The NFL season is nearly upon us and it’s time to take stock. In this piece we rank the preseason potential of each roster from worst to best.
NFL teams are gradually hitting the practice field for training camp. That means it’s time to really dig in to what each team has. A few transactions here and there may change the edge of some rosters, but the vast majority of teams already have their corps in tact. That means it’s time to make some preseason judgments about who has the goods to make it to a Super Bowl and which teams should be evaluating the top prospect in next year’s draft.
This piece will take you through each team in the NFL. Our only grading criteria here is what the team will look like this season. It’s not an attempt to judge each team five years down the line. Tom Brady, even in his 40s, is more valuable than Baker Mayfield in 2018.
Also remember that positions matter. Having a solid quarterback in place matters more than making sure you have an All-Pro punter. If your favorite franchise isn’t set under center, expect to find them at the bottom of this list. We start off with a team who’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons this offseason.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yes, the three-game suspension of Jameis Winston has a lot to do with this ranking. He isn’t the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, but he isn’t in the top tier. The fact that he also brings a media circus along with him helps the Bucs find themselves on the bottom of this list.
The offense isn’t going to be helped much by its offensive line either. Demar Dotson is a good player at right tackle, but no one else on the roster projects to even be league average at their position. That places too much pressure on Winston, a quarterback who struggles to read coverages, to make decisions under pressure.
Tampa Bay’s front office will hope their defense can prop the offense up, but the acquisitions of Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry aren’t enough to fix the team’s issues rushing the passer. Gerald McCoy is a monster, but he simply doesn’t have enough help. Look for the Buccaneers to flounder this season and head into next summer searching for a real direction. They won’t finish with the league’s worst record, but they may be the furthest team away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.