Who are the best players on Tampa Bay’s talented roster? How many Bucs
offensive players are in the top 10? Find out in this Pewter Report
Thanks to the hard work of general manager Mark Dominik, head coach Greg Schiano and the team’s front office, the Buccaneers have become a more talented team through the draft, free agency and trades. PewterReport.com takes a look at Tampa Bay’s star-studded roster and ranks the Top 10 Most Talented Buccaneers in order heading into the 2013 season.1. Buccaneers CB Darrelle Revis
Revis, Tampa Bay’s star offseason acquisition, is a four-time Pro Bowler, a three-time All-Pro and a former AFC Defensive Player of the Year. There is not a more accomplished player on the Bucs roster than Revis, who is considered to be the league’s premier cover cornerback when healthy. Revis, who has 19 career interceptions, has successfully rehabbed a torn ACL injury that cost him the majority of the 2012 season and is poised to be ready for the start of training camp.2. Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson
Jackson nearly broke the Buccaneers single-season record for receiving yards with a career-high 1,388 yards on 72 catches and eight touchdowns. Jackson earned every penny of the five-year, $55.55-million contract that he signed in 2012 and earned a Pro Bowl berth, which was the third of his eight-year career. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Jackson set a new team record with 216 receiving yards, including a franchise-record 95-yard pass against New Orleans last year.3. Buccaneers LG Carl Nicks
Prior to coming to Tampa Bay, Nicks was a two-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro, in addition to being a Super Bowl XLIV champion in New Orleans. The massive, 6-foot-5, 350-pound road grader signed a five-year, $47.5-million contract with the Buccaneers in 2012 and was off to a Pro Bowl start before a season-ending toe injury occurred after the seventh game of the season. When healthy, Nicks is among the league’s best guards.4. Buccaneers FS Dashon Goldson
Goldson, who was signed to a five-year, $41.25-million contract, including $22 million in guaranteed money, was a two-time Pro Bowler in San Francisco, where he was also an All-Pro performer last year. Goldson, who is entering his seventh year, is nicknamed “The Hawk” and considered to be one of the league’s best ballhawking free safeties. He has 14 interceptions and five forced fumbles in his career and is expected to make an immediate impact on Tampa Bay’s secondary.
5. Buccaneers RG Davin Joseph
Joseph, one of the most successful first-round picks in Tampa Bay history, was poised to have another outstanding year before he injured his knee in the preseason and missed 2012. Now fully healthy, the Oklahoma product is ready to dominate once again. Joseph, who had been to two Pro Bowls in 2008 and 2011, is the vocal leader on the offensive line and one of the most charitable players on the Bucs roster. Expect him to bounce back with a big season blocking for Doug Martin and Josh Freeman.6. Buccaneers LB Lavonte David
As a rookie, David was one of Tampa Bay’s most consistent players, leading the team with 139 tackles, in addition to making several splash plays. David used his blinding speed to record two sacks, and his first NFL interception came against Denver’s Peyton Manning. David was so impressive as a rookie that he took over the play-calling duties on defense from middle linebacker Mason Foster. After a rookie season that was better than the legendary Derrick Brooks’ in 1995, David could be Pro Bowl bound in 2013.7. Buccaneers RB Doug Martin
Martin had a rookie season for the ages last year, rushing for a Bucs rookie record of 1,454 yards and a franchise-record 11 touchdown runs. With 49 catches for 472 yards and a touchdown, Martin recorded 1,926 total yards, which was the fourth-best from scrimmage in the NFL last year. His 251-yard, four-touchdown game at Oakland also set Bucs records and earned him a Pro Bowl berth. Martin accomplished a lot without the benefit of rushing behind Nicks or Joseph, so bigger things could be in store for him in 2013.8. Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman
Although he doesn’t have the Super Bowl ring or Pro Bowl berth that Brad Johnson possesses, statistically, Freeman is the best quarterback in Tampa Bay history. He has thrown for 12,963 yards in his four years since becoming the team’s first-round pick in 2009, and is 1,858 yards away from topping Vinny Testaverde and becoming the Bucs’ all-time passer. In 2012, Freeman became the first Bucs QB to top 4,000 yards in a season with 4,065, and his 27 touchdowns were the most ever in a single season. Freeman enters a contract year and needs to deliver the team to the playoffs for a big extension.9. Buccaneers LT Donald Penn
The dependable left tackle hasn’t missed a game since entering the starting lineup six years ago, and despite turning 30 this year, Penn is in great physical shape. He entered the offseason weighing 330 pounds, which is Penn’s playing weight for the season and appears very motivated. He is anxious to get back to the Pro Bowl and achieve the respect that comes with being a top-flight left tackle.10. Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy
McCoy narrowly beats of wide receiver Mike Williams and kicker Connor Barth, the team’s leading scorer over the past four seasons, who was recently lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon The third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft finally stayed healthy for an entire season and lived up to his draft billing with a career-best five sacks, which earned him his first Pro Bowl berth. McCoy has taken on a leadership role on the defense in 2013 and looks to become a more consistent and productive performer in his fourth NFL season.
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