Antoine Winfield Jr. ranked NFL’s best safety in poll of league sources

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans already know that Antoine Winfield Jr. is the best safety in the NFL, but it looks like the rest of the league has finally figured it out, too.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell recently polled a wide range of league sources to rank the best safeties in the game right now, and sure enough, Winfield came in at No. 1:

Winfield had a season for the ages in 2023. He recorded six sacks, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and three interceptions. His 27.9% ball hawk rate was the fourth highest among defensive players targeted at least 30 times.

He probably should have been higher than No. 6 in the Defensive Player of the Year voting.  The Bucs unlocked Winfield by playing him more in the post in 2023 — he was primarily a nickelback the previous season.

“He had more opportunities as a single-high defender to take throws away with his instincts, range and creating turnovers,” an NFC executive said. “He was already excellent in run support and as a blitzer, so it was the perfect combination.”

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the poll was that one of the sources ranked Winfield as low as seventh on the list.

Winfield earned first-team All-Pro honors last season, and the Bucs rewarded him with a new four-year contract extension that makes him the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history.

The scary part is, Winfield still has room to improve, and should be even better in 2024.

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Antoine Winfield Jr. ranked NFL’s best safety in poll of league sources

Author: Bucs Wire

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