Photo Credit: Minnesota Athletics
With the 44th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr..
An unanimous All-American in 2019, Winfield Jr. led Minnesota in tackles (88). Winfield also tied the team’s single-season interception record with seven interceptions. Winfield Jr. finishes his Minnesota career with 177 tackles and nine interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns.
Winfield comes from an NFL legacy. His father, Antoine Sr., played cornerback for in the NFL. In 14 seasons, Winfield was a 3-time Pro Bowler and a second-team All-Pro in 2008.
Winfield Jr. is a very instinctual safety, who plays with a sense of competitive toughness that is hard to come by. Winfield Jr. best projects as a safety in the deep half with good zone coverage skill and some strong man coverage that will allow him to play in different positions.
With nine interceptions over his Minnesota career, Winfield Jr. is a hunter with the ball. When Winfield Jr. finds the ball, he’ll attack the ball and attempt to make plays.
Winfield Jr. compares to current Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu.
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What the Analysts Say
Antoine Winfield Jr. brings an established NFL pedigree to the 2020 NFL Draft. His father’s exploits clearly left an impression on Winfield Jr. — he’s an instinctive player who illustrates a clear feel for the game on the back end. –Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network
Winfield isn’t as tall or as long as teams like and he’s an average athlete, but he’s an interchangeable safety who can flat out play. Winfield is stout and strong with above average body control and balance. He can bang on tight ends in coverage and support the run near the box. –Lance Zierlein, NFL Network
In the first round, the Buccaneers addressed their need on the offensive line with Trisitan Wirfs. Now, the Buccaneers adressed a pressing need on the defense with safety Antoine Winfield Jr.
Winfield Jr. is a solid fit for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have struggled to find a safety for the defensive backfield and Winfield Jr.’s strong ball skills and traits make him an intriguing piece for the Buccaneers. Expect him to start immediately, either for Justin Evans or Jordan Whitehead.