Bruce Arians: Antoine Winfield Jr Will Compete for Starting Job “Very, Very Quickly”

Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

If you watched Antoine Winfield Jr grow into his Minnesota Gophers uniform over the last handful of years, then you know he’ll be a starting safety in the NFL sooner, rather than later. It’s just a matter of time and health. He’s smart, instinctive, hard-working and athletic. That’s before you touch on his gene pool.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach, Bruce Arians, was obviously a believer when he drafted Winfield #45 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft… but this boat-rower is already exceeding his new coach’s expectations.

It’s just a matter of time before Winfield is written atop the Tampa Bay depth chart in permanent ink. ESPN already has him there. His competition is Andrew Adams, who has started for two seasons. Outside of picking off Cam Newton (3 INT in one game during 2018), Adams has racked up just TWO interceptions over TWO seasons with the Bucs. He is yet to reach 50 tackles in a season.

If you put Antoine Winfield Jr on the gridiron… he could make a game-changing play at any moment. Grab some popcorn and do a youtube search. Those instincts don’t just go away when you arrive in the NFL.

I know Arians isn’t going to hand a rookie the starting job, especially without any preseason games and limited practice time. It won’t matter, though. Winfield Jr was a low-end 2-star prospect, with limited D1 offers when he arrived at the University of Minnesota campus. He was starting by week 4 (game 1 of Big Ten play) of his true freshman season.

So Arians can delay the inevitable or play games if he wants… but why wait? As a smart Arizona Cardinals coach once said, “If you’re going to crown ’em, then crown their ass.”. Sometimes, people just are who we think they are…

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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