TAMPA, FL - JULY 29: Defensive end Adrian Clayborn #94 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practices during the team's first pre-season training camp practice July 29, 2011 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Pete Prisco went through his four-pronged power rankings today, ranking every team on four aspects:
To refresh, the four-pronged approach is this:
1. Get a franchise passing quarterback.
2. If you have that guy, get the player who can knock down the other guy's franchise passer.
3. If you have those two, get the corner who can knock down the quarterback's passes.
4. If you have those three, make sure to get a premium tackle to keep the other teams' pass rushers off your quarterback.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers at first glance have some pretty good, promising young players at each of those positions. Somehow, though, Pete Prisco ranks the Bucs just 23rd overall. Josh Freeman's rankings as the 16th quarterback is hard to argue after last year's disaster, but the other rankings are a bit odd. Donald Penn is a pretty good left tackle, yet he's ranked just 15th behind players like Jordan Gross, Eugene Monroe and Branden Albert. I'd list him a few spots higher, at least.
But cornerback and defensive end really are the two head-scratching rankings. Adrian Clayborn may not be a star in this league, but to list him behind Calvin Pace, Matt Schaughnessy, Paul Kruger, Will Smith and a few others as the second-worst of the teams' premier pass-rushers in the NFL? Well, that's just ridiculous. Aqib Talib's ranking at 23 is even more ridiculous. Talib has been a very good cornerback for years, whose only failings are a lack of concentration at times and off-field issues. But he's much better than luminaries like Derek Cox, Charles Tillman, Corey Webster, Richard Sherman, Vontae Davis and Chris Gamble.
I like Prisco's approach to team rankings: examining a few key spots on teams to see which team really is the most talented. But the Bucs get shafted in these rankings, and they have a lot more talent than their 23rd place on this list suggests.