Bucs GM Jason Licht’s record in the second round isn’t sterling, to say the least. Well, once again he raised eyebrows, this time taking a small school corner out of the MAC, Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting with the 39th overall pick.
Bunting is a big corner at 6′ 1″ 180 lbs and put up a blazing 4.42 in the 40 at the combine. Reviews on Bunting are all over the place. Some rating him as high as a low first-round prospect, while others had him a borderline end of the 2nd round guy. One publication had Bunting as 5th round pick!
Eyebrows were raised because the Bucs chose him over more well known LSU CB Greedy Williams, a college teammate of Tampa Bay’s 1st round pick, Devin White.
So why Bunting? He apparently is a very good man-to-man corner. According to Pro Football Talk, Bunting was one of just 4 draft-eligible cornerbacks to NOT ALLOW a touchdown last season.
Some thoughts on Bunting from Draft experts:
Dan Bugler of The Athletic:
A two-year starter at Central Michigan, Bunting lined up at left cornerback for the Chippewas, playing both press-man and zone coverages. He recorded multiple interceptions in each of his three seasons, adding several impact plays on special teams, including a blocked punt and 60-yard scoop-and-score after a blocked field goal. Bunting has the athleticism to run better routes than the receiver and although his undisciplined mechanics lead to mistakes, he is usually in position to recover. Despite his thin build, he competes with a cover-and-clobber mentality throughout the lifespan of the route and can eliminate the mismatch advantage larger pass-catchers usually have vs. cornerbacks. Overall, Bunting needs to get stronger and become a more technically-sound player, but he plays loose and suffocates the catch point, projecting as borderline starter as a rookie and full-time starter in year two.
Scott Reynolds of the Pewter Report:
Bunting started early as a sophomore and that continued until he decided to leave Central Michigan for the NFL Draft. He would be strongly suited to play in more of a zone scheme due his ability to read and react on a play with his aggressive anticipation. He’s fast with his feet and is able to stop and change direction because of the route. Bunting played 35 games in college, recording 104 tackles, 15 passes defended, nine interceptions and four forced fumbles.
Joe Marino of the Draft Network:
Bunting is a versatile cornerback that can win from a variety of techniques. While he is suffocating in press coverage, Bunting has the speed and fluidity to win in off man coverage. He is sound with coverage spacing in zone and his ball skills have strong flashes. There are improvements needed as a tackler and defending the run but Bunting has early starter upside in any scheme.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com Analyst:
Long, lanky press corner who plays with good control, an ability to stay connected to routes and above-average ball skills. Bunting is a bail or trail corner who is more adept at shadowing the release than road-blocking it with physicality due to a leaner frame. He’s confident in coverage and doesn’t play with panic, but has to prove his top-end speed. He’s proven his worth on 50-50 balls, but may fall below NFL standards with closing twitch and instincts. He’s a solid Day 3 prospect with CB4 potential.
Here are some highlights for the new Buccaneers cornerback