The NFL Network is airing another NFL Top 100 list after the massive success of last year. They asked NFL players to project the top 100 players of 2012 by listing their top 20 players in the NFL, and then the NFL used those lists to compile a top 100 list. Donald Penn is the first Tampa Bay Buccaneer to appear on that list, at #97. The fact that Penn appears at #20 makes me think either a few of the defensive ends he played against early last year were asked about their top players, or Josh Freeman had a lot of input on these lists.
Is Penn deserving, though? I don't know. 100 players is a lot, and Donald Penn was pretty good last year, except for the last few games in the season. Will he continue to be good in 2012, or will he regress? Who knows, it's tough to predict. Given the help he's getting to his immediate right in the form of Carl Nicks, and the fact that the new offensive coordinator is not as adverse to chipping defensive ends with tight ends and running backs, he is set up to have a pretty good year at least.
Will he be the only Buccaneer to appear on the list? I don't think so. Legarrette Blount has an outside chance of being selected, as do right guard Davin Joseph and cornerback Aqib Talib. I would be surprised if any of them actually made it, though. But two players are almost guaranteed to be on the list: left guard Carl Nicks, and wide receiver Vincent Jackson. Yes, the Bucs likely added two of the NFL's top 100 players to their team this offseason.
As for Donald Penn, I wish I could show you a highlight tape, or a clip of the selection on the show. Instead, I can only show you a video of my favorite Donald Penn play. No, it's not his touchdown catch. It's his first career reception.