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Pro Football Focus: Gerald McCoy had highest pass-rushing grade among defensive tackles

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes we forget, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the NFL on their roster in Gerald McCoy. Something Pro Football Focus emphasized by ranking him 34th in their top 100 of 2014, which is actually a significant dip from 2013, when he was ranked 4th.

An interesting year for McCoy who dealt with an injury that impacted his performance and playing time, as well as developing a habit for jumping offsides that contributed to him being flagged 10 times. Yet despite that, he still was an incredibly productive pass rusher grading positively in all bar one games in this regard. It may not have been 2013 but it was still impressive.

Best Performance: Week 5, TB @ NO, +8.9

Key Stat: Had the highest pass rushing grade of all defensive tackles.

The habit of jumping offside has been an issue that has plagued the Bucs defensive line for years now, and I don't think that's going to change any time soon. But McCoy's always been a monster pass rusher, and that's not going to change either. He put up 8.5 sacks in just 13 games last season, after putting up 9.5 in 2013 in a full year -- and the Bucs' defensive leader always produces many, many more pressures than sacks.

McCoy is only the second Buccaneer to appear on this list, after Mike Evans made it in at number 94. The only other Buc likely to be on this list is Lavonte David, who had a pretty good year but wasn't as impactful as he was in 2012 and 2013. Other than that, no one on the roster would even remotely qualify.

Hopefully, McCoy can stay healthy for the entire season this time. If he does, he should be the engine of this defense -- the pass-rusher that makes the four-man rush go, which is what makes the whole rest of this Tampa 2-style defense work.