TAMPA BAY – Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis III are tight. The two have been teammates since their college days at Auburn and their relationship even goes all the way back to high school.

All the years have given Dean an insight into Davis III’s that few possess. He probably knows Davis III’s game better than the Buccaneers’ defensive coaches.

So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Dean recently gave Davis III the ultimate compliment as a teammate.

“He’s most definitely a top-5 corner in my eyes,” Dean recently told team reporter Casey Phillips on the most recent episode of Buccaneers.com’s Slice. “And just to see his progression from high school, to Auburn, to now, you know, it’s an exciting feeling. I was happy for him and I told him, ‘Bro, you just motivated me. I’m happy for you. Just knowing you personally and seeing that you reach this second contract, it’s only inspired me to get there, too.'”

Davis III is certainly one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. Per Pro Football Focus, he led the NFL with 34 forced incompletions from 2019-2020 and tied for 11th in 2021 despite playing in just 10 games. He’s one of the few corners that have the ability to shadow receivers and he’s very good in run defense, as well.

The former Auburn Tiger has six interceptions over the last three seasons and receivers have caught around 56% of their targets with Davis III in coverage. To put the latter number into context – a 56% reception rate would’ve been the eighth-lowest reception rate among corners with at 539 pass coverage snaps in 2021.

The Buccaneers drafted Davis III in 2018 and he quickly became the team’s No. 1 -and best- corner. Davis III proved himself over the subsequent three seasons enough to where the Buccaneers gave him a three-year, $44.5 million deal back in March.

Dean, much like Davis III last year, enters the final year of his rookie deal in 2022, but it’s safe to say that if he plays well, he’ll receive that aforementioned second deal and stay in Tampa Bay. Thus, furthering the two’s story and giving the Buccaneers one of the league’s better cornerback duos for the foreseeable future.

You can check out the full interview with Dean, below:

Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports