The NFL continued to unveil “The Top 100 Players of 2020” on Tuesday night, counting down from No. 40 to No. 11, and four more Buccaneers players appeared on the list.
The list, which is voted on by the league’s players, has already caused plenty of debate—as it usually does. The validity of it has been questioned, players have traded barbs on Twitter about it and fans have spent plenty of time arguing back and forth as well.
Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David kicked things off at No. 100 on Sunday night, but no Bucs appeared on the portion of the list that was announced on Monday. But on Tuesday, there was plenty of representation for the team.
First, it was Chris Godwin making his “NFL Top 100” debut, coming in at No. 38:
Godwin was a sure bet for this list after breaking out in a big way last year. He proved to be one of the league’s best receivers, catching 86 passes for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games en route to his first career Pro Bowl nod. He posted six 100-yard receiving games and three multi-touchdown games in what was his third NFL season. Another year like he had in 2019 and he may find himself even higher on next year’s version of this list.
Up next, it was Shaquil Barrett, who also made his “NFL Top 100” debut. The league’s 2019 sack leader came in at No. 32:
Barrett, like Godwin, broke out in 2019. He signed a one-year deal with the Bucs in free agency and quickly became a star in Todd Bowles’ defense. A three-sack game against the Panthers in Week 2 put him on the map, but he stayed consistent all year, finishing with 19.5 sacks. That was good for tops in the league, as well as a new single-season franchise record. He also totaled six forced fumbles, proving to be even more of a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. His monster year earned him a Pro Bowl selection—his first—and this impressive debut ranking in the NFL’s Top 100.
It wasn’t long before the next Buc appeared on the list, with Mike Evans coming in at No 30:
No. 30 seems a bit low for a guy who legitimately has a strong case for being in the top five at his position, but it’s still a 23-spot jump from last year’s rankings for Evans, who posted yet another 1,000-yard season in 2019. It was the sixth straight year he has surpassed that mark, making him just the second player in NFL history to start a career with six consecutive years of 1,000 receiving yards. The other? Randy Moss. In just 13 games last season, Evans posted 67 receptions for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 17.3 yards per catch on his way to another Pro Bowl selection, his third.
And finally, one of the newest Buccaneers unsurprisingly claimed a spot in the top 15 of this list. Tom Brady came in at No. 14, becoming the fourth Tampa Bay player to appear between No. 40 and No. 11 and the fifth Buc to appear on the list overall:
Brady is down from No. 6 to No. 14, which is perhaps understandable. But this is a guy who still has a chip on his shoulder from his draft position 20 years ago, so despite the fact that this list means nothing, Brady may carry a Michael Jordan-like grudge into this season.
Of course, Brady’s resume speaks for itself. He is a six-time Super Bowl champion, a three-time league MVP and a 14-time Pro Bowl selection. And while he may be turning 43 in a few days, he is still elite and looking to prove that time hasn’t caught up to him yet. Last year, in his 20th season with the Patriots, he completed 60.8% of his passes, throwing for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Then, this past offseason he became a free agent for the first time in his career. And rather than stay in New England, he chose to sign a two-year deal with Tampa Bay. The Bucs now have the G.O.A.T., and they’re looking to make a run for the Super Bowl in what is sure to be a very interesting 2020 season.
The top 10 of the “NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2020” will be unveiled on Wednesday night, with the debating and arguing sure to continue on Twitter and around social media into the weekend.