Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jude Adjei-Barimah moves ahead in battle for Bucs' fourth cornerback spot

TAMPA — Another day and another undrafted Bucs player is working ahead of a former second-round pick as coach Dirk Koetter's first season inches closer.

On Friday, Koetter said second-year CB Jude Adjei-Barimah is ahead of Johnthan Banks for the fourth cornerback job. It's similar to what has unfolded at tight end, where Cameron Brate has outperformed former second-rounder Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Koetter included Adjei-Barimah, who started much of the second half of last season as an undrafted rookie, among his top four cornerbacks, along with current starters Brent Grimes and Alterraun Verner and rookie Vernon Hargreaves. Banks, who lost his starting role as part of a struggling secondary last season, is competing for the fifth corner spot with newcomer Josh Robinson.

"We have four guys kind of out in front now," Koetter said. "In no particular order, (that's) Grimes and Verner and Har­greaves and Jude, and we have Banks and Josh Robinson battling for five and six."

FIRST LOSS: The team had its first major injury of training camp, as George Johnson, battling for a backup job at defensive end, was placed on injured reserve after going down Thursday with a hip injury.

The move ends Johnson's 2016 season before it even begins ­— the team signed Martin Ifedi, who was in camp last season, to take his place on the 90-man roster. Beginning this year, each team can take one player off injured reserve after eight games, so technically it isn't a season-ending move for Johnson.

The Bucs sent a fifth-round draft pick to the Lions in 2015 to get Johnson, giving him a three-year contract and hoping he would help their pass rush. But after six sacks with Detroit in 2015, he had zero sacks last season and was dropped from the starting lineup.

"Kourtnei Brown and Howard Jones are guys that are going to be put into the limelight," Koetter said. "They were already there in the competition, but it's going to increase their role a little bit."

SHORTHANDED: Kevin Pamphile, who has stepped in as the starting left guard all offseason while J.R. Sweezy is injured, was excused from practice to attend to a personal matter, nothing injury-related. In his absence, backup C Evan Smith working as the starting left guard.

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