The 10 most important players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1. WR Mike Evans (39 points)
T-2. WR DeSean Jackson (38)
T-2. DT Gerald McCoy (38)
4. OT Donovan Smith (35)
5. RB Doug Martin (24)
6. LB Lavonte David (21)
T-7. CB Vernon Hargreaves III (14)
T-7. LB Kwon Alexander (14)
T-9. LB Robert Ayers (13)
T-9. TE O.J. Howard (13)
A first in our polls: a player claiming the top spot for his team without actually being ranked No. 1 by any of the pollsters. The honor belongs to Mike Evans, who topped out with a pair of No. 2 votes (Feldman and Kaplan). He landed third (Vrentas), fourth (Single) and fifth (Jones) on the remaining ballots, and the cumulative points were enough to propel Evans past the three Bucs who did score first-place votes: Donovan Smith (Single and Vrentas), DeSean Jackson (Feldman and Jones), and Gerald McCoy (Kaplan).
Kaplan also handed rookie TE O.J. Howard his best finish, in fifth place. Howard saw his name listed on three of five ballots, but he was behind Evans, Jackson and Doug Martin on all of them.
Eric Single defends his first-place vote for Donovan Smith: Jameis Winston has a wealth of shiny toys, but we won’t be able to throw to any of them from his back. Smith’s first two years at left tackle have been hit or miss—now there will be nowhere else to point to if the Buccaneers’ offense doesn’t start clicking.
Other Buccaneers receiving votes: OL Ali Marpet (10 points); DT Chris Baker (seven); TE Cameron Brate, C Joe Hawley (three); S J.J. Wilcox, K Nick Folk, CB Brent Grimes (one).