Carlton Davis is from Miami and went to Norland High, less than two miles from Hard Rock Stadium, where the rookie cornerback made his preseason debut for the Bucs in Thursday's win against the Dolphins.
"It actually made me focus a little bit more, wanting to give a good show to my family and my hometown," said Davis, a second-round pick from Auburn.
Video: Bucs rookie Carlton Davis, from Miami, was pleased with his first NFL preseason game and how much work he was able to get. pic.twitter.com/AzPfbyqp1n— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 10, 2018
Davis had five tackles, tied for second-most on the team, and two passes defensed, tied for the team lead, playing even more than expected. The Bucs knew they would be without veteran corner Brent Grimes, but lost another primary corner in the first quarter when Vernon Hargreaves left with a groin injury.
"It was great," Davis said of the throws in his direction. "I anticipated they would kind of go at me, because I'm a rookie, but I think I handled it well. I've got some things to improve on, but it was a good first game."
Hargreaves said the groin injury wasn't serious ("I feel good. I feel fine. Just precautionary") and he had time to watch Davis and fellow second-round pick M.J. Stewart, who had three tackles in his debut.
"They played great. They played fast and physical," he said. "It's their first one, so I'm not really doing too much note-taking or judging. It's their first one. But they played well. They played the way we're supposed to play."
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter shared the sentiment, saying Thursday night was the first live test for all three rookie defensive backs, including safety Jordan Whitehead.
"Very pleased," Koetter said. "Those two (corners) both compete hard. This was really the first look we've gotten. Just haven't seen much of Whitehead. I thought he did a good job. I thought all three of those rookie DBs showed up. I'm really proud of how they competed."