By: Michelle Sabin
Sports Talk Florida – Bucs Reporter
On the second night of the draft, Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Antoine Winfield, Jr., defensive back from Minnesota for their 52nd overall pick. Winfield is only 5’9” in height and is recovering from injuries, but has confidence in his abilities to play anywhere on the field.
Winfield, Jr. said, “I can play on tight ends, I can play on slot receivers, I can blitz, I can play in the post. My versatility is my biggest asset and I feel like Tampa Bay is going to use me well that way.”
Facing criticism by draft analysts for his height, he commented, “I don’t view my height as a factor. It doesn’t really matter about how tall or big you are, its really about your fight and what you can bring to the table, and I feel like I can get the job done.”
Winfield, Jr.’s excitement was visible, as he explained “I’ve dreamed about this moment since I was a little kid and watched my dad play.” His father, Antoine Winfield, Sr., had 14 years in the NFL, and has been an influence in his life, giving advice, playing drills in the yard, and watching film together.
Oddly enough, in 2001, Winfield, Sr. played against Tom Brady (and intercepted the Buccaneers new quarterback). Winfield Jr. added, “Tom Brady is a GOAT, he is one of my favorite players and it is crazy that my dad played against him, that is wild to think about.”
After the selection, Winfield Jr. spoke to his father about Brady and the other players on the Buccaneers team. Reflecting on their conversation, he added, “I am just ready to be that additional piece to help hopefully win a super bowl this year.
General Manager, Jason Licht likes the versatility for the Bucs defensive scheme, and said, “he’s fast, he’s got great burst and acceleration and he’s a really good foot athlete, and super instinctive. Those are all things for us to be excited about.”
On the offense, the Buccaneers selected running back KeShawn Vaughn from Vanderbilt with the 76th overall pick. Licht said, “he’s got good speed, we know that he can catch the ball, we know that he’s good in space . . . I think he’s capable of playing on all three downs.”
Licht explained, “it matched up with what we felt like we needed which was another running back to get in the mix with RoJo, so RoJo and Dare [Ogunbowale] and T.J. [Logan], we feel like we have a pretty good group right now.”
Vaughn, who had spoken with the Buccaneers earlier this week and late last week, said, “I’m happy as hell to be part of this offense, this team and this organization.”
As a fifth year senior, he believes his extra years of experience on the field separates him from this class of running backs. Vaughn said, “I believe that I’m an explosive back, and that’s something that will help this offense develop the running game and [Brady] can throw the ball based off that.”
Overall, Licht is confident with how the draft is going for the Bucs, explaining, “this was a great draft in terms of having players that we liked that fit our needs and it doesn’t always happen that way.”
The final day of the 2020 NFL Draft begins Saturday at 12:00 p.m. ET.