Tue. Jun 18th, 2024
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 11 Tennessee at Missouri

The Bucs could be targeting cornerback early in this year’s draft

With the NFL Draft now just a few weeks away, the Bucs will be narrowing down who they could be targeting in the draft and what areas of need they have. One of those needs could very well be in the secondary and more specifically the cornerback position.

After trading away Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay could be looking for someone to pair with Jamel Dean and that is where Missouri’s Ennis Rakestraw Jr comes into the fold.

Ennis Rakestraw Jr’s Collegiate Career

Rakestraw Jr played at the University of Missouri for four seasons, racking up a total of 107 tackles in those four years, but just one interception during his entire time at Missouri. At 6’0, 188 pounds, he has the frame to be a solid NFL corner, but he needs to bulk up a bit for when he goes against physical receivers in the league.

Middle Tennessee v Missouri
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

He has shown throughout his entire college career that he is a willing run defender which is something Todd Bowles and the Bucs love to find in their corners so even though Rakestraw isn’t necessarily a ball hawk, he can still provide value to a defense in other ways.

Scouting Combine and Pro Day

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Rakestraw Jr ran a 4.51 40 yard dash and he also did the 10 yard split in 1.54 seconds and recorded a 10’ 0” broad jump. The 40 time is underwhelming for a corner with as lean of a frame as he has but game speed is sometimes different than 40 time, so I always like to wait and see on those until they actually play.

At his pro day, he was able to improve his 40 time with a 4.44 time and he did the 10 yard shuttle in 4.0 seconds. He did not participate in any other drills at the event, but his improved 40 time certainly helped his stock.

What Rakestraw Jr Can Do For The Bucs In 2024

He would be an instant starter somewhere in this Todd Bowles defense. Whether that is inside or outside would remain to be seen, but it is more than likely to be an outside role. Now that the team does not have Carlton Davis anymore, they are missing that corner opposite of Jamel Dean. There is some hope that Zyon McCollum could develop into that guy, but that may not be a risk the Bucs want to take.

Adding Rakestraw Jr would give them another physical corner who isn’t afraid to tackle. Anytime you can add a guy in the first few rounds that will have an instant impact for you, it is tempting.

Three-Year-Outlook

This is where development would be a key, but Rakestraw Jr could very easily be one of Tampa Bay’s best corners in three years. Jamel Dean’s contract only has two years remaining on it, so there is a chance that Rakestraw would be the CB1 if all went well.

Corners are tricky and a lot of them tend to take awhile to develop into their full potential so maybe in three years time the Bucs wouldn’t have all the answers with Rakestraw, but there would certainly be flashes of his talent along the way.

Stock Report

There was some thought early in the process that Rakestraw could end up being a first round pick but after a tough combine along with some questions about his ball hawking skills, it seems likely that he will be picked at some point on day two, likely in the middle of round two. This may be good news for Tampa Bay as there may be a shot to land him in the second round if they wish.

On The Clock…

What do you think of Rakestraw’s fit in Tampa Bay? Is he someone the Bucs should be interested in later this month? Vote in the poll and let us know in the comment section below!

By admin