of the 2014-15 seasons.
So the team has three strong starting candidates, and it might be able to find a way to play all three in some capacity. Beyond those three, there is not currently much depth, suggesting the position will have some additions in the next couple months. The 2017 draft is considered strong at the safety position, especially in early-round talents. With Smith moving back to cornerback, the only other safety on the roster beyond the aforementioned three is first-year player Isaiah Johnson. Johnson spent the entire 2016 season on the Bucs' practice squad after coming aboard as an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina, and the coaching staff is bullish on his future.
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