Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Ahhh, random rankings. I love these. Here's a good one: the All-Under-25 team, courtesy of Elliot Harrison. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have two players appearing on this list, and the names shouldn't surprise anyone: Gerald McCoy and Doug Martin. Both were Pro Bowlers this past season, and both had incredible seasons. For my money, Gerald McCoy was the second-best 4-3 defensive tackle in the NFL, behind Geno Atkins (also on that list), while Doug Martin was the best rookie running back in the NFL, and a top-five all-around back.
Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What a rookie season for the Bucs running back, who gained 1,926 total yards from scrimmage, far and away the most by a player under 25. Martin is a reliable receiver out of the backfield.
Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Only Atkins and Ndamukong Suh (who's 26) had more combined knockdowns and hurries from DT last year than McCoy. He is a huge reason the Bucs fielded the NFL's best run D in 2012.
Two players went missing from this list, though: Lavonte David and Mark Barron. I can't blame Harrison for leaving off Barron, because he wasn't outstanding last season. But he did show the ability to be a dominant force both early and late in the season, and if he can eliminate his mid-season slump he should be a very good player going forward. The same can't be said for Lavonte David: he's already a very good player -- he just won't make it onto any of these lists because of those damn pass rushers.
Just take a look at that list: it features two three-technique defensive tackles, a defensive end who in a 4-3 would probably also be a three-technique (J.J. Watt), and three edge rushers. That's a whopping six players who function effectively as defensive linemen, although Miller is a quality 4-3 outside linebacker too. But you line this group of players up, and you'll find yourself gashed through the air with quick passes into huge voids. The fact that all of these rankings treat 3-4 outside linebacker as the same position as 4-3 outside linebacker is completely unrealistic and only hurts when evaluating players. Why is Aldon Smith competing with Lavonte David instead Jason Pierre-Paul?
Ah well. These lists are fun, but meaningless. The two nominated Bucs and the two snubbed Bucs -- as well as the 49 others -- will have to show their worth on the field starting in August. I'm suffering from withdrawal already.