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Recently Cheap Lavonte David Jersey , SB Nation looked at the recruit ranking for every starter in the Super Bowl. that’s OK. Know that “blue chips” are four and five star players and are relatively rare and highly-coveted, while the majority of recruits out of high school are rated three stars or lower. In fact, one benchmark to winning a national championship in college appears to be recruiting more blue chip players than not. Recruiting services have come a long way in the last decade or so. Fewer players fall through the cracks than they used to, but it still happens.We also know that being a blue chip recruit makes you more likely to be drafted, more likely to be drafted high in the draft, and more likely to start more games in the NFL and make Pro Bowl and All-Pro rosters. In other words, talent matters.Everyone is talented in the NFL though, right? And team talent across the league is probably only separated by a few degrees. Still, it’s fun to look at, and there does appear to be some correlation there between blue chip talent and the Super Bowl. So how do the two Super Bowl teams this year stack up? The New England Patriots’ starters have an average former star rating of 2.9 (they had three starters who went unranked). If you only count the rated players, their average is 3.2. Tom Brady was famously unrated because he came out of high school before recruiting services were what they are today. They listed him as a likely four star. As they note, Chris Hogan slipped through the cracks because he played lacrosse, not football. The Los Angeles Rams are slightly more talented. Their starters’ average former star rating is 3.4. They only had one former unranked recruit, linebacker Samson Ebukam from the Pacific Northwest. Still, talent will only get you so far. The Carolina Panthers were overall more talented than the Denver Broncos, but Von Miller is an alien and turnovers will kill your chances. So what is the overall talent breakdown this year?Here are handy graphs to help illustrate that point:Again - talent (read: athleticism) matters. So, just for fun, what was the average star rating of the Bucs’ starters last season? 2018 Bucs Starters Recruit RankingsPlayerStarsCollegePlayerStarsCollegeI picked starters by this season’s snap counts, and I used 247Sports’ composite rankings, which average the main recruiting services’ rankings together. Now, I took a few liberties - there are 23 starters here, not 22. One QB, one RB, four WRs Buccaneers Ali Marpet Jersey , two TEs, five OL, four DL, two LBs, two CBs, and two S’s. With this set of players, the Bucs’ average star rating is 2.8, with a whopping six players who were not rated. If you only count the players that were rated, the Bucs’ star average is 3.8.I left off guys like Chris Conte (three star), and Ryan Smith (0 star or N/A), and Vinny Curry (2 star), and Vernon Hargreaves III (5 star). Curry played about 40 percent of the defensive snaps last year. Hargreaves was a likely third starter at corner before he went down with injury. I also left off Adarius Taylor (three star), who played for the injured Kwon Alexander. There are also interesting cases like Demar Dotson. Dotson was a three star basketball recruit at Southern Mississippi. He wasn’t recruited to play college football because he had never played football. Ever. But he walked into Larry Fedora’s office one day and walked on to the football team. As a defensive tackle. One year later, the Bucs picked him up as an UDFA and he’s been playing right tackle ever since. If Dotson had played high school football he probably would have been a two or three star offensive tackle.Ali Marpet famously went to small Division III Hobart College in New York. How did Marpet fall through the cracks? Same way a lot of other linemen do: he didn’t weigh anything in high school, and has since put on a great deal of weight without losing any athleticism. Some guys have the frame for it but are just late bloomers. Marpet played offensive line as a high school freshman at 160 lbs, then quit to play basketball his sophomore year, then played football again as a junior at 210 lbs. He probably didn’t weigh much more than that as a senior. Marpet now weighs over 300 lbs and his testing numbers are elite for NFL offensive linemen. If he hadn’t developed late he likely would have been a blue chip recruit.Brent Grimes came out of high school around the time when recruiting services weren’t all that reliable, plus he was really small. Grimes is for sure gone next year and Conte is likely to be as well. Hargreaves will probably be back, but in what role? Also, note that Caleb Benenoch is a former blue chip, but he isn’t starting quality; at least in 2018 he wasn’t. We’ll see if new run game coordinator Harold Goodwin and offensive line coach Joe Gilbert can get the most out of him or if the Bucs decide to move on.Even with all that, the Buccaneers don’t lack for talent. They have done pretty well finding diamonds in the rough too. With the way I did the roster, the Bucs have 11 former blue chip players and 12 non-blue chip, or about 47 percent blue chip. If you add in Hargreaves it’s 50 percent each; either way, higher than the combined average of the starters in today’s Super Bowl.Yarcho’s Pick Six: Bucs Shock The NFL World WOW. Are you kidding me? Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers came out in New Orleans and out dueled the high octane Cheap Donovan Smith Jersey , sexy Super Bowl pick Saints by a score of 48-40. The offense was nearly unstoppable and the defense came up in big spots when needed. Add all that up and you have the upset of the week and a Buccaneers team in first place in the NFC South.Who would’ve guessed that would happen heading into the season?It was a crazy game that definitely kept the blood pressure spiked all the way to the end. Let’s Pick Six.Six Topics Suitable For ConversationTodd Monken Is THE MAN. - When was the last time we saw the offense click like this? Fitzpatrick finished with 417 passing yards (a career high) and four touchdowns as well as one more on the ground. The Bucs had two receivers combine for 293 yards and three touchdowns. They had two touchdowns of 50+ yards. You could tell an obvious difference in the playcalling, performance, and execution of the offense from the word go. Koetter made the right call to give Monken the reigns and the Buccaneers will reap the benefits.Pass Rush Was Decent, But Not There Yet - As the game went on, the pressure continued to get to Brees. However, the line just couldn’t seem to finish things off. If they continue to trend in that direction, this will be a formidable crew. They still have a long way to go, but things certainly aren’t as bleak as last season - or as they looked in preseason. Vinny Curry was able to get the lone sack of the day for either team, which certainly helped. As for the secondary...Secondary Still Leaves A Lot To Be Desired - Yes, Brent Grimes was out and that didn’t help. Once the Bucs lost Vernon Hargreaves III after he had a key pass break up, Drew Brees was able to absolutely shred the secondary with no resistance. Granted, the soft coverage and prevent defense Mike Smith was calling didn’t help matters any, but the rookies still have quite the learning curve to adapt to - especially if Grimes and VHIII are going to miss significant time.DeSean Jackson Is Who We Thought He Was - When the Buccaneers signed DeSean Jackson, this is what we had visions of. Receptions of 58 yards (touchdown), 36 yards (touchdown), and 35 yards were exactly what we thought we would see on a week in, week out basis out of the speedster. Now, just have to hope that the shoulder injury isn’t serious and the concussion doesn’t linger...Mike Evans Gets The Monkey Off His Back - Historically, Mike Evans has not done well against the Saints. We’re talking about 25 receptions for 300 yards and two touchdowns in seven games. His career high in yards against the Saints was 97, coming in 2016 and he’s had four games under 50 yards - one game with zero. Not great. On Sunday, Evans exploded for 147 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions and those seven receptions came on seven targets - a 100% catch percentage for the fifth year receiver. The Bucs needed every inch of his yardage to beat the Saints and Evans was clutch all day long.Relax - Bucs fans everywhere are going to be over-the-moon hyped after this win. Enjoy it, yes - but keep things in perspective. It’s only one game. Don’t get too high off the highs or too low off the lows. The Bucs still have business to take care of, massive improvements to make, and have the defending Super Bowl champions headed to town. No, they won’t have Carson Wentz or Alshon Jeffrey - but they didn’t in week one either and still beat Atlanta. Their defense is no joke and the Buccaneers will have to be every bit as efficient on offense as they were against the Saints to steal another win. Things look good Peyton Barber Jersey , but it’s a long season.Six Number To Consider48 - Most points scored by the Buccaneers in franchise history, including three previous times - most recently in Super Bowl XXXVII against the Raiders0 - Turnovers by the Buccaneers’ offense33 - Evans’ career touchdowns, second all-time in Bucs’ history - and only one behind Jimmie Giles31 - First half points by the Bucs, the most in franchise history when on the road2001 - The last year the Buccaneers scored more than 30 points in the first half of a game9 - Number of 20+ yard plays by the BuccaneersSix Top Performers6.) Chris Godwin - Nearly had a 100+ yard game had Fitz not had one rare miss on a deep pass, but Godwin had the catch of the day as well as a phenomenal touchdown in the first half. Wasn’t the “light up the stat sheet” day I predicted, but a solid start to his sophomore season.5.) Kwon Alexander - Not a great opening drive for the linebacker, but Kwon settled in and finished his day with nine tackles, one for loss, and a key forced fumble on Michael Thomas late in the game.4.) Peyton Barber - Rough second half, but Barber ran hard all day long. Barber ended up with 69 yards on 19 carries for a 3.6 yards per carry average - that was after averaging over eight per carry in the first half. When the Bucs tried to run out the clock, the Saints sent the house after Barber. Solid game - and a bright future ahead.3.) Mike Evans - Seven receptions, 147 yards, one touchdown, and a 21.0 yards per catch average. Elite performance. Evans also climbed higher in the Bucs’ record books and will likely break two records next week against the Eagles.2.) DeSean Jackson - Five receptions, 146 yards, and two touchdowns. DJax finished with a 29.2 yards per catch average, he battled back after injuring his shoulder on the first drive, and was a major impact player all game long.1.) Ryan Fitzpatrick - A career high 417 passing yards to go with his four touchdown passes. Then add in 36 rushing yards - including the crucial eleven yard scramble to end the game - and a rushing touchdown and Ryan Fitzmagic was the best performing quarterback in the NFL in week one. Because, who didn’t see that coming?Six Best TweetsThese are the six best in-game tweets, in no particular orderThis next one was a big ol’ oops, huh?Watch the face plant by Lattimore...Too many out there can relate;Six Super Bowl Best Bets1.) Minnesota Vikings - Still think they’re the team to beat in the NFC. They have the QB in place2.) New England Patriots - Until someone knocks them off...3.) Philadelphia Eagles - Escaped Thursday with the win. The defense is one of the best and just have to tread water until Wentz returns4.) Jacksonville Jaguars - Statement win on the road. The Jags defense is still a force to be reckoned with5.) New Orleans Saints - Don’t get it twisted. This team started 0-2 last season and were a fluke play from the NFC Championship. They’re much better than they looked on Sunday and are still legit contenders16.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I expect hand written apologies from every “expert” that picked the Bucs to be the worst team in the NFL and finish with one or two wins. You know who you are.Six Final WordsCan Bucs Shock The World Again?
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