Jamel Dean on Coming Back From Torn Meniscus and What He Has Learned About Being in the NFL
In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers drafted three defensive backs. In the third round, they drafted athletic freak, Jamel Dean. His 40 time ranked first among defensive backs when he sprinted his way to a 4.3. When he was asked about it he said, “I knew I had it in me, I was just upset I didn’t run a 4.2.” Normally, someone as talented as Dean and with his size and speed would get selected in the first round.
However, Dean has had a history of getting injured. In High School, Dean tore his ACL and his meniscus. In 2016, Dean tore his ACL in the other knee and missed all of that season. That did not stop him and he ultimately made a comeback to become a two year starter for the Auburn Tigers. “I always think back to [the fact that] I’ve been through worse. Now I’ve just got to continue pushing through like I’ve always been.” said Dean asked if any challenge is too big for him after coming back from a torn meniscus.
He most certainly has been through worse, and nothing seems to be slowing him down. If he can stay healthy then the sky is the limit. But he is still a rookie. Bucco Bruce Arians claimed all of this years rookie class has shown a lot of maturity. “It’s an honor,” said Dean. “That’s the first time I’ve ever [heard] a coach even say something that revolves around the freshman or rookie class. And now it feels like he has a lot of confidence in us to say that.”
However, he still has a lot to learn and Dean isn’t naive to that, “I really came to understand that the little things really matter a lot. When you watch film, you see a false step that could separate you from having a [pass break up] from an interception. It’s like, ‘Wow, I guess that’s what separates [players] from being great and being good.’”
The Buccaneers sure could use more interceptions, ranking 26 in 2018 with a whopping nine interceptions. Dean will be best used as a primarily outside cornerback in press man with his long arms and superb speed. That is a defense Tampa Bay isn’t very familiar with in recent years, but it is something fans are aching for and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is known for it.