You knew this was coming after rookie safety Jordan Whitehead's performance on Thursday night in the Bucs' preseason opener in Miami. He had two tackles and two pass breakups in what was a pretty significant amount of snaps. Head Coach Dirk Koetter said that he and fellow rookies Carlton Davis III and M.J. Stewart played between 35-45 snaps in the game, letting the coaches and Bucs fans get a pretty good feel for how these guys play.
Whitehead plays physical. That was apparent on his first hit of the night. In fact, the referee made Whitehead come out of the game after it so he could be evaluated for a concussion. Whitehead went to the sidelines and after clearing the NFL's protocol, he was right back out there and made his name known to viewers.
His coming out party wasn't exactly a surprise, though. He's done everything asked of him in practice, though getting a majority of his reps with the second team. He's still learning the playbook and getting adjusted to the Bucs' system but he's clearly making progress. The fact that he has an understanding of both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Whitehead was a two-way player at the University of Pittsburgh. He played running back in addition to safety. It might have something to do with why he's so comfortable coming downhill to make tackles – he knows where the running back is going. He also comes from an NFL family – he's cousins with famed NFL corner Darrelle Revis. He grew up close to Revis and has been taking a lot of cues on getting adjusted to NFL life from him.
After Thursday's performance, expect the Bucs to try to utilize Whitehead a little more in practice. He's got competition within the safety rotation but he has definitely been proving he deserves to be in the conversation through the first preseason game.