There are going to be two types of Bucs fans this season, with half being bandwagon fans and the other half being really happy that they now have Tom Brady as their quarterback. Combine one of the greatest football players of all-time with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, and Brady’s favorite tight-end Rob Gronkowski, their offense will be dangerous. Whether or not their defense will carry their weight is yet to be determined, but here are the award predictions for the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season.
Make sure to check out all of our other team award predictions here.
MVP: Tom Brady
I do not think there should really be any question here. Brady was the MVP for the Patriots every year during his time there. He will give the Bucs stability at the position that has been the most volatile since Jameis Winston was drafted in 2015. Brady will have offensive weapons that he hasn’t had since Randy Moss and will be able to rely on playmakers more than he has been able to in recent years. Looking to prove that he made the Patriots and not Bill Belichick, Brady will be highly motivated to play at a high level and lead the Bucs to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Offensive Player: Mike Evans
Evans has been one of the best receivers in the NFL since coming into the league in 2014. Averaging over 1,000 yards per season and eight touchdowns a season, Evans now will have one of the best quarterbacks ever throwing to him. Although Winston may be better currently at throwing the deep ball, Evans will have plenty of well-timed slants and out-routes that have been off-line or mistimed his entire career. Look for Evans to dominate with Godwin by his side yet again and show why he is a top-five receiver in the NFL. Godwin will likely get more attention in 2020, and with Gronkowski stealing attention in the red zone, Evans will fly under the radar somehow for most of the year.
Defensive Player: Shaquil Barrett
Again, there should not be many questions here. After posting 19.5 sacks in 2019, Barrett will enter his age 27 seasons as one of the best edge rushers in the game. Although he will likely get more attention, Barrett has shown the explosion and moves necessary to split doubles and dominate tight ends who try to chip him off the snap.
Offensive Rookie: Tristan Wirfs
Wirfs was a dominant tackle in college, one of the reasons he went high in the 2020 NFL draft. He was a coveted asset for the Bucs. Tampa Bay clearly prioritized protection for Brady in this draft, giving him a young powerful tackle to pair with Donovan Smith. Honorable mention to Ke’Shawn Vaughn who you’ll see in a moment.
Defensive Rookie: Antoine Winfield Jr.
Another top rookie that will likely star for the Bucs, Winfield. After playing strong safety at Minnesota, Winfield will probably be the starting safety this season over Jordan Whitehead. Although Winfield is smaller at 5’9, he has the ball skills and coverage skills necessary to consistently make impact plays which will be key to getting the ball back in the hands of Brady and his slew of weapons.
Biggest Surprise: Ke′Shawn Vaughn
Vaughn finished his college career at Vanderbilt after playing his first two seasons at the University of Illinois. While the Bucs starter will be Ronald Jones II, Vaughn has the chance at getting significant touches out of the backfield in 2020. With only one season as a starter under Jones’ belt, there should be more of a running back by committee in Tampa Bay. This will allow Vaughn to increase his value to Tampa Bay and possibly to fantasy owners as well.
Biggest Disappointment: Rob Gronkowski
This may be controversial so here it goes. The Bucs will not get prime Gronkowski here. Tampa Bay will not be getting the tight-end that will put up 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Due to injury history, a year off from football, and a different system, there will be an adjustment period for Gronkowski in Tampa. After a rough first half of the season, Gronkowski will adjust to the flow in Tampa Bay. He will return to a closer version of his old self. With OJ Howard lurking in the shadows, Gronkowski will be more of a pure red zone threat than anything.
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