How Sean Murphy-Bunting Fits In This Defense
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary is in need of a game changer.
In Central Michigan’s Sean Murphy-Bunting, it appears they have found just that.
A 2 year starter in college, Murphy-Bunting was a lockdown cornerback and ballhawk, something Tampa Bay’s secondary has been in high demand for. Simply put, the Buccaneers were one of the worst teams in the NFL at taking the football away; with just 9 interceptions and 8 recovered fumbles, Tampa Bay ranked 31st in the league in total turnovers – likely a large cognition of the Bucs uninspiring 2018 campaign.
After selecting Murphy-Bunting with the 39th overall pick in the draft, the Buccaneers are looking for the Chippewa cornerback to help change those substandard numbers.
During the 2 seasons he started, Murphy-Bunting recorded 83 tackles and 7 interceptions to go along with being named first team All-MAC his junior campaign. The 3 year athlete was the star of the defense for the Chippewas, locking down opposing wide receivers.
In a crowded defensive back room loaded with high draft picks, how does Sean Murphy-Bunting fit into Tampa Bay’s stop unit? Murphy-Bunting’s Best Bet: Slot.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ defensive scheme thrives on speed, attacking, and multiplicity. His system requires intricacy in the details from his safeties all the way down to the slot/nickel cornerback.
During a post-practice press conference, head coach Bruce Arians pointed out some of the attributes coveted in the team’s slot cornerback. He explained that Bowles’ desired nickel corner possesses speed, size, and physicality in the run game to set the tone for the defense. Arians emphasized the integral importance of this position, despite how frequently it gets overlooked by the mainstream media and casual fans.
Physically, Murphy-Bunting has all the physical tools to measure up to the tasks of manning the slot. He has proficient speed for an NFL corner, as he ran a 4.42 40 yard dash time at the Scouting Combine; measuring in at 6’0, 195 lbs, Murphy-Bunting can physically dominate his opponent, overpowering most WRs with size, length, and athleticism.
However, the most crucial responsibility of the slot cornerback is that you must be cerebral, explained Arians.
It remains to be seen if Murphy-Bunting will demonstrate that on the field, yet all signs points to him being just that.
With that in mind, the former Central Michigan Chippewa looks to find a potential niche in the slot, providing an all-important role to a young Buccaneers secondary desperately trying to find it’s identity.
Not to make any comparisons, but keep in mind, Buccaneers legend Ronde Barber revolutionized the way nickel cornerback is played and viewed. Standing in the shadow and legacy of the All-Pro corner, Murphy-Bunting looks to carve out a similar role as the soon-to-be Hall of Famer.
Wherever he ends up being positioned, look for Sean Murphy-Bunting to make his presence felt regardless…
In what role do you see Sean Murphy-Bunting fitting into this defense? What impact do you believe he’ll have? Make sure to tell us down below in the comments!