Jamel Dean Second in NFL in Passes Defensed

Jamel Dean Second in NFL in Passes Defensed

by November 26, 2019 0 comments

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense stifled Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday en route to a 35-22 victory. Ryan completed just 50 percent of his passes on the day, his lowest output in nearly a decade.

Rookie cornerback Jamel Dean led the way with five pass-breakups in another stellar breakout performance. Previously, Dean was the highest-graded corner in the NFL in Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals, per Pro Football Focus.

The former Auburn Tiger now has 13 pass-breakups on the season, tied for second in the NFL. That total also ranks first by a wide margin among all rookies. Arizona’s Byron Murphy currently ranks second with seven.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Dean’s near league-leading passes defense total? He has essentially only played three games on defense. While Murphy has played 774 snaps for the Cardinals this year, Dean has only played 161.

Hampered by an ankle injury, the 2019 third-round draft pick did not hold a starting role until Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks. He was forced into action when fellow Auburn alumni Carlton Davis was scratched with a hip injury just before kickoff.

While Dean struggled mightily against the Seahawks in his first major action, he bounced back with the aforementioned breakout performance against the Cardinals the following week.

13 passes defensed is an impressive total for any NFL player, especially a rookie. To do it over a mere three games is truly noteworthy.

In fact, it’s possible Dean’s performance against Arizona was factored into the decision to part ways with Vernon Hargreaves III. The former first-round selection was waived just two days later. Dean’s emergence likely rendered Hargreaves expendable.

The Buccaneers appear to have their future secondary in place with Dean, Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jordan Whitehead and Mike Edwards all solidifying themselves as starters this early in their respective careers.

If Sunday’s performance against the Falcons was any indication, it’s a bright future indeed.

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