If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are to accomplish their goal of "going for two" - to repeat as Super Bowl champions this year - a handful of select players will have to be at the top of their games all season long.
Therefore, AllBucs has compiled a list of the ten most important Buccaneers entering the 2021 season, ranked from No. 10 down to the most crucial of the bunch at No. 1. Although this list is unique, the most important Buc - who will be revealed at a later date - may seem fairly obvious.
But, who else needs to make a large impact this year in order for Tampa Bay to reach, and win, Super Bowl LVI? Although there are several Tampa Bay wide receivers that could reasonably be included on this list, we believe the most important of the bunch is Chris Godwin.
Most important Buccaneers, No. 8: Chris Godwin
Throughout the 2020 season, the Buccaneers pass-catching corps was one of if not the strongest aspect of the team's offense. Mike Evans was a touchdown machine, Antonio Brown was productive after signing around midseason, and Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson even made their mark as a part of the rotation.
And of course, there was also Chris Godwin, who ranked second on the team in receptions with 65, yards with 840, and touchdowns with seven (tied with Rob Gronkowski).
However, ask anyone, and they'd consider Godwin's 2020 campaign at least slightly disappointing.
This primarily has to do with the fact that he missed four games throughout the year and primarily dealt with an injured finger. Although he returned to the lineup full-time by midseason, Godwin continued to play through pain with pins in his finger from an operation. Those pins were removed in early December, and in his final three games of the year, Godwin exploded for 253 yards on 14 receptions, scoring four touchdowns.
Once again, Godwin looked like the receiver he established himself as in years past, showcasing dominance much like his 1333-yard, nine-touchdown 2019 season. He kept his production up into the postseason, hauling in another 16 passes for 232 yards and a score.
However, the typically sure-handed Godwin developed a bad drop habit over the course of the year, and it became a legitimate problem in the playoffs. After posting four drops in his first three seasons combined, Godwin tallied nine in 2020, including five in the Wild Card round against Washington alone (per Pro Football Focus).
Can this be blamed on Godwin's finger injury? Probably. The Washington game was also at night, in January, in Landover, Maryland. Temperatures were unlike any that Godwin played in throughout the entire season. Combine those factors and the product speaks for itself.
Given his lack of drops in the past and an entire offseason to heal, ideally, this will not become a repetitive issue for Godwin moving forward. With the injury in his rear-view mirror, Godwin is also a candidate to reach 1000+ receiving yards in 2020, an admirable feat considering at least three receivers in Tampa Bay's offense are proven capable of hitting that milestone.
This is why, despite all of the options at his position, Godwin is the most important receiver Tampa Bay has entering 2021. He seemingly has the most to prove, and he's proven himself as an elite receiver in the past despite his third-round selection in 2017.
Godwin enters the season on the franchise tag with hopes of earning a long-term contract extension come 2022. The Buccaneers are as eager as Godwin is the reach a deal that keeps the 25-year-old pass-catcher in Tampa Bay for the remainder of his career, but that will require a bounce-back year in 2021 to make any extension worthwhile for both parties.
Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason updates, and other news and analysis.