For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be successful in 2020, three second-year players need to continue their upward trajectory. Their improvement would add momentum, strengthen the team, and push the team to a winning record. The following players can become a real standout in 2020.
The 2019 draft saw the Tampa Bay load up on defense. Naturally, this means in the second year of Todd Bowles system, the players should improve. The game will appear to slow down for these players and make for a defense that will be impactful.
For first-round selections, expectations are innately high. Being selected in the top ten means the team is looking for you to be a perennial talent with the ability to single-handedly influence a game. White looks to improve on a rookie year that had some great flashes of talent for Tampa and become a standout player.
In 2019, White played and started in 13 games. Racking up 91 total tackles with 58 solo. He added two-and-a-half sacks and five quarterback hits. His versatility came through in the form of three pass deflections and forced fumbles.
White primarily lined up in the box and played 72% of the defensive snaps. His play ratio was two to one in passing versus running snaps. This leaves White in the greatest position of the second-year players to have an impact with an improvement in 2020. On pass-rushing White grades out as 53.1, 28 out of 32 linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). For run defense, he grades as a 46.9, 68th out of 89 linebackers.
There is much room for improvement. Given the surrounding players, Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett, who can provide leadership and mentorship, he should take the next step. White will be more comfortable in Bowles’ defense to understand his assignments better and should become the game-changing talent he was they drafted him to be.
Dean finds himself on this list jumping Sean Murphy-Bunting who was drafted one round ahead of him. Selected in the third round 94th overall, Dean looks to become a standout corner after grading well in limited snaps last season.
Dean should see 2020 become a year where he can make a name for himself. After playing in 13 games and starting in four Dean only played 32% of defensive snaps. Pro Football Focus has him grading well in those snaps and should give Bowles a corner to be utilized more, making him a player who can stand out.
Overall, Dean graded out with a 76.4, 12th out of 115 cornerbacks for 2019. Fans last year saw his prowess and were clamoring for him to see the field more. IN his limited time his coverage grade was a team-high at 78.9. Dean hauled in two interceptions and 17 pass deflections. To put that in perspective, Carlton Davis had two more deflections (19) and one less interception while playing in 2.45 times more snaps in 2019.
Dean has proven himself in his small sample size, should see the field more, and can be a standout player for this defense in the 2020 season.
Most people will cringe when reading that name. How could Gay be considered as a potential second-year standout? Subsequently, it comes down to perspective. After missing game-winning kicks and leaving points on the field with his misses, all Gay has to do, assuming he’s the kicker, is make one kick. If Gay kicks a game-winning field goal in the closing seconds of a game, the praises heaped on him will push him close, if not into stand out player contention.
In 2019 Gay made 77.1% of his field-goal attempts putting him 24th overall in kicking percentage. If he improves 10%, he will end up in the top ten percent of kickers. Now, this is no easy feat, but he was a rookie and with renewed confidence, can kick better. Gay’s extra point percentage has him sitting 23rd overall in the 2019 season. A 5% increase in extra points made would place him in the top ten.
All Gay has to do is slightly improve and NOT miss a game-winning kick and opinions on his play will swing drastically in his favor making him a standout year two-player.
Monitor these three players, Tampa Bay fans!
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