Evans leads 2017 Bucs’ rankings

by Gary Shelton on September 13, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Mike Evans leads the Bucs in production and potential./CARMEN MANDATO

Mike Evans leads the Bucs in production and potential./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

We know who the loudest voice in the huddle is.

We know who has the best hands. We know who has the widest smile. We know who is quiet and who is confident and who is funny and who is hopeful and who has swagger.

But who's the best player of the Tampa Bay Bucs?

Don't answer too quickly. True, Jameis Winston is pure carbonation. True, Gerald McCoy has the sound of perspective. True, Doug Martin is quiet and Mike Evans is optimistic and Chris Baker is amusing.

But counting their skills, and counting their production, who is the best player dressed in pewter and red?

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Winston needs to star for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

Winston needs to star for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

The first player you think of is Jameis Winston, who is the leader of the team. But Winston is still 23, and he's still liable to make a poor decision that leads to a turnover. Ask yourself: Has Winston accomplished in his time in the league what McCoy has accomplished? What about Evans? What about DeSean Jackson? Put it this way: The Bucs would love for Winston to be the best player on this team; he isn't there yet.

It says here that Evans leads the Bucs in production and potential.

You, of course, are welcome to disagree.

Ranking the Bucs

1. Mike Evans – The No. 1 player on the Bucs isn't Jameis Winston, the face of the franchise, or Gerald McCoy with his five Pro Bowls. In three years, Evans has 3,578 yards on 238 catches.

2. Jameis Winston – The Bucs need for Winston to be their best player if they're going to make a run at the post-season. He has more than 8,000 yards in two seasons.

3. Gerald McCoy – McCoy has made five Pro Bowls, but he has yet to make the post-season. That's kind of a big deal to him.

4. Kwon Alexander – Alexander is the Buc most likely to make the tackle. Undersized but smart.

5. Ali Marpet – Now the team's center, Marpet has been one of the Bucs' most consistent linemen.

6. Bryan Anger – An awfully high ranking for a punter, but Anger has been excellent for the Bucs.

7. Brent Grimes – Grimes doesn't worry about his birth certificate. An elite corner.

8. DeSean Jackson – Jackson averaged 17 yards per catch last year. If he can stay close, he'll help.

9. T.J. Ward – Most rankings still have Ward among the best 100 players in the game. He has to prove it.

10. Lavonte David – Doesn't make as many tackles as he used to, but part of a fine linebacking corps.

11. Cameron Brate – Yes, O.J. Howard has a lot of skills. But Brate still has the great hands.

12. Vernon Hargreaves – Hargreaves is expected to make more plays this season.

13. Noah Spence – A lot of teammates expect Spence to have a big year. The team certainly needs a pass-rusher.

14. Chris Baker – Didn't show much in preseason, but he was the Redskins' best defensive lineman.

15. Donovan Smith – Has his critics, but he generally plays well against good pass-rushers.

16. Robert Ayers –Ayers will have to go match the nine sacks he had in 2015, but he's a steadying influence.

17. Doug Martin (suspended) – Which Martin will the Bucs get when he returns? The guy who gained more than 1,400 yards twice or the guy who averaged 2.9 yards a carry?

18. O.J. Howard – Has eye-popping skills, but he needs to fit into the offense.

19. Adam Humphries – An over-achiever who seems to catch everything.

20. J.R. Sweezy – A brawler who needs a big season for the Bucs.

21. William Gholston – Gholston does a lot of little things right. Not much pass-rush.

22. Keith Tandy – Great instincts, but can he hold off Justin Evans?

23. Demar Dotson – A massive right tackle. Must be healthy.

24. Clint McDonald – A nice rotation plauer for the Bucs.

25. Justin Evans – The team's second-round draft pick. Needs to push Tandy.

26. Jacquizz Rodgers – Hasn't started much, but he needs to be solid in place of Martin.

27. Kendall Beckwith – A rookie who had a solid preseason.

28. Chris Conte – A veteran safety who has his moments.

29. Charles Sims – A nice pass-catcher out of the backfield.

30. Keith Pamphile – A versatile lineman who needs to be solid.

31. Peyton Barber – Had his moments in preseason.

32. Adarius Glanton – Was a fine backup linebacker in training camp.

33. Luke Stocker – Not a fan favorite, but better than most think.

34. Nick Folk – Placekicker needs to hit the same high percentage of his past.

35. Ryan Smith – With multi-receiver sets, the Bucs need him to be a solid third corner.

36. Chris Godwin – A rookie who looks the part for the Bucs.

37. Joe Hawley – A starter last year, Hawley still has some fire.

38. Jacquies Smith – Can muster a pass rush when healthy.

39. Robert McClain – Could help the Bucs as a nickel back.

40. Javeon Elliott – Just behind McClain on the depth chart.

41. Cameron Lynch – A solid backup linebacker for the Bucs.

42. Evan Smith – A former center, Bucs think he has something to offer.

43. Alan Cross – Cross is a tough player who could see spot duty.

44. Ryan Fitzpatrick – A lot of starts; Bucs hope he isn't needed.

45. Ryan Russell – Depth at defensive end.

46. Sealver Saliga – Depth at defensive tackle.

47. Devante Bond – Injuries have kept him from challenging to start at linebacker.

48. Leonard Wester – Depth at tackle.

49. Josh Robinson – Good special teams player.

50. Caleb Benenoch – Depth on offensive line.

51. Bernard Reedy – Fifth receiver and return specialist.

52. Will Clarke -- Depth at defensive end.

53. Garrison Sanborn – Long-snapper.

54. Antone Auclair – Bucs like his skills as a rookie tight end.

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