Murphy-Bunting, the Buccaneers' second-round pick in last week's draft, could work his way into a slot role during his rookie season, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. "We'll play the best three," said Director of Player Personnel John Spytek. "He's a good enough athlete to play in there. You look at him and say, 'We've got a six-foot, 195-pound kid that ran a 4.41; he's probably tailor-made and ideal to play on the outside. He's probably going to end up on the outside in his career but if he needs to play nickel for a year or two, there's no reason to think he can't do that."
The Central Michigan product displayed a nose for the ball throughout his three-year college career, racking up nine interceptions, 15 defensed passes and four forced fumbles. Murphy-Bunting then wowed at the combine with 4.42 speed and a 41.5-inch vertical, and the Bucs appear ready to put his impressive athleticism to use immediately. Under former coordinator Mike Smith's 4-3 scheme, Tampa allowed 259.4 passing yards per game and an opposing passer rating of 110.9 -- both bottom-10 figures in 2018 -- so the incumbents in the secondary don't exactly enjoy an inordinate amount of leverage. Additionally, the team chose not to bring veteran corner Brent Grimes back, potentially opening up even more opportunity for Murphy-Bunting right from the onset of his NFL career.
The Central Michigan product may have been a surprise to some as a top-40 selection, but Bunting is a toolsy player who offers upside that some other corner prospects do not. Bunting is smooth in coverage and brings 4.42-second 40-yard dash speed and elite lower-body explosiveness to the table. He also plays with a mean streak, showing to be a willing tackler at all times. Bunting should vie for playing time on the outside, challenging Carlton Davis.