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NFL 2024 Team Breakdown: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

For the first time this series, I cover a playoff team from last season. Despite some improvements, I think this team lost some juice in important areas across the board. How far will the Bucs fall after their Divisional Round appearance last postseason?

We round out the bottom 10 with my 23rd overall team below.

Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports



  1. Top 5 WR Duo

  2. Individual Defensive Superstars

  3. Innovative Offensive Playcaller

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are like PB&J - they go together so well, despite completely different makeups. Evans has been one of the most consistent WR1s in the league, and Godwin has been a perfect secondary option if 13 isn't open. Whether Godwin is out wide or in the slot, his savviness as a route runner always gives defenses an extra point of worry each week.

The Bucs have some big name defenders in their midst. Between Antoine Winfield Jr, Lavonte David, Vita Vea, and Jamel Dean, they singlehandedly lift this defense up - and will continue to do so this season. It's even more beneficial that they play on all different areas of the defense, allowing Todd Bowles to disguise and scheme it up without losing too much firepower at any one position.

Liam Coen is going to get the most out of this offense. He's already stated he's going to use Godwin a ton out of the slot, which is a huge plus for this pass attack. He's a YAC monster, and in three seasons with over 100 targets and over 60% of his snaps coming out of the slot, he's recorded 1,690 YAC (5.87 YAC per reception). Coen's shown success as an offensive coordinator with the Kentucky Wildcats and Los Angeles Rams over the past three years, and he should lighten the load taken on by Dave Canales leaving.


  1. Weak Pass Rush

  2. Shallow CB Room

  3. Subpar Offensive Line

Outside of Vita Vea, there's no clear threat to win pass rushes on a consistent basis. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka hasn't lived up to first round value, Calijah Kancey struggled mightily his rookie year, and Yaya Diaby and Chris Braswell are relatively unproven. Even depth pieces like Anthony Nelson and Logan Hall haven't shown to be a worthy presence when they have seen the field.

With the departure of Carlton Davis this offseason and Sean Murphy-Bunting the one before, this CB room now relies on Zyon McCollum and Bryce Hall to step up in a big way. Christian Izien and Tykee Smith will most likely battle it out for the nickel spot, but the corner opposite Jamel Dean looks to be in bad shape.

Tristan Wirfs is one of the best tackles in the league, and Graham Barton will thrive as a center, but the rest of the OL looks shaky. Cody Mauch was inadequate as a rookie, and Ben Bredeson was even worse in his fourth season in 2023, with both posting a sub-45 overall blocking grade. Luke Goedeke drastically improved from his rookie campaign, as he jumped from a 43.7 to a 72.5 overall blocking grade. If Mauch and Bredeson can't put it together, defensive tackles will feast against them every week.

Key Additions

  1. Graham Barton - Center

  2. Tykee Smith - Defensive Back

  3. Bucky Irving - Running Back

The Bucs biggest need heading into the 2024 offseason was any position along the offensive line. They could've moved around the draft to get one of the top tackles, but they stuck firm and drafted Graham to play center. He anchors better than any lineman in this draft class, and he's got great footwork to handle the faster rushers as well.

Tykee was one of "my guys" in this class, as he looked outright unstoppable from the slot on defense. With Antoine playing free safety full time, Tykee will have a chance to compete against Izien for the starting nickel spot. I believe Smith will end up winning the job, as he brings better physicality and instincts to the position.

Bucky was my top RB in this class, and for good reason. Now he lands in Tampa Bay where, despite a great fantasy season from Rachaad White, he will have a chance to compete for the starting role. Rachaad was one of the least efficient runners in the league, as he averaged 3.64 yards per carry and 2.53 yards after contact, which ranked 40th and 42nd among RBs with 100+ carries respectively. Irving looks to outpace him there, as he put up 6.47 yards per carry and 3.99 yards after contact. Granted, this was in college, but those metrics do translate well to the NFL.

Dark Horse

Yaya Diaby - Edge Defender

It took a while for Yaya to get going, but once he did, he proved he can be a starter. Over the first 10 games of the season, he never had more than 20 pass rushes a game and recorded an 8.33% pressure rate. From Week 12 to Week 17, he never had a game with less than 20 pass rushes, and upped his pressure rate to 8.97%. This isn't the biggest jump in the world, but he made his case in the final four games of the year, where he posted a 12.79% pressure rate, as he put up 11 pressures on 86 pass rushes. He may not be a world beater, but he's definitely in line to start and make a solid contribution.

Photo: Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times



The Bucs play 9 games against bottom 10 teams, and 5 games against top 10 teams according to my rankings. Given four of those bottom games are against division rivals, they'll most likely split those, and if they win the other 5 games against bottom competition, then they can pick up that additional win against the Cowboys. They may steal one against a top 10 team, but it's unlikely.


Final Notes

This Bucs offense will feel the departure of Dave Canales, even if Coen is a fine replacement. The defense will need to step up in a big way for this team to be better than last season, especially since the rest of the division got better.


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