TAMPA — The decision by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday to release veteran cornerback D.J. Moore came as a bit of a surprise, and not just to Moore.
There was a sense around One Buc Place at the end of the team’s offseason workout program last month that Moore might have taken the lead in the battle for the third or nickel cornerback spot.
He was getting a lot of reps with the first-team defense there, and his four previous years of experience in Coach Lovie Smith’s defense, all seemed to be working in his favor.
But there was always going to be a competition for that job once training camp started, and now that competition appears to be wide open, with Mike Jenkins, Rashaan Melvin, David Carr and Danny Gorrer among the key combatants.
Smith seems intrigued by all four.
“For Danny, he’s got the things you’re looking for at the cornerback position,’’ Smith said. “He has excellent speed, quickness, great acceleration, plant and drive, change of direction. And he has decent hands.
“Same thing with Rashaan, but has more size. He’s over six feet (6 feet 2) and big corners are hard to come by. He has good movement, he has long arms, can catch the ball.
“I can’t wait to get to camp and put him in more live situations. The preseason is important for a lot of these guys, young players that haven’t played a lot. We’re anxious to play them and see exactly what they can do.
“It should be a good competition at that cornerback position.”