Murphy-Bunting (ankle) won't return to Sunday's game against the Falcons, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
It's unclear how the 22-year-old suffered the injury, but the fact that he was immediately downgraded to out is a negative sign. Murphy-Bunting's first NFL season will end with 44 tackles (37 solo) and three interceptions while he played in all 16 games. For the remainder of Week 17, however, look for Jamel Dean and M.J. Stewart to see an uptick in snaps.
Murphy-Bunting totaled four solo tackles, including a sack, and was also credited with a pass break-up in the Buccaneers' 23-20 loss to the Texans on Saturday.
Six days after recording the first pick-six of his career, Murphy-Bunting followed it up by getting to the quarterback for the first time as a pro. The rookie has allowed an elevated 64.2 percent completion rate and four touchdowns on the 53 attempts he's faced as a primary defender this season, but his 42 tackles, trio of interceptions, one sack and one forced fumble give him some IDP relevancy as he wraps up 2019 in a starting cornerback role against the Falcons in Week 17.
Murphy-Bunting recorded eight solo tackles, one defended pass and one interception which he returned for a 70-yard touchdown during Sunday's 38-17 win over the Lions.
Murphy-Bunting's first career pick-six came with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, as he made an athletic move to cut under the route of Danny Amendola and intercept Lions signal-caller David Blough. The rookie second-round pick's highlight-reel play essentially secured the win for Tampa Bay, and he piled up an impressive eight solo tackles on top of that. He'll look to keep up the momentum against Houston in Week 16.
Murphy-Bunting (knee) was a full participant in Thursday's practice.
Murphy-Bunting was limited in Wednesday's practice, but he now appears to have fully shed his knee injury. Barring any setbacks, the rookie second-round pick will play a key role in Tampa Bay's secondary during Sunday's game against the Jaguars.
Murphy-Bunting (knee) was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice.
Murphy-Bunting was forced out of Sunday's win over the Falcons due to a knee injury. Before exiting the contest, he racked up a season-high nine tackles. With backup cornerbacks Jamel Dean (shoulder) and M.J. Stewart (knee) both nursing injuries, it would be a particularly notable blow to Tampa Bay's secondary if Murphy-Bunting were forced to miss any time.
Murphy-Bunting recorded nine tackles (seven solo) in Sunday's 35-22 win over the Falcons before exiting the contest with a knee injury.
Murphy-Bunting posted a season high in tackles in Week 12, but a knee injury sustained during the latter portion of the game brings his Week 13 status into question.
Murphy-Bunting (knee) is questionable to return to Sunday's game against Atlanta, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
It's unclear how Murphy-Bunting picked up the injury, but he exited during the fourth quarter. As long as the 2019 second-round pick is sidelined, Jamel Dean and Ryan Smith are the only healthy depth cornerbacks on the roster.
Murphy-Bunting is slated to start at nickelback versus the Titans on Sunday, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.
Murphy-Bunting appears to have overtaken M.J. Stewart (healthy scratch) on Tampa Bay's depth chart. After having been mostly relegated to special-teams duties to start the season, the rookie second-round pick is primed to play a key role in the Buccaneers' secondary going forward.
Murphy-Bunting logged five tackles (three solo) and an interception in the Buccaneers' 31-24 loss to the Saints on Sunday.
The rookie saw extended action with Carlton Davis getting ejected from the game in the first half due to a helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints tight end Jared Cook. Murphy-Bunting ended up logging a career-high 60 snaps during the contest after not having participated in more than nine plays on defense in any of his first four contests, and he managed his first career interception on a Teddy Bridgewater pass intended for Alvin Kamara late in the opening period. Despite his surge Sunday, Murphy-Bunting should continue seeing the overwhelming majority of his time on special teams moving forward.
Murphy-Bunting recorded five tackles (four solo) in the Buccaneers' 17-15 preseason win over the Cowboys on Thursday.
The rookie was plenty active throughout the exhibition slate, recording 12 tackles overall. Murphy-Bunting could see time as a slot corner and should serve as Vernon Hargreaves' primary back up at right cornerback in the base defense as well. Moreover, although Hargreaves has performed much better this summer in coordinator Todd Bowles' aggressive bump-and-run scheme, his NFL track record certainly leaves open the possibility that he could be supplanted at some point if his play isn't up to par.
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 6-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 Buccaneers selected Bunting in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, 39th overall.
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.
|2019||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||44||37.0||7||1||3||88||29.3||70||1||8|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2019||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|