Jeremy Fowler and ESPN are embarking on their mission to rank players by position groups to form a Top-10 at each. To do so, they’re using feedback from 50 people inside the league, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already been well represented in the early going.
The series started dropping on Monday with edge rushers leading the way. No surprise there really as pass rushers have become sexier and sexier in the public eye. Then it was on to interior defensive linemen on Tuesday.
It’ll come as no surprise to Bucs fans both Vita Vea and Shaquil Barrett was named in the poll results, but only one of them made it into the Top-10 in his position group.
Barrett was on the outside of the Top-10 looking in when the results dropped earlier this week. Fowler quoted one AFC Executive as having said about Barrett,
“He’s a pure pass-rusher and very talented but not sure he’s as complete a player as others on this list. The Bucs needed to wait and see on him with the franchise tag. But he was [great] in the playoffs and [is] a helluva player. But if we’re talking top 10, that’s a tough sell for me.”
Of course, we don’t know who said it. A necessary evil in an exercise like this one.
While one Buccaneers player didn’t quite make the cut, another did. Vea came in ninth despite missing most of the 2020 regular season and the beginning of the post-season.
It wasn’t how much Vea played which got him on the list though, it was his impact when he did, as Fowler quoted another source involved in the polling as saying,
“Once he got back in the playoffs, they were different. You couldn’t do anything against them...Vita can rush [the] passer, has force — more a Deebo [the “Friday” character], not a craftsman. If he wants to get in, he gets in.”
None of this is news to those who watch Tampa Bay closely of course, but it’s good to know others around the league are aware of it as well.
The lists will continue to come out, and we’ll continue to churn out reports and reactions as they do. For now though, the real question is: Did Shaq get snubbed?
James Yarcho and I answered that question on today’s episode of the Locked On Bucs Podcast, and we’d love to hear - or read - your thoughts about it as well.
Should Shaq Barrett have been Top-10 among NFL edge rushers in this year’s NFL poll?
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