Leonard Johnson has drawn the ire of Bucs fans since he was drafted. Even with him being a local product from Largo High School, watching receivers make catch after catch against him has made Johnson a target. That target may be on the way out as the Bucs will be tasked with narrowing down a large number of cornerbacks on their roster.
Let's examine Johnson's chances of making the Bucs final roster:
-Johnson's main competition will be from Sterling Moore to be the Bucs' starting nickel corner. The Bucs signed Moore this off-season to a 1-year contract. Moore is coming from the Cowboys and Rod Marinelli's defense, which has many of the same characteristics of the Bucs defense. Despite Moore running with the 2nd team during off-season workouts, you all should know by now that depth charts during the summer are crap. If Moore wins the nickel corner spot, Johnson will have a tough time making the roster.
-We know that Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner will be on the final roster and the likely starting cornerbacks for the Bucs. One name that shouldn't be forgotten either is Mike Jenkins. Some forget that the former USF standout was a starter in the Bucs' 1st game of 2014 against the Panthers. He ultimately missed a majority of the season with a torn pectoral muscle, but that wasn't enough to have the Bucs move on from him this off-season. The Bucs' resigned Jenkins to a 1-year deal because they feel Jenkins is an asset as a corner on the outside and in press coverage. Jenkins' skills on the outside are more valuable than Johnson's skills as a backup slot corner.
-Don't forget about the young cornerbacks on the roster. I'm not talking about C.J. Wilson after his mishap with fireworks. I'm talking about a couple young corners with close ties to Lovie Smith. Brandon Dixon and Isaiah Frey both got good playing time in 2014. If the Bucs like their development enough, don't be surprised if both are kept on the final roster as reserves and special teams players.
-Another young name that could be a wildcard and challenge to Johnson is the talented Dashazor Everett. Everett gave up far too many big plays in the horrific Texas A&M defense, but he is loaded with natural talent. Even Bucs WR Mike Evans spoke highly of him.
"Me and him had a lot of battles. We came in together, Class of 2011," Evans said via the Tampa Bay Times. "That boy is a baller. I think he will have a real good shot at making the team. He works hard. He can play safety, nickel or corner. He'll do the dirty work. He'll get on special teams. He'll do whatever it takes. I'm excited about having him here."
Realistically, the Bucs' will carry five or six cornerbacks on the final roster. If Banks and Verner are locks, and the Bucs are pleased with Jenkins ability in press coverage, that leaves only three remaining spots...max. If Sterling Moore wins the nickel cornerback spot, Leonard Johnson will have to prove to the Bucs brass that he is worth keeping on the roster over the continued development of "Lovie guys" like Isaiah Frey and Brandon Dixon. That might be a tough task for the villain of many Bucs' fans.Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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