The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a talented roster. This, many know already.
But a lot of attention is given to veterans like quarterback Tom Brady (obviously), wide receiver Mike Evans, linebacker Lavonte David, and offensive tone-setters like Ryan Jensen.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen, telling a Philadelphia Eagles defender he won’t be getting anywhere near Tom Brady on the upcoming snap (probably)
READ MORE: Did Gronk Drop a Hint?
Some of this veteran focus has led to some stressed fans worried about what might happen when the best of them all, Brady, retires.
According to Trevor Sikkema (formerly with Pewter Report) at Pro Football Focus, the Bucs have plenty of young talent, with more guys looking to land on the national radar in 2022.
In his list of Top 25 players under the age of 25, Sikkema lists three Bucs; offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, safety Antoine Winfield Jr., and linebacker Devin White.
About Wirfs, Sikkema writes, “Wirfs hasn’t just been one of the best young offensive linemen over the past two seasons, he’s been one of the best regardless of age. Since being thrown into a starting spot right off the bat in his rookie campaign, Wrifs has established himself as one of the best right tackles in the game — and also has a Super Bowl ring on his finger already. At just 23 years old, this could be the start of a very special career.”
Ranking him fourth on the list, I’m surprised he wasn’t higher at first glance.
Coming in behind MVP-caliber running back Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts, quarterback Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers) and edge rusher Nick Bosa (San Francisco 49ers), I think I’d put Wrifs second behind Bosa on this list if I’m not counting positional value.
But that’s splitting hairs, really.
Scroll to Continue
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman, Tristan Wirfs
“Like Tristan Wirfs, Winfield was thrust right into a starting position in Tampa Bay during his rookie season,” Sikkema wrote about the Bucs’ young safety, ranked No. 18 on his list. “The results have been favorable: a Pro Bowl, a Super Bowl ring and the highest PFF grade of any safety with at least 1,000 snaps under the age of 25.”
Devin White’s presence on this list might actually surprise some, which Sikkema acknowledges by writing he may be “one of the most polarizing players in the NFL.”
There were plenty of Tampa Bay fans who felt drafting White when the team did was a reach and those who didn’t.
Now, some feel he’s proven his value and could leap into the top tier of NFL defenders with some maturity in his game, and others who feel his deficiencies – in pass coverage especially – demonstrate why he shouldn’t have been a Top 5 pick, to begin with.
Polarizing is a good word for it, and while his athleticism will continue to make him a lot of fun to watch, if he’s going to make any over 25 lists next offseason, he’ll need to become a more complete linebacker.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker, Devin White
READ MORE: Kyle Trask Will Get His Shot
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren’t the only team with three players on Sikkema’s list.
Cornerback Trevon Diggs (No. 25), receiver Ceedee Lamb (No. 17), and linebacker Micah Parsons (No. 6) all represented the Dallas Cowboys while the Atlanta Falcons (CB, A.J. Terrell and TE, Kyle Pitts) and Cincinnati Bengals (WRs, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins) each had two players on the list.
Check out the full list of players, and full descriptions of why each Bucs player made the cut, at Pro Football Focus.