The latest installment in the neverending parade of offseason ranking articles: Pro Football Focus ranked every NFL team’s roster for ESPN, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came in 13th, right on the edge of being a playoff team.
Biggest strength: Mike Evans produced his best season in 2016, ranking second among wide receivers with a PFF grade of 93.3. His 2.28 yards per route run ranked sixth in the league, and 12 of his 96 catches went for touchdowns.
Biggest weakness: Moving into a starting role in his third season in the league, guard Kevin Pamphile struggled in pass protection, allowing 37 total pressures last season. Only four starting guards in the league had a lower PFF grade than his 44.7.
By the numbers: The Buccaneers' additions this offseason should give quarterback Jameis Winston even more potential to make plays downfield. Free-agent pickup DeSean Jackson led the league with 579 yards on passes thrown more than 20 yards downfield, while rookie third-round pick Chris Godwin had 504 yards on such passes in his final season at Penn State.
Nothing surprising in there: PFF love Mike Evans, hate the Bucs’ offensive line and are guardedly optimistic about the team’s future.
What interests me is that, despite their disapproval of the Bucs’ line almost across the board, the Bucs are still ranked 13th overall. Two of the team’s four starters with a PFF grade lower than 60 are offensive linemen, the other two being Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence—both of whom should be significantly better in their second season.
Mostly, this means there’s a clear route to having a top-notch roster this season: for PFF to be wrong about Donovan Smith and Kevin Pamphile, and for Spence and Hargreaves to take the steps that most starting players take in their second season. Eminently doable.