Links to Like

If you’re a Buccaneers fan looking for something to get you excited during this relative downtime between the draft and the start of OTAs, all you have to do is surf around the web a little bit.  In fact, we’ll help.  Here are a few entertaining and/or optimistic links we found on Tuesday while avoiding actual work:

* Doug Martin is not the number-one running back in the NFL

But he’s pretty darn close.

According to Around the League writer Dan Hanzus on NFL.com, the current king of the mountain at the running back position is Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.  It’s hard to consider that a slight to Martin or anybody else, considering the season for the ages Peterson just had (and the unassailable six-year track record).  What should be encouraging for Buc fans is that, after just one year, Martin already finds himself on the short list right behind Peterson.

Hanzus’s list is sure to set off plenty of debate; in fact, his own colleagues immediately rushed into the fray with some criticism elsewhere on NFL.com.  However, none of the other analysts took issue with Hansus’s choice to put Martin, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster on the list of “Studs” right behind Peterson.

* Bucpower.com is slowly unveiling it’s “All-Time Buccaneer 53”

If you’ve spent any time on Bucpower.com, you know that its creators are slavishly devoted to Buccaneer minutiae.  Like, at a historic level.  You’ll find bios on every Tampa Bay player ever, information on every Buc game ever played…and so on.  It’s rather impressive.

Dipping into that vast knowledge of Buccaneer football, those creators have come up with their version of an all-time team roster, which they are unveiling a little bit at a time.  Sticking to the current limit of 53 players and actually trying to construct a team with specific starting lineups and typical reserves, the Bucpower folks will eventually unveil their choices for everything from the quarterbacks to the punt returner.  The web site says the creators of the team solicited opinions from “team officials, writers, the media and former players,” and we happen to know that to be true.  In the end, it’s their list, though, and it should be entertaining.

So far, Bucpower is seven spots into that full 53, starting along the offensive line.  Spoiler alert: Paul Gruber is the starting left tackle.  Keep an eye on that link in the coming weeks to see how the team fills out.

* Bucs well represented in another list of the league’s best players

We were going to chime in on this list of the Top 101 Players of 2012 on Pro Football Focus, but ESPN’s NFC South blogger, Pat Yasinskas, beat us to it.  Yasinskas makes some good points about where certain NFC South players landed on the list – especially Saints QB Drew Brees – but as a Buc fan it’s hard to find too much fault with the selections.

Of course, the NFL Network is currently in the midst of counting down it’s top 100 players, and that list was created by votes from the players themselves.  So choose the source you find more credible – perhaps the objective number-crunchers at PFF might have a more comprehensive perspective on the matter, or perhaps not – but this is an interesting read either way.

The highest-ranked Buc on the PFF list? DT Gerald McCoy, at #20.  Vincent Jackson, Lavonte David and Doug Martin are all on the list, too.  As Yasinskas points out, Darrelle Revis and Carl Nicks would have been good bets to be on the list if they hadn’t missed so much of the season due to injury…again, this is a list regarding the 2012 season.  We might say the same thing for Davin Joseph, and it’s a bit surprising not to see Dashon Goldson on the list.

As long as you’re checking out Yasinskas’s recent work, here’s his take on why the Bucs’ signing of former Panther DT Andre Neblett was a good idea.

* Too early to enjoy some FANTASY football mock drafting? Nah!

The thousands of mock drafts that preceded the real NFL deal were certainly entertaining but had little chance of finding much success.  On the other hand, mock fantasy drafts contain information you can put to good use, if not for a couple more months.

It’s early, but it’s not too early to start looking at how your fantasy drafts might fall out, and where the Buccaneer studs may go.  Doug Martin is a likely first-rounder in most drafts; Vincent Jackson could potentially sneak into some second rounds.

The experts over at CBSSports.com decided to put together a 12-person fantasy mock draft right after the NFL’s draft, paying special attention to where the newest NFL players would be taken.  This year’s class isn’t likely to have anything like the impact of last year’s (RGIII, Andrew Luck, Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, Trent Richardson, etc.), but there are a few intriguing options.

Anyway, check out the link above to see where Martin and Jackson go among the CBSSports.com drafters, and scroll down to Round 11 to see the next Buccaneer off the board.

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