With coaching camp getting underway this week, “rankings season” is lastly wrapping up. However simply earlier than the top, Professional Soccer Focus dropped its “PFF50,” a listing rating the 50 greatest gamers within the NFL right this moment. Unsurprisingly, the Bucs had been well-represented on the checklist, with three gamers making it.
Brady Leads The Approach For The Bucs
Tom Brady, as anticipated, was Tampa Bay’s highest-ranked participant. He got here in at No. 8, falling behind fellow quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers (No. 3), Patrick Mahomes (No. 5) and Josh Allen (No. 6). Right here’s what PFF’s Sam Monson wrote about Brady:
Final season, at 44 years outdated, Brady completed the common season with a 92.0 PFF grade — the perfect amongst NFL quarterbacks. And it was solely Joe Burrow’s Tremendous Bowl run that leapfrogged him forward when together with the playoffs. Brady recorded the second-lowest turnover-worthy play fee and tossed 43 landing passes. Now at virtually 45 years outdated, there’s no motive to count on something lower than spectacular once more this season.
Brady is coming off of an age-44 season through which he threw for five,316 yards and 43 touchdowns. He briefly retired this offseason earlier than deciding to come back again for his age-45 season – his twenty third within the NFL.
First-Time Professional Bowl Alternatives Make The Prime 40
After Brady, the subsequent Buc on the checklist doesn’t seem till No. 36. Vita Vea is Tampa Bay’s second participant within the Prime 50, coming in because the No. 4 inside defensive lineman. Right here’s what Monson wrote about Vea:
Vea is a strolling embodiment of Invoice Parcells’ “Planet Principle” — there are solely so many human beings which can be that massive and able to shifting the way in which he does strolling round on Earth. In a league of uncommon athletes, he’s a uncommon athlete, and when he finds his groove, he could make good NFL gamers look overwhelmed. He generated 48 pressures and 27 defensive stops final season.
Vea notched a career-high 4 sacks and made his first Professional Bowl in 2021. He was rewarded properly for it, signing a four-year contract extension in January that runs by 2026.
Simply two spots behind Vea is one other Buc who made his first Professional Bowl in 2021. That, after all, is true sort out Tristan Wirfs, who was additionally an All-Professional in his second NFL season. Right here’s what Monson wrote about Wirfs, who ranked No. 38 on the checklist:
Wirfs was one of many league’s greatest proper tackles the second he stepped foot on an NFL subject, and he solely backed that up in Yr 2. He was the NFL’s highest-graded proper sort out and allowed simply 15 pressures throughout 18 video games (together with the playoffs).
Wirfs, Tampa Bay’s first-round choose in 2020, has been a serious a part of the crew’s success the final two years. He has allowed pressures on simply 2.5% of his 1,419 pass-blocking snaps during the last two common seasons. That ties him for the second-best mark within the league. The loopy half is, the previous Iowa Hawkeye could solely be scratching the floor. He could be even higher in yr three.
One Buc ‘Simply Missed’ Prime 50
On Monday, PFF launched a listing of 10 gamers who “simply missed” the PFF50. And the Bucs had one more participant on that checklist — third-year security Antoine Winfield Jr.
Three safeties — Tennessee’s Kevin Byard, Inexperienced Bay’s Adrian Amos and Baltimore’s Marcus Williams — made the PFF50. Winfield clearly isn’t far off, although, and if he takes the subsequent step in 2022, he could very properly discover himself on the highest 50 checklist subsequent yr. Right here’s what Monson wrote in regards to the former College of Minnesota star:
Winfield has appeared skilled past his years for the reason that second he entered the NFL, enjoying like a savvy veteran and making a distinction from Day 1 in Tampa Bay’s secondary. His total PFF grade enhance dramatically in his second season, and he added 10 extra defensive stops from his rookie season regardless of enjoying fewer playoff video games. Winfield is an impressive fashionable security who has the flexibility to line up throughout Tampa Bay’s protection, and one other yr at this stage will possible see him earn a spot on the PFF50.
There’s a lot to like about what Winfield did through the 2020 and 2021 seasons. However, like Wirfs, he could be even higher in 2022. Due to his versatility, Winfield can play wherever in Bucs’ secondary. Wherever he’s, he performs at a excessive stage. He already made his first Professional Bowl final yr. And if he can get his arms on the ball extra typically this yr, he’ll attain the subsequent stage of notoriety. In any case, the truth that Winfield, Wirfs and Vea are all throughout the prime 60 bodes properly for Tampa Bay’s future. Mike Evans being left off the checklist, nevertheless, is a giant miss.