2010 Record: 10-6 (3-3)
2011 Prediction: 11-5 (4-2)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the surprise team of the NFL after they finished the 2010 season with 10 wins, despite winning just three games the previous season.
Most people seem skeptical of Tampa Bay and view last year's success as anomaly, though I see it more as a sign of things to come.
To say the Buccaneers are a young NFL team is an understatement. Of the 74 players on the Tampa Bay roster, only three are over the age of 30 creating a bright outlook for the future of Buccaneer football.
What is even better is that the future is now for the Buccaneers, and they're only going to get better as each game passes.
Leading the youth movment for the Buccaneers is third year quarterback Josh Freeman. Freeman threw for over 3,400 yards during his sophmore season while connecting on 25 touchdown passes but most importantly throwing only six interceptions.
Mike Williams had one of the most prolific seasons for a rookie receiever in resent memory for Tampa Bay; hauling in 65 receptions for 967 yards with 11 touchdowns and Williams should once again be Josh Freeman's No. 1 receiving target.
Lining up across from Mike Williams will be fellow 2010 draft pick Arrelious Benn. Benn struggled last year and finished the year on the injury reserve, but he showed flashes of potential as the year went on so Benn and Williams should form a dynamic receiver duo.
Running the ball for the Buccaneers will be second year back LeGarrette Blount. Blount, who went undrafted in 2010, was picked up and cut by the Tennessee Titans before finding a home in Tampa Bay.
Blount was one of the biggest surprise of the NFL in 2010, finishing with over 1,000 yards despite not receiving more then 11 carries until week four. LeGarrette Blount looks to be in line for a big year and will give Tampa Bay a balanced attack on offense, something they have lacked for sometime now.
Defensively for Tampa Bay, their are a few question marks or at least areas to monitor for the Bucs.
One area the Buccaneers struggled with in 2010 was getting pressure on the quarterback. Tampa Bay finished the season with only 26 total sacks, good for second to last in the NFL.
To address the need for pass-rushers, the Buccaneers grabbed Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers with their first two picks. Clayborn and Bowers should both start from week one, and if they can gel with Gerald McCoy and Ron Miller/Brian Price, the Tampa Bay defensive line will be much improved from 2010.
Rookie linebacker Mason Foster will have a lot on his plate filling in for the departed Barrett Rudd at middle-linbacker, but Quincy Black and Geno Hayes will make the transition easier for Foster who was a first team All-American as a senior at Washington University.
Tampa Bay just missed the playoffs in 2010, and although they will no longer be able to sneak up on teams in 2011, their young core will have one more year of experience under their belts, and I like them to build off of last year's success.