Sometimes people throw out interesting ideas, and I co-opt them for my own amusement. Like this time!
Always an interesting exercise, cut off your 15 best players. Then count how many other players you have who would start on good teams.— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) July 20, 2013
So, here's my list of the top
15 16 (miscounted the first time, oops) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in no particular order:
Darrelle Revis, Gerald McCoy, Dashon Goldson, Donald Penn, Carl Nicks, Davin Joseph, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Mike Williams, Lavonte David, Mark Barron, Jeremy Zuttah, Josh Freeman, Mason Foster, Adrian Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers.
Let's divide those into groups: players who start on almost every team, players who start on most teams, and players who start on fewer than half of all teams.
Start on almost all teams:
Darrelle Revis, Gerald McCoy, Dashon Goldson, Donald Penn, Carl Nicks, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Mike Williams, Mark Barron, Davin Joseph
Start on most teams:
Adrian Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers, Jeremy Zuttah
Start on fewer than 50% of teams:
Josh Freeman, Lavonte David (scheme limited), Mason Foster
I don't think anyone's going to quibble much with that list. Some of it requires a little projection of talent and production, as with Mark Barron and Da'Quan Bowers, but I think most of those rankings are fair.
Beyond the top 16
But if we look at the rest of the team, can we find players who would start on more than a handful of teams? Outside of Erik Lorig, whose position is almost extinct, I can't find any. Luke Stocker wouldn't sniff a starting position with almost any team. Johnthan Banks is promising -- but he's a second-round rookie at cornerback, and those don't tend to start much. Did Leonard Johnson's play last year honestly give you the impression that he'd start for any other NFL team?
Whether Dekoda Watson or Jonathan Casillas wins the starting position at strongside linebacker, neither would get a starting job for most 4-3 teams and they're not real schematic fits for most 3-4 teams. Ahmad Black's a decent enough nickel/dime safety, but a starter? Nope. Akeem Spence, a fourth-round rookie? Daniel Te'o-Nesheim who struggled to fill in for Clayborn last year? Ti'quan Underwood or Kevin Ogletree? Ted Larsen at center, when the starter ahead of him doesn't start on almost all teams? I just don't see it.
Now, what does this mean when (not if) any starter suffers an injury? It highlights an issue we've diagnosed repeatedly: depth across the board.
One important caveat: I haven't done this exercise for other teams, and many teams across the league have depth issues. It's still an interesting exercise, though.
What do you think? Can you think of any Buccaneers who do fit the bill?
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