TAMPA BAY – Five of the Buccaneers’ six cornerbacks that are currently on the roster will be without a contract in 2023. Two of them, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean, are starters, which makes the Buccaneers’ handling of the situation even more intriguing.

One idea that helps the Buccaneers is drafting a cornerback in the 2022 NFL Draft. And not just a corner with the penultimate pick in the draft or anything like that. We’re talking a corner in the first four rounds of the draft – a place where quality depth and starters are typically found.

It looked like that idea was thrown out the window when the Buccaneers drafted punter Jake Camarda in the fourth round, but lo and behold, Jason Licht worked his magic yet again via a trade. He was able to work out a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, sending the Buccaneers’ fourth-rounder in the 2023 NFL Draft for the Jags’ 157th overall pick in the fifth round and their 235th pick in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Licht used his newly-acquired fifth-rounder on cornerback Zyon McCollum out of Sam Houston State, who could end up becoming a major steal.

McCollum is an athletic freak and has the size at 6-foot-2, 199-pounds that Todd Bowles likes in his corners. He doesn’t have the ideal length that Bowles prefers, but his crazy athleticism should help offset that, at the end of the day.

He’s also versatile, evidenced by the fact that he played both on the perimeter and in the slot in college. McCollum even played safety at times.

McCollum will have to adapt the NFL game, but he’ll have at least a year to do so as he sits behind the trio of Davis III, Murphy-Bunting, and Dean. He should immediately provide help on special teams, however, making him a plug-and-play, starter at the end of the day.

And if he can take the necessary steps forward in 2022 that the Buccaneers think he can take, then it will go a long way toward helping the soon-to-be depleted position in 2023.

That in itself is a great start for a fifth-round pick. Hopefully it only gets better from this point on.

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