Tue. Jun 18th, 2024
Tampa Bay Bucs v Indianapolis Colts
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Tampa Bay’s young corner is embracing the opportunities for the new season.

The Bucs trade of Carlton Davis III to the Detroit Lions this offseason came as a bit of a shock since it’s not everyday teams trade away their top cornerback. They do so, however, when they feel confident enough in others on the depth chart.

And the Bucs feel that way with cornerback Zyon McCollum.

Tampa Bay has thrown the 24-year-old onto the field often the last two seasons and at times with no other choice. With the time Davis often missed as well as other cornerback Jamel Dean, McCollum found himself on the field playing more frequently than what many expected. But it was a great learning experience.

This offseason, the 2022 fifth-rounder out of Sam Houston State is embracing the opportunities that have presented themselves to improve his game for 2024 and beyond.

“Taking calculated chances is how you make plays in this league,” McCollum said this week when speaking during the Bucs first phase of OTAs. “You know, it’s not going to be perfect, but I’m looking to fail and get better, and fail and get better, and OTA’s and this type of environment is the best time to do that. So, taking chances is the name of the game, my game at least.”

This offseason has been all about taking chances so far for McCollum. Those chances have included a backyard training regimen — and getting married.

“I got married, that’s the main big difference. In terms of the offseason since I got into the league, I mean, rookie year you’re focused on like 40[-yard dash times], the combine, and stuff. These last two years, I have been able to focus completely and solely on football. The more snaps I get in a season, then the more fine-tuned my training can become, so when I go in the backyard with my brother, I’m telling him the exact routes I want him to run on me. We’re practicing exact coverages we expect to run, and so everything is becoming more and more specific year in [and] year out.”

The future of a young NFL athlete is never known and there’s never a science to how a player will pan out. All they can do is train to become better and McCollum is doing just that with the opportunities that are there for him to take.

The Bucs have had faith in him since trading up for him in the 2022 draft. So far it looks like McCollum is giving them every reason to still believe they made the right decision.

By admin