Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012: Player Power Rankings

Rob Clement@@BigdoodlereportContributor IIISeptember 14, 2012

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012: Player Power Rankings

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    Welcome to the future of power rankings.

    This is a new idea that I have never seen before, especially as applied to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If someone else has done this before, then so be it. There are a million power rankings out there and they are all subjective. 

    This is the premiere edition of the Buccaneers player power rankings.

    The rankings are based upon a few factors.

    Here are the parameters:

    1. Overall impact on the team from week to week.
    2. Overall skill level.
    3. Workload/percentage of snaps played in relation to his position.
    4. Skill above replacement.
    5. Statistical output when applicable.

    Every week the top 10 players on the team as well as the "best of the rest" will be featured.


    Feel free to give your feedback as to how right or crazy you think I am—you won't hurt my feelings. Here we go...

10b) Mike Williams

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    For a guy who was a fourth-round pick, people sure do expect a lot. 

    That being said, Mike Williams has delivered time and time again. Sure he isn't a true No. 1 receiver, but for the first time in his three-year career Williams doesn't have to be. With the addition of Vincent Jackson in the offseason the target no longer rests on the No. 19 jersey. No longer will Williams see coverages rotated towards him. Gone are the days when the opposing No. 1 cornerback has the assignment of shutting down Williams. 

    Going against the second and third cornerbacks on the opponent's depth chart all year, Williams will build on Tampa's only touchdown. He is likely to have a year more reminiscent of his 11-touchdown rookie year than his four-score effort in 2011. 

10a) Michael Bennett

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    Michael Bennett has shown time and time again that he can be a dominant force against the run. He has a knack for pushing offensive linemen backward after getting a great jump and disrupting the run. Bennett was a big part of holding Carolina to 10 rushing yards.

    At times, Bennett can have a positive impact on a game and not even register a tackle. On Sunday however, Bennett recorded two tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble. 

9) Josh Freeman

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    As Raheem Morris used to say, "It's all about No. 5."

    Well, under the new regime, the saying should go, "It's all about No. 5... being efficient." Completing two-thirds of his passes—including a touchdown and zero interceptions—is exactly that, efficient. Sure it wasn't sexy, but who cares? A win is a win. 

    Freeman's numbers will pick up soon enough, but for now Bucs fans can just enjoy watching the efficient, slimmer, gluten-Freeman.

8) Doug Martin

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    Doug Martin's placement on this list is not as much for his numbers, which were good, as it is for his role.

    More important than the 95 yards that Martin ran for in his debut with Tampa was the confidence the coaching staff showed in him. In a close game during the fourth quarter, Martin was called upon to shut the door on Carolina. He did what was asked of him. 

    It is refreshing to see a running back that both fans and coaches alike can trust to be a workhorse. My take is 28 touches is just about a regular Sunday for Martin in 2012.

7) Vincent Jackson

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    This one is simple.

    If Vincent Jackson can stay healthy he will lead the league in third-down conversions for wide receivers. That, in addition to the pressure he is taking off of Mike Williams makes Josh Freeman a happy quarterback. The only concern with Jackson besides health is the drops. If Tampa sticks to the ball-control style of offense, drops that end drives will equate to losses.

6) Aqib Talib

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    Last year and into this offseason there was a ton of uncertainty surrounding Aqib Talib's status. Thanks to some faith shown by GM Mark Dominick, some good lawyers and Bountygate, Talib is no longer on Commissioner Goodell's radar. 

    If he remains out of trouble off the field and stays healthy, Talib can be great.

    He has the potential to shut down any receiver in the NFL. If quarterbacks test him they will end up with more incomplete passes and interceptions. 

5) Adrian Clayborn

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    He may not have recorded a tackle in Week 1, but until that continues, Clayborn will remain near the top of these power rankings. 

    After only a little over one season, he has proven that he can be a dominant defensive end. He has the ability to create a pass rush that the Bucs have missed since Simeon Rice. 

    The big difference between Clayborn and Rice is the power Clayborn displays. The strength Clayborn uses against the run and the pass is something that teams must account for.

4) Ronde Barber

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    Based on Week 1 alone, Barber could be higher on this list. He was all over the field recording a sack and an interception. 

    The reason he is only No. 4 is because Barber playing safety is still a work in progress. Not to mention the physical decline that is obvious to the naked eye. 

    However, I find it hard to believe that a player with the football knowledge of Barber won't continue to impress—much like great corners-turned-safeties Rod and Charles Woodson were able to.

3) Kickers

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    You could consider this a cop out since I am including both Connor Barth and Michael Koenen. If you want to, go ahead, but had I put a kicker and punter on this list I would have been destroyed in the comments.

    I still might be.

    But let's be realistic, if the Bucs are going to win with a ball control/defensive game plan they need to do two things. Have an edge in field position and turn drives into points.

    Barth was perfect in three field goal attempts against Carolina. He also made 17 field goals over 40 yards in 2011, going 26-of-28 overall. He should be considered one of the best in football.

    As for Koenen, in his first year with Tampa in 2011 he averaged over 45 yards a punt. In Week 1, he improved to a 46-yard average in five punts. That, combined with his ability to nearly guarantee a touchback on every kickoff, spells out good field position.

    After seeing the display in Oakland on Monday, Andrew Economos can be included here too. 

2) Gerald McCoy

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    No matter what anyone says, I remain convinced that the Buccaneers defense goes as Gerald McCoy goes. 

    If McCoy is healthy and on the field, everything goes smoother. The Buccaneers are 12-8 with him, 3-10 without. Those numbers say plenty. 

    McCoy is the plug in the middle that holds the team's run defense together. In addition, when the Bucs have the lead, he is a force rushing the passer. Nobody really knows how high the ceiling is for McCoy, but this is certain: If he isn't on the field the defense will fall apart. 

1) Carl Nicks

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    Mike Williams, Josh Freeman, Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson all made the list.

    Without Carl Nicks however, there is a distinct possibility none of them would. Nicks is the glue to the Buccaneers offense. He was the best available free agent this offseason and is the best guard in football. He made players like Jermon Bushrod and Brian de la Puente seem like solid NFL players just by standing next to them.

    With the preseason loss of the other Bucs guard Davin Joseph, Nicks becomes that much more important. With Nicks leading the run game and pass-protections, things are much more exciting for Freeman and company than they were last year.

    Without a doubt, Carl Nicks is the top player in the Buccaneers Play Power Rankings. 

The Best of the Rest

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    Mark Barron, Lavonte David, Donald Penn, Dallas Clark, D.J. Ware...

    Better luck next week fellas!