TAMPA – This is the time of year when the bulk of the coverage of the NFL is devoted to lists. The best this or the most underrated that. Everyone, Sports Illustrated included, joins in to some degree.
The question si.com has been asking is, outside of the quarterback, who are the 10 most important players on each team. Their list of the 10 most important Buccaneers is an interesting one.
Wide receiver Mike Evans tops the list, which can be found here, followed by wide receiver DeSean Jackson, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, left tackle Donovan Smith and running back Doug Martin.
The next five are linebacker Lavonte David, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive end Robert Ayers and rookie tight end O.J. Howard.
Now, a ranking such as that can be picked apart in a lot of different ways and in fact, that’s one of the reasons it’s compiled in the first place. It’s designed to be a conversation starter.
So, we’re going to start the conversation here at Florida Football Insiders by asking how in the world did neither defensive end Noah Spence nor defensive end Jacquies Smith fail to garner a place in the rankings.
Actually, we’re going to take that question a step further and ask how in the world did neither Spence nor Smith even garner a vote, because according to si.com’s tabulations neither one of them did.
Look, this exercise and most other like are all rather arbitrary, but it seems to make some sense that at least one of a team’s two best pass rushers would garner at least a single vote.
Even safety J.J. Wilcox and kicker Nick Folk, who still has to beat out Roberto Aguayo to win a job, received votes. Both could play important roles this year, but will they be more important than Spence and Smith?
OK, Folk could be. But it’s hard to imagine Wilcox will be more important than any pass rusher. He’s yet to be a true impact player in the NFL and there’s no guarantee he’ll even start just yet.
But of course, this is just what a list of this nature is designed to do. Its’ designed to create a debate and keep football fans occupied until training camp starts.
In that regard, si.com has surely succeeded, and since that is one of the objectives, feel free to respond to us on twitter or Facebook and let us know what you think of their rankings and how you’d adjust them.