Not all 32 teams will have representatives honored at the league’s annual award ceremony in February. Nevertheless, each team boasts players who are considered the frontrunners to earn recognition.
Following the conclusion of week one in the 2023 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers find themselves in an impressive 1-0 position. This victory has reinvigorated Tampa Bay fans, as their defense has returned to its former glory, and the new quarterback has performed admirably with two touchdowns and no turnovers.
Now that we’ve had a full game to assess the 2023 Buccaneers, let’s move beyond approximations and delve into some projections. Let’s embark on a round of Tampa Bay Buccaneers superlatives:
Most Likely to Win MVP: Not Applicable
Last year, the Buccaneers had a somewhat credible MVP contender at the beginning of the season in the form of Tom Brady. Brady’s name alone would always thrust him into the conversation, provided the Buccaneers were winning. However, the 2022 season took an unexpected turn for Tampa Bay, and by mid-season, it became evident that the team wouldn’t produce an MVP winner. This year, the team’s MVP prospects aren’t worth discussing.
Most Likely to Win Rookie of the Year (ROY): Calijah Kancey
Calijah Kancey is a natural choice for this award. He was Tampa’s first-round pick and had made a strong impression in practice before his injury. While Buccaneers fans haven’t seen much of Kancey thus far, the rookie did see some action in the team’s week one victory over the Vikings before reaggravating his injury. Though his playing time has been limited, it has been promising. If Kancey can stay healthy, he might just turn heads around the league this season.
Top Contender for Comeback Player of the Year: Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield fits the mold of a high-profile player who is just one strong season away from contention for this award. Mayfield’s career had been on a downward trajectory, leading many to believe his days as an NFL starter were numbered. In Tampa Bay’s best-case scenario for 2023, Baker Mayfield emerges as a legitimate Comeback Player of the Year candidate by season’s end. A standout season from a quarterback with Mayfield’s reputation could put him firmly in the running for this honor. All Mayfield needs to do is deliver.
In last year’s superlatives, we introduced an unofficial award—Most Likely to Become a Household Name. Continuing with that concept, our pick for 2023’s Most Likely to Become a Household Name is Rachaad White.
White has all the makings of a fantasy football sensation in 2023. The second-year pro is a versatile running back capable of impacting games in various ways. Despite a somewhat disappointing opening week, White is poised to bounce back against the Chicago Bears in week two. In the previous week’s game against the Bears, the Green Bay Packers had three different ball carriers average four or more yards per rush. Following his 17-carry, 39-yard performance, along with two receptions for 10 yards in the passing game, Rachaad White is primed to fulfill the preseason predictions.
As was the case last season, we will revisit our Tampa Bay Buccaneers superlatives with a mid-season edition in part two of this series. When the time comes, we will reevaluate our current candidates, assess their progress, and possibly make adjustments to our predictions.