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Jamel Dean gets off to fast start

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Jamel Dean gets off to fast start with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Posted May 10, 11:36 PM

4-5 minutes

Sports

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean participates in a press conference on Friday, May 10, 2019, in Tampa, Fla.

By Mark Inabinett | minabinett@al.com

Cornerback Jamel Dean produced a touchdown during his first practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday, and Bucs coach Bruce Arians said the former Auburn standout could have had another one in 11-on-11 drills at the NFL team’s rookie minicamp.

“He should have had a pick 6 on a tip, and he kind of hesitated,” Arians said during his post-practice press conference. “The second one, he made a heck of an interception and took it back.”

Dean joined Tampa Bay in the third round of the NFL Draft on April 26, the second straight year that the Buccaneers chose a cornerback from Auburn. In 2018, Tampa Bay used a second-round selection on Carlton Davis, who started 12 games as a rookie.

“It makes me feel more comfortable here knowing that I played with someone here,” Dean said of joining Davis, “and I know that we got a good relationship amongst each other.”

Dean said he'd kept in contract with his former teammate during Davis' first NFL season.

“I would talk to him to ask him what’s the difference between college and NFL and then just getting a couple of pointers about my decision on coming out or not,” Dean said. “… He said just make sure you come to compete because everybody out here is good. So he was like once you adjust, that’s when things start to be smoother for you.”

Dean ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine this year at 4.30 seconds. But 93 players were drafted before he was in the 2019 selections.

 

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Dean suffered knee injuries in 2013 in high school and 2016 at Auburn and thinks "teams were passing up on me because of my knee injuries."

“My knees don’t even give me any problems anymore,” Dean said. “The fact that that keeps coming up -- one happened in high school and one happened almost three years ago, so it’s really not an issue anymore.”

Dean has put his knee injuries behind him even if some in the NFL had not.

“It really shows that if you never give up, you can always reach your goals,” Dean said. “It’s just sometimes things don’t come easily. So I know I had a rough path, but it made me a better person along the way.”

Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht said the Bucs “feel like he’s 100 percent,” which landed them a player with an ability “you can’t coach” -- speed.

But at 6-foot-1 and 206 pounds, Dean can do more than run fast, Licht said.

“Jamel is a big guy,” Licht said. “Obviously, I know all the talk is how he blew it up at the Combine, ran very fast. But he plays a physical game. He’s a really good press guy. He’s a really good tackler. And he’s a really sharp kid, too, as well.”

Two of the top wide receivers in the NFL play for NFC South rivals of Tampa Bay -- Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons and Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints. Jones’ roster measurements are 6-3 and 220 pounds. Thomas is listed as 6-3 and 212.

“I’m really excited,” Dean said about the prospects of playing against the two all-stars, “because I know they’re going to help me step my game up to the next level to meet the standards to be a professional athlete.”

Jones starred at Alabama. Dean said the “toughest guy” that he had to cover at Auburn was Jerry Jeudy, another Crimson Tide wideout.

 

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