Antoine Winfield Jr. didn’t go as high in the draft as his father, but he may make a faster trip to the starting lineup.
Winfield Sr. was the 23rd overall pick by the Bills in 1999 and Buffalo gave him a pair of starts at cornerback after drafting him in the first round in 1999. Winfield Jr.’s height might have helped push him into the second round after a standout run at the University of Minnesota, but it doesn’t sound like it will hurt his rise through the depth chart.
The younger Winfield stripped wide receiver Bryant Mitchell of the football during his first NFL padded practice on Monday and saw reps with the first team before the day was over. After the session, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians suggested there will be more of that work in the rookie’s future.
“He’s an intelligent player,” Arians said, via Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s not too big for him. He’ll be competing for a starting job quickly.”
The Bucs have Jordan Whitehead, Mike Edwards and Andrew Adams back from last season and Justin Evans is on the PUP list after spending last season on injured reserve, so they won’t have to rush Winfield into the lineup. If he stacks together a lot of days like Monday, however, no one would accuse them of putting the cart before the horse by starting the rookie.