The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not a very popular dark horse pick this offseason, which is genuinely baffling to me. The past few years they've featured prominently as teams that could surprise and make it to the playoffs after poor seasons, even though in none of those cases they managed to actually have a promising young quarterback. Now they drafted a quarterback with the number one overall pick, something that tends to lead to immediate improvement fairly consistently, and no one even wants to touch them?
See, for instance, Will Brinson over at CBS who predicts the Bucs would be lucky to make it to even six wins.
Are you on or off the Jameis Winston bandwagon? Ultimately that's how you decide where you go with this. Seven wins isn't crazy for the Bucs but I'm not buying Winston as a guy who can come in and win a ton of games for Tampa Bay. I think he's the most "pro ready" quarterback in this class and will probably have more immediate success than Marcus Mariota, but I also think he's going to throw 30 interceptions. Yes, THIRTY. Having Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson on the roster is a big plus. Lavonte David might be the most underrated defensive player in the league, Gerald McCoy is a stud and this defense should be better than last year. But the schedule is slotted out poorly for a strong season from this team. Lots of back-to-back road games against tough teams and pairs of home games. I see six as the top end here.
I might bet the over on 6 wins, but there's no way I'd advise people to go for the under on a six-win line for a team that showed significant improvement over the second half of last season, found a new quarterback, lost a lot of close games and filled several major holes this offseason. I get being pessimistic, but six wins is not a very high hurdle to clear, especially given the Bucs' seemingly easy schedule.
Even more comical is the declaration that Jameis Winston will throw thirty interceptions this season. The last time any quarterback threw that many interceptions in a season was 1988. That's 27 years ago! And the player who did that will be familiar to everyone here, as it was Vinny Testaverde -- incidentally also a first overall pick for the Bucs, albeit in his second season at the time.
But really, thirty interceptions? That's only happened 11 times in NFL history, and only once since 1981. The only time in the past decade era that any player came even close was Brett Favre in 2005, when he threw 29 interceptions. Eli Manning's had two 25+-interception seasons, and Jay Cutler managed 27 in 2009, and that's about it.
I have no doubt that Winston will turn the ball over quite a bit this year: he's fearless in his throws and had issues recognizing underneath coverage in college. Aggressive rookie quarterbacks coming from pro style offenses do tend to throw a decent amount of interceptions, as Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have proven, but 30 of them? That's a ludicrous prediction.