Lions got the cornerback ‘the Bucs trusted most to line up on opposing teams’ WR1’ says Buccaneers reporter

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The Detroit Lions made a major trade on Monday when they agreed to send a third-round pick to the Buccaneers for cornerback Carlton Davis, a 2024 sixth round pick and a 2025 fifth round pick. 

Davis is expected to play a big role in the Lions secondary in 2024 as they aim to move back towards more of man coverage defense. That happens to be a spot where Davis plays quite well. 

We wanted to learn more about Davis so we reached out to our cap analyst Josh Queipo, who is also on staff with Pewter Report, to get some answers. Here’s what he had to say. 

What are your overall thoughts on Davis’ time with Tampa Bay?

“Ultimately he was a big key to the team becoming a Super Bowl winner. The Bucs defense in 2020 was very good and that was on the backs of a solid secondary. He was a physical press-man corner miscast as a deep thirds C3 guy in Bowles’ system. But he was also the guy the Bucs trusted most to line up on opposing teams’ WR1.

In 2022, Todd Bowles let him follow J’Marr Chase for much of the Bucs’ game against the Bengals and he straight shut Chase down. That game Chase was targeted eight times with Davis in coverage and he only caught three passes for 32 yards. It was a dominant performance.

What soured Davis in some fans’ minds was two things. First he has a tendency to miss time. He has never played a full season and has averaged just 12.5 games per year since entering the league. Second, he isn’t a ballhawk. With just nine interceptions in six seasons he has a tendency to drop would-be interceptions.

Lastly, from my interactions with him I would say he’s a good guy and a great locker room presence. Plus he’s not afraid to call out opposing receivers (check out his beef with Michael Thomas!) so those Lions fans who loved C.J. Gardner-Johnson will like him a lot.”

What are his strengths?

“Davis is at his best when he is allowed to press at the line of scrimmage. He is big with long arms and loves to play a physical brand of coverage with receivers. Again see the Chase game in ‘22. Bowles unleashed him there allowing him to run press man almost all game.”

What are his weaknesses?

“Durability and ball production are two that I have already listed. The third is pure speed. Davis ran a 4.53 40 as a prospect and I very much doubt he has gotten faster since then. This was most evident in 2020 when the Bucs played Kansas City in the regular season. Davis was stuck on an island with Tyreek Hill and Hill went off for over 200 yards in the first half mainly because Davis couldn’t keep up with him deep.

Now this has only been an issue against truly elite speed. He can still succeed against 4.4 guys because he uses his long frame well to help cover any ground lost with foot speed.”

Is Davis a CB1?

“I think he is, but I wouldn’t say he is an elite top-10 to 15 guy. He’s probably top 20-25 but can match up well against most WR1’s. He’s solid in zone and again very good in press-man.”

Did the Lions get fleeced?

“Not at all! I thought a trade might be on the horizon given he was in the last year of his deal and had a cap hit of over $20M. I projected he would fetch a third and I think the Lions did well to get two sixths back. Overall, I would say this was an extraordinarily fair deal for both sides.”

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