The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a great head coach and one of the better young rosters in the league in my opinion. I think 2013 you can count this whole team as a potential breakout team, but we’ll identify some individual players here in a bit.
Last season, the Bucs got off to a slow start and they weren’t quite able to put anything together at the end of the season to push them into the playoffs. They wound up with the 13th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and felt like they needed to make a big move to upgrade their defensive secondary and trade that selection for All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.
During the 2012 offseason, the Bucs made some huge splashes by signing Carl Nicks, Vincent Jackson, and Eric Wright, and this offseason they went out and got Revis as well as Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson. I think it’s safe to say that the regime in Tampa Bay is not afraid to make big moves, but they have some interesting young players that they’ve drafted as well.
Here are three players that I think could break out for the Buccaneers in the 2013 season, one from each of the last three draft classes.
Third Year — Adrian Clayborn/Da’Quan Bowers, DE
The top two picks of the 2011 NFL Draft for the Buccaneers are ready to break out in the 2013 season. Clayborn played in just three games last season before suffering a season-ending injury, and Bowers played in just 10. Since these guys haven’t seen the field much since their rookie seasons, I think it’s a safe bet for both of them to have big years this year.
Clayborn had 7.5 sacks as a rookie, which is three more than Bowers has over the course of his first two seasons, but Bowers is insistent that 2013 is going to be the year he makes his mark on the NFL. He says that anything less than double-digit sack totals will be a disappointment for him as an individual, and Clayborn isn’t rushing himself back onto the field after his ACL injury.
I think these two players could easily combine for 15-20 sacks this season, and if that’s the case, I think the Bucs are going to win more games, plain and simple. These two were picked in the top two rounds for a reason, and they can be key reasons why Tampa Bay returns to the playoffs in 2013.