ESPN loves ranking teams and they’ll never stop. This time they tried to rank every team by how they’ll do over the next three seasons, asking three experts to rate each team on five different points. The result: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come in tenth.
The Bucs come out looking pretty good across the board, but not outstanding in any one spot. On 100-point scales, they get an 81.7 for the roster (ranked 5th), an 84 at quarterback (ranked 11th), a 75 for coaching (ranked 15th), a 78.7 for the draft (tied for 12th) and a 79.7 for the front office (ranked 13th).
Except for the roster, these are slightly above average rankings—perhaps a bit harsh for a team that’s often seen as very promising, though that promise hasn’t quite been fulfilled yet, either.
The comments explaining the rankings are predictable: they love Jameis Winston and his weapons, and don’t like the offensive line (I will maintain that that concern is vastly overblown). One thing of note: they believe the Bucs’ draft outlook is likely to get better given recent results (and the fact that Licht isn’t about to draft another kicker in the second round).
Drafting Evans, Winston, Ali Marpet, Kwon Alexander and now Howard looks good enough on GM Jason Licht's resume to suggest Tampa Bay could outperform its No. 13 ranking in drafting outlook -- especially now that there should be zero chance the team will take another kicker early. -- Mike Sando
Cautionary note: there’s some evidence to suggest that drafting well is almost entirely random chance, and not a persistent skill—so past results don’t actually indicate that the Bucs will continue to get those same results.
But the Bucs do have plenty of reason to be excited about the future. They have a franchise quarterback, they have young, promising talent across the board, they have a few very good veterans, especially on defense, and they find ways to add depth and quality players every year in free agency and the draft.
All of that is a good recipe for sustained success. Now we just have to wait, observe and enjoy.