The Buccaneers have not had a player win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award since 2005, when it went to RB Cadillac Williams. (Warrick Dunn also won it in 1997). The team has never had a player win the defensive version of that award, at least not the official Associated Press version. DT Santana Dotson got a nod in that direction in 1992 from two publications that used to give out rafts of awards: Football Digest and College and Pro Football Newsweekly.
There is a very real chance a Buccaneer could take home both of those award in 2012. At the very least, several Bucs have forced their way into the conversation.
That’s the opinion of SI.com’s Jim Trotter, at the very least. Trotter has posted his top three front-runners for all of the NFL’s major awards in 2012, and two Buc rookies are prominently featured. RB Doug Martin is third on his list for Offensive Rookie of the Year, behind the first two picks in the 2012 draft, QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III (in reserve order). On defense, LB Lavonte David is Trotter’s second pick behind Seattle LB Bobby Wagner.
Trotter refers to Martin as “one of the game’s dynamic young players at the position.” He lauds David not only for his own strong play but for being the Buccaneers’ signal-caller on defense. Trotter says David “consistently shows up when big plays need to be made.”
Check out all of SI.com’s predictions on the 2012 player awards. Trotter updates the list every Tuesday (you can see that he had Martin at #1 a week ago), so it’s worth a weekly check.