The Buccaneers have proven that they are the best team in the NFL. One of the best teams in the history of the league, as one of 55 Super Bowl champions. So it makes sense that they have some of the all-time great players on their roster.
This season the Buccaneers have several players who could reach significant milestones and pass some legendary players at their respective positions. These are the names to watch as they continue to move up the all-time leader boards in NFL history.
Top of the Mountain
Tom Brady is just 1,155 yards away from overtaking Drew Brees as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards. And considering Brees retired this offseason following the Saints playoff loss to the Buccaneers, Brady should be able to stand alone atop of the leader board with relative ease this year. The only thing that could stop him is injury *knocks on wood*. If Brady plays the way we all expect him to, it is most likely that he sets this record in week four when he returns to New England in a showdown with his former team.
Catching the All-Time Greats
Antonio Brown will continue to move up the all-time receiving yards leader board this year. He currently sits at 31st all-time with 11,746 yards. If Brown can get just 400 receiving yards this season then he will tie Hall of Famer Charlie Joyner at 25th all time. Should he get the 1,000-yard receiving season that we’ve seen so often from him in his career then he will pass Hall of Famer Art Monk for 22nd all-time (12,721). You may be noticing a trend where Brown’s career continues to take him.
Mike Evans is still a long way from the top of the all-time leader board, but his progress is worth paying attention to. He currently ranks 94th all-time with 8,266 receiving yards. If he gets his regularly scheduled 1,000 yards this season then he will likely move into the top 60 all-time at just 28 years old. Keep in mind, there are a few active players who will be moving up the list this year, such as Golden Tate (8,278), Jimmy Graham (8,339), Rob Gronkowski (8,484), and Emmanuel Sanders (8,619), which could keep Evans out of the top 60, but it seems likely that he will outperform any of these players by at least 350 yards this season which would still put him over each of them all time.
Gronk Being Gronk
Rob Gronkowski has done so much in his career and he will look to further cement himself as one of the best to ever do it this year. He currently sits at 86 career receiving touchdowns which puts him at 15th all-time. It’s worth noting that every single eligible player above him on this list is in the hall of fame.
The Buccaneers tight end has a realistic chance of passing Isaac Bruce (91) for the 12th all-time in this category. He has an outside chance of sneaking into the top 10 if he can bring in 14 touchdowns this year, but that is unlikely. Unfortunately, he is still a ways away from passing either Tony Gonzales (111) or Antonio Gates (116) to become the most prolific scoring tight end in NFL history.
Rushing the Passer
Defensive tackles aren’t typically thought of when talking about the all-time great pass rushers, but there is a decent chance that Ndamukong Suh cracks the top 100 all-time list before the season ends. Suh sits at 64.5 career sacks which is tied for 111th all-time with Jason Babin and Tony Bennett. If he can get just 5 this season then he will pass names such as Brian Orakpo and Justin Tuck to tie Clay Mathews Sr. at 100th all time.
Speaking of all-time great pass rushers, Jason Pierre-Paul will look to keep moving up this list as well. Pierre-Paul has 89 career sacks which puts him tied for 55th all time. In the coming season, he has the potential to pass some of the biggest stars in NFL history in his quest for 100 sacks. Some of the guys he could pass this year include Tamba Hali (89.5), Warren Sapp (96.5), and Mario Williams (97.5). It’s unclear where he’ll be on this list at the end of the season, but he’s only 4.5 from cracking the top 50.
Both Suh and Pierre-Paul could move into the top 15 all-time in tackles for loss as well. Suh currently ranks 22nd (123) and Pierre-Paul ranks 24th (119). Both could pass guys like Joey Porter (124), James Harrison (128), and Dwight Freeney (128) as they look to move into the top 20 in this category. However, neither can claim the top ranks among current Buccaneers players.
Lavonte David is One of the All-Time Great Linebackers
It’s amazing how far ahead Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David is compared to other active players on the all-time tackles list. He currently sits at 30th overall with 806 career tackles which are the most of any active player. Only nine other players crack the top 100 and the closest is Malcolm Jenkins at 40th all time. David is now chasing some of the best to ever do it. If he can manage to get 105 tackles this season, which is a realistic number for him even without a 17th game, he would tie Brian Dawkins for 20th all time. If he can maintain the pace he’s been on for his entire career, David will find himself in the top 5 all-time and potentially pass Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks in four years.
More than just tackles, David is climbing the all-time ranks in tackles for loss. This stat only came into play in 1999, but David has established himself as one of the very best since then. He currently ranks 16th with 128 in his nine-year career. Those within 10 tackles for a loss ahead of him are some names you might recognize. Guys like Clay Mathews Jr (130), Aaron Donald (131), Von Miller (135), and Brian Urlacher (138) are all names who played their full career in this time and could be passed by David this season.