My Official All-Decade Ballot & The Bucs

March 11th, 2020

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Another ballot just arrived from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, one with long-lasting ramifications.

This time around, selectors aren’t whittling down a list of potential finalists. This vote is for the All-Decade team, covering the years 2010-2019, and there are several strong candidates representing the Buccaneers.

Making an All-Decade team is a major accomplishment, an honor that usually goes a long way in shaping a nominee’s Hall of Fame credentials.

For example, safeties Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins and Steve Atwater recently earned busts in Canton ahead of John Lynch, in part because they were All-Decade players and Lynch was not.

That discrepancy has come up during the Hall of Fame discussions involving Lynch, whose career didn’t neatly fit into a single decade. His game took off upon Tony Dungy’s arrival in 1996 and Lynch retired as a Bronco following the 2007 season.

In evaluating the NFL’s premier performers from 2010-2019, three Tampa Bay players demand serious consideration.

The Local Threesome

I placed Mike Evans on my second team at the wide receiver position, even though he didn’t begin his pro career until 2014. Evans is on a Hall of Fame trajectory and he’s just entering his prime years.

Bad timing for Mike Evans, explains Ira Kaufman.

My first-team receivers are Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, who narrowly beat out Evans with the help of one additional season in the decade.

Jones is the league’s all-time leader in average receiving yards per game at 96.2, well ahead of No. 2 Michael Thomas (87.5). That’s a huge gap, a testament to Jones’ consistency since the Falcons traded up to draft him in 2011. It was a bold move — and a brilliant decision.

Brown is a nut case, but he was the league’s most prolific receiver before he went completely off the rails in 2019. Johnson, who will be a Hall of Fame finalist in February, was a prototype for the big, rangy wideouts in vogue today while Hopkins may have the best hands in the game.

At defensive tackle, I chose Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox and Ndamukong Suh on the first team and selected Gerald McCoy as one of four choices on the second team. McCoy and Suh have been linked since the 2010 draft and Suh has been the more impactful player on the pro level.

Ndamukong Suh got Ira’s vote over Gerald McCoy

Still, McCoy should feel good about his NFL career, one that merits credible consideration for Tampa Bay’s Ring of Honor. He wasn’t Warren Sapp, but Gerald McCoy was a very good Buccaneer.

Speaking of Sapp, he is one of only five defensive linemen named to TWO All-Decade teams. Anytime you’re in the company of Reggie White, Bob Lilly, Merlin Olsen and Bruce Smith, you’ve earned an automatic entry to Canton.

Lavonte David’s consistency earned him a first-team spot at linebacker on my ballot, joining Bobby Wagner, Luke Kuechly, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and C.J. Mosley.

David’s national profile has been seriously undermined by Tampa Bay’s lost decade, but he’s been a quiet leader who is the perfect mentor for Devin White. When Derrick Brooks calls you a pro’s pro, you know you’ve done the position proud.

Like McCoy, David merits a place in the franchise’s Ring of Honor.

Higher Calling For No. 13

Considering the Bucs averaged only six wins between 2010-2019, it’s a bit surprising they have three legit candidates for the NFL’s All-Decade team. We’ll see how young players like White, Vita Vea and Chris Godwin develop over the next decade.

Realistically, you’d have to think McCoy and David don’t have much of a chance to see their busts on display in Canton. Evans is a different story, especially if he can keep that streak of six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons going for the foreseeable future.

Evans ranks No. 6 on the all-time list, averaging 80.7 receiving yards per game, and at this point he doesn’t know for sure who will be throwing him passes this fall. It could be Jameis Winston – or someone standing behind Door No. 2.

Whoever is under center, Evans is eager to open the next decade in the same dynamic manner he flourished in the previous one.

Click on Ira’s nose to start shopping at Bill Currie Ford, Tampa’s first family of Ford for the past 60 years.

9 Responses to “My Official All-Decade Ballot & The Bucs”

  1. 813bucboi Says:

    it is what it is…..

    and JW is what it aint!!!!!…

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  2. Bruce Blahak Says:

    the ice cream man strikes again, another column mention, ugh… he’s like a football plague. deserves no honors anywhere….especially a certain “Ring of Honor”…

  3. Ship Thief Says:

    If Willis has a chance to make All Decade team after retiring in 2015, then why on God’s green earth do you think ME13 has no chance?!


    Gimme a break dude.

  4. Ira C'mon Man Says:

    Still, McCoy should feel good about his NFL career, one that merits credible consideration for Tampa Bay’s Ring of Honor….. IRA please stop with this. Gerald McCoy has done NOTHING to be considered for Tampa Bay’s ROH. 0 seasons with double digit sacks, 0 playoff appearances, went through 4 head coaches, only 2 winning seasons while he was here, playing on some of the least productive d-lines/Defenses in the NFL the last 10 years. Yeah he made a couple of pro-bowls, who the heck cares. The fact is the Bucs improved tremendously without him on the team.

  5. bojim Says:

    Yes for Evans!!

  6. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I’m surprised NDOG is not here upset that IRA left JW off of his all decade team.

  7. Buczilla Says:

    Ira I’ve been reading your columns for close to 30 years and you and Tom McEwen were my favorite writers at the old Tribune. That said, how the heck can you put DeAndre freaking Hopkins ahead of Mike?!? I mean, I know that I’m a homer, but that’s just damn silly. Hopkins is barely in Mike’s zip code. I get the other guys, but Hopkins? Still love your writing dude but you are way off on that one. 😛

  8. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    I am with Buczilla on this one. ME over Hopkins!

  9. D-Rome Says:

    Good call on your selections, Irv. I agree with all of them and with your reasons though I think one could easily debate Hopkins and Evans.