The 2019 NFL Top 100 is in the books. The coveted top spot goes to Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. There were no Buccaneers in contention for the top spot but there were three Buccaneers on the list: Gerald McCoy at #75, Jason Pierre-Paul at #65, and Mike Evans at #53. The NFL Network annual equivalent of a beauty pageant is voted on by active players only. With high-quality NFL Films video and player interviews, the show is a good transition from the offseason into training camp.
Even a competition where players themselves are the judges. It seems there are factors besides pure playing ability that help increase the chances of making the grade. For example; there are 32 NFL teams with 53 man active rosters. That’s 1,696 NFL players who are eligible for the Top 100. But teams like the Dallas Cowboys (7), Kansas City Chiefs (6), Los Angeles Chargers (6)/Rams (5) and Pittsburgh Steelers (6) add up to 30 of the coveted spots themselves. That means there are 27 other teams with players vying for one of the 70 remaining spots. A winning, high-profile team will get more visibility. A losing team still has outstanding performances but unless players are breaking down hundreds of hours tape, the purest of cream may not always rise to the top.
Buccaneers on the List
The Buccaneers have been represented over the last eight years; usually at the league average of three per year. Four players made the list in 2014: McCoy (#28), Lavonte David (#35), Darelle Revis (#37), and Vincent Jackson (#44). There were no Buccaneers on the 2018 list which seemed to have as much to do with the ho-hum 5-11 season as it did with any apparent lack of talent.
If McCoy had been on last year’s NFC Champion Rams squad scratching out a spot next to Donald who finished #1 on this year’s list, would he have made the Top 100? If Suh had been balling in Tampa Bay next to Jason Pierre-Paul, who did make the list, would Suh have had a better chance to make this year’s list? Will McCoy or Suh find themselves invigorated by their new 2019 surroundings and rally to make next year’s Top 100? Only time will tell.