Pro Football Focus recently took on the challenge of identifying the top three players on each roster in the NFL.
This was undoubtedly a challenging task—as for some teams—the cupboard is bare. On the other hand—for teams like the Bucs—narrowing down a deep and talented roster to just three names, is an even more complicated endeavor.
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With 22 different starting positions on a football field, most of which involve completely different responsibilities, how do you go about determining which players present the most value to the team? And which are truly the best?
Well, thankfully I’m not the one who has to try. Ben Linsey of PFF took this challenge head-on, and I’m here to discuss his selections.
According to the article—amidst a roster flush with top-tier talent—Tom Brady, Tristan Wirfs, and Mike Evans stand above their peers as the top Buccaneers entering the 2022 NFL season.
Tom Brady is a no-brainer. Although he’s entering his 23rd season in the NFL, what he lacks in youth, he more than makes up for with experience and skill. There’s a good chance he would have been on this list even if the objective of the article was to identify the Top-3 players in the sport, let alone the singular team for which he plays.
Tristan Wirfs’ status as one of the Top-3 Buccaneers follows a completely different set of criteria. What he lacks in experience, he makes up for with power, technique and discipline. Recently identified as one of the three best offensive tackles in the entire NFL—despite being 8+ years younger than the other top players at his position—he absolutely deserves to be on this list.
Tristan Wirfs’ value to the team is directly connected to Brady’s, too. Because without Wirfs holding down the right side of the offensive line, Brady wouldn’t have the time or space to operate in the pocket, which is something he obviously depends on to be successful. Especially when you consider his age, and lack of mobility.
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As the only player in NFL history to record eight consecutive 1,000+ yard receiving seasons to start his career, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Mike Evans as the player chosen to round out the Top-3 Bucs entering 2022.
The fact that the Buccaneers nearly beat the eventual Super Bowl champion, Los Angeles Rams, in the Divisional Round Playoff game last season, despite being without Chris Godwin or Antonio Brown, speaks to the importance of Evans to this offense.
In addition to his undisputed status as a top receiver in the game, Evans is also an important leader, and the ultimate teammate. Unlike many WR1s in the NFL, he doesn’t need the football in his hands to have an impact. He will happily run routes all day, and act as more of a decoy to open things up for other players on the team, should that be what a particular matchup requires.
He’s also got 27 regular season touchdowns over the past two seasons combined, which cements his status as one of the most dangerous red zone threats in the game. Evans is beloved in Tampa Bay—as he should be—so you’d be hard pressed to find any Bucs fans who disagree with his inclusion on this list.
With a star-studded roster, identifying the top-3 players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is an unenviable task. That said, the one player whose name I think deserves to be on the list, that isn’t, is Lavonte David. The question is, whose name would I remove in order to add his?
My answer? I really don’t know. Which again, is why I’m thankful I wasn’t the one tasked with making these selections.
It’s important to note that Lavonte David, Vita Vea, Shaq Mason, Chris Godwin, and Antoine Winfield Jr. each received honorable mention in the article as players that were also considered.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with the players selected as the Top-3 Bucs entering 2022, this article serves as a friendly reminder, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are absolutely stacked with top-tier talent, all over the field.
Hopefully for Tampa Bay, all of the aforementioned pieces will fit together on the field as well as they do on paper, because if they do, the final result could be the completion of another championship puzzle for the Buccaneers.
For more news, analysis, and opinions on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, make sure to follow Collin Haalboom on Twitter and YouTube.