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Bucs choose Central Michigan cornerback Sean Bunting in second round of NFL draft

He gives the Buccaneers a solid cover corner and a ballhawk.

TAMPA — In selecting Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting with their second-round pick on Friday night, the Bucs believe they’ve taken a physical cover cornerback who will fit nicely into their new 3-4 defensive scheme.

The Bucs took the 6-foot, 195-pound redshirt junior with the 39th overall pick.

Bunting knew the Bucs were interested, but said the selection was still a surprise.

“I couldn’t process the moment when it happened,” Bunting said. "I could only kind of just smile and stare at the TV screen. ... I’m just ready to work and help build the team back up and contribute in a positive way.

Despite a mid-major college pedigree, Bunting’s physicality and athleticism certainly stand out. He likes to play up on the line of scrimmage, the Bucs plan to play more press coverage in their new defense, and he ran a 4.42 40-yard dash while logging a 41.5-inch at the combine.

“Getting my hands on and getting physical,” Bunting said when asked about his best attributes. “A lot of corners don’t like to get physical at the line of scrimmage, a lot of them kind of open up and run and that’s part of my game that I like to elevate more and more each year. That’s going to make me elevate my game every way possible.”

He was one of four draft-eligible cornerbacks to not allow a passing touchdown in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus.

“I’m a ballhawk,” Bunting said. “I consider myself a receiving defensive back, so that’s just something I take price in, being able to take away the ball and giving it back to the offense.”

The Bucs currently have Wharton High and University of Florida product Vernon Hargreaves and second-year player Carlton Davis slated to be the team’s starting cornerbacks. M.J. Stewart, another 2018 draftee along with Davis, is currently atop the depth chart at nickel back.

Bunting said he’s fine playing a nickel back role.

“I feel like nickel obviously has a little more responsibility as far as the run game and things of that nature,” Bunting said. “But for the most part, it’s all football, so if I have to go into the slot and cover a guy, that’s what I’m going to do, that’s what I have to do. I’m willing to do whatever my team needs to do.”

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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