What An Exacta!

August 25th, 2021

“Bruce, you like that 2018 draft? You were playing golf and dropping one-liners on CBS when I dealt that hand to this team.”


Let’s not wait until Saturday’s big reveal, when the NFL’s Top 10 list as voted by the players is officially announced.

The suspense is over.

In no particular order, the upper echelon will feature Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Derrick Henry, Travis Kelce, Aaron Donald and T. J. Watt.

All were outstanding in 2020, with Brady proving at age 43 that he remains both an elite quarterback and his sport’s ultimate winner. Along the way to a Super Bowl title, Brady was 1-1 against Mahomes and 2-0 vs. Mr. Rodgers.

This Top 100 list comes with special street cred because the balloting is done by peers. That makes it particularly rewarding for Brady, who was deemed expendable by Bill Belichick after a dismal end to New England’s 2019 season.

Belichick’s football intelligence is unquestioned, but this was a major gaffe. He should have realized that without Brady’s leadership and presence, the 2019 Pats would have been 9-7 instead of 12-4.

New England didn’t have enough talent surrounding Brady … and it showed last year. That’s why the Pats abandoned their traditional cautious approach and embarked on a spending spree this offseason.

Most significantly for Buc fans, Brady will be joining Devin White (No. 28), Lavonte David (43), Mike Evans (48), Jason Pierre-Paul (59), Chris Godwin (81), Shaq Barrett (88) and Tristan Wirfs (89) on the Top 100.

That makes eight Tampa Bay players designated as elite. No franchise is represented at a higher rate.

And there’s more. Rob Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh surely merited consideration while Antonio Brown appears poised for a return to the big stage.

Up and down this roster, you see talent. Add in a savvy coaching staff and it’s quite a combination.

Winning helps, of course. Let’s remember that Evans, Godwin and David were all on Tampa Bay’s 2017 roster when the NFL’s Top 100 list for 2018 was revealed.

The Bucs took the collar — zero representatives. Crickets.

Three years later, a Vince Lombardi Trophy is in the house and the Bucs lead all franchises with eight players in the Top 100. How did we get here?

Half of the Elite Eight were drafted by Jason Licht — White, Evans, Godwin and Wirfs. David arrived with the 58th pick of the 2012 draft, an outstanding selection by Mark Dominik. David was the eighth linebacker off the board in a year that also saw Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner and Dont’a Hightower begin distinguished pro careers.

Brady and Shaq Barrett were signed by the Bucs as free agents a year apart while JPP arrived in a 2018 trade that makes the Lufthansa heist look like petty theft.

Best trade in Bucs history?

Licht fleeced the Giants, sending a third-round pick to New York and swapping positions in the fourth round. The Giants ended up selecting defensive tackle B.J.Hill, who didn’t start a single game last season and will likely hit the free-agent market in 2022 as a journeyman.

In the fourth round, the Giants chose quarterback Kyle Lauletta, now trying to survive a battle against Case Keenum as Baker Mayfield’s backup in Cleveland. During three NFL seasons, Lauletta has yet to complete a regular-season pass.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s 2018 offseason haul looks spectacular. Besides adding JPP, the Bucs drafted Vita Vea, Ronald Jones, Carlton Davis, Alex Cappa and Jordan Whitehead. That’s five starters — six if Jones beats out Leonard Fournette as the No. 1 back.

It should surprise no one if White cracks the Top 20 next year. Until Todd Bowles called off the blitz dogs, White was well on his way to double-digit sacks. That’s rare territory for any inside linebacker, but White’s closing speed is extraordinary.

Brady is the only one of the eight Bucs older than 32. He shows no indication of succumbing to the ravages of Father Time. Should the 2021 Bucs run it back, Brady will be a lock to return to a Top 100 list suddenly drenched in pewter.

Talent and coaching. What an exacta.

Sage Ira Kaufman drives a 2020 Ford Escape, cherry red, from Bill Currie Ford. Ira loves that ride as much as he adores tater tots. Shop now at BillCurrieFord.com and demand the Ira Kaufman discount.

8 Responses to “What An Exacta!”

  1. Alanbucsfan Says:

    You could add in management and make it a trifecta.

  2. Youngbucs Says:

    Ummm I see a lot of 2019 players on that league league league list I was told we just got talent in 2020 stop the lies!!!!!!!!

  3. BradyBucs Says:

    Why isn’t CARLTON DAVIS or any of the other “Nosepickers” voted onto that Top 100 list of elite NFL players? I thought they were elite.


  4. zzbuc Says:

    ME13 on 48!! That´s hilarious……this ranking is a joke!!

  5. Bruce Blahak Says:

    28-0 powerhouse. To cancel out the 0-26 memory.

  6. Rico 210 Says:

    BradyBucs Says:
    August 25th, 2021 at 10:49 am
    Why isn’t CARLTON DAVIS or any of the other “Nosepickers” voted onto that Top 100 list of elite NFL players? I thought they were elite.


    Your an asshat. Go run tell that Coen.

  7. Bellingham Bucs Fan Says:

    Who is saying the secondary are elite? What on earth are you on about, man?

  8. BillyBucoff Says:

    Our own secondary is saying they are elite by the moniker Gravediggers.
    You don’t think Suh or Vea or Gholston or JPP or Shaq came up with that name do you?

    I hope it brings the swagger they need.
    It’s quite possible we have the best secondary this year.
    3 safeties playing at the same time is hard to accomplish in the NFL