Earlier this week, NFL Network released its top 10 of their Top 100 Players of 2012. Though there were no Buccaneers in the top 10, five Tampa players made the overall list — Josh Freeman was not one of them. Those five players were: Dashon Goldson, Gerald McCoy, Darrelle Revis, Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson — who was the highest ranked Bucs player. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Five is a pretty solid number, but I wish I knew how that compared to some of the better teams in the league, say the playoff teams from 2012.” …… Well:
Denver Broncos: 5
New England Patriots: 4
Houston Texans: 5
Baltimore Ravens: 6
Indianapolis Colts: 4
Cincinnati Bengals: 2
Atlanta Falcons: 4
San Francisco 49ers: 9
Green Bay Packers: 3
Washington Redskins: 4
Seattle Seahawks: 6
Minnesota Vikings: 3
So according to NFL Network (which is something you have to keep in mind. These are just ratings from experts, not absolute truths), Tampa is only out-rostered by three playoff teams going into the 2013 season. However one detail does stick out, Josh Freeman isn’t on the list. Again, I know what you’re thinking, “Oh boy, here he goes making it about the quarterback when it doesn’t have to be”, but let’s break it down for a second. Facts: of the three teams that have more than five players in top 100, all three teams have their QB on the list. Of all 12 playoff teams, only three of them (Cincinnati, Houston and Minnesota) do not have their QB on the top 100 list, and of those three teams, two of them were knocked out in the first round and the only team that advanced (Houston) did so by defeating one of the other teams with a QB not on the list (Cincinnati).
I know that was a lot to take in BUT I’M JUST SAYING it would be nice — and by nice I mean almost required — to have Freeman crack the top 100 players in the NFL in order to make our playoff dream become a reality.
But let’s get back to what’s really important, celebrating the five players that made it; three of them were acquired via free agency (Goldson, Revis and Jackson) and the other two are homegrown (McCoy and Martin). You could argue that Nicks, Joseph or Penn could/should have made the list had the offensive line stayed healthy last year, and you might be able to argue Barber on that list had he not retired. My most important take away from those facts is this: the Bucs are proving they can add talent through both the NFL Draft and free agency.
But without further delay, here are your five Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL Network’s top 100:
No. 96 Dashon Goldson
2012 stats: 16 games played, 69 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 3 interceptions, 1 safety
No. 92 Gerald McCoy
2012 stats: 16 games played, 30 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
No. 67 Darrelle Revis
2012 stats: 2 games played, 11 tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble
No. 57 Doug Martin
2012 stats: 16 games played, 319 carries, 1,454 rushing yards, 11 rushing TDs, 49 receptions, 472 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
No. 52 Vincent Jackson
2012 stats: 16 games played, 72 receptions, 1,384 receiving yards, 8 receiving TDs
If we break down these reaction videos: people think Goldson and McCoy should be higher, Revis was No. 5 last year and his low number is because of his injury, Martin is up-and-coming, and Vincent Jackson is one of the best sideline WR match ups in the game. That’s a very solid five players. Congrats to the boys who made it on the list, and I look forward to introducing a few extras a year from now.
Reaction to NFL Network’s top 100 part 2: Potential kings of the Sunshine State