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5 Standouts from the 2016 Season

Posted Jan 9, 2017

Five Buccaneers who impressed during the 2016 season.

1. QB Jameis Winston
After a standout rookie season, there were lofty expectations for the Buccaneers’ quarterback. Winston became just the third quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards as a rookie and was selected by the fans as their Rookie of the Year. In 2016, Winston proved his successful rookie season was no fluke. He once against passed for more than 4,000 yards, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in each of their first two seasons. He tossed 28 touchdown passes, six more than he did as a rookie, upped his passer rating from 84.2 to 86.1 and saw year-over-year growth in passing yards per game and completion percentage.

2. WR Mike Evans
If Evans wasn’t considered one of the NFL’s top wide receivers heading into 2016, he certainly should be after it. He finished the year as Pro Football Focus’ top-rated wide receiver and finished in the top five in the league in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards. He converted 81 first downs, 15 more than any other wide receiver in the league, and moved the chains on 84.4% of his catches, the most of any players with 25 or more catches. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl following the season, in addition to being selected as an All Pro by the Associated Press.

3. TE Cam Brate
In two seasons, Brate has climbed from being a player on the edge of the roster to being one of the NFL’s most productive tight ends. He was tied for the league-lead in touchdown receptions among tight ends with eight and was No. 12 in the NFL in both receptions and receiving yards, despite missing the Bucs’ final game of the season. Brate arrived in Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent and was briefly waived during 2015, only to be re-signed shortly thereafter.

4. DT Gerald McCoy
The 2016 season was McCoy’s seventh in the NFL and the fifth time he’s been selected to the Pro Bowl. The only times that he’s failed to earn the honor were 2010, his rookie season, and 2011, when he played in just six games. McCoy has made the Pro Bowl in each of the five years since. He was No. 4 in the NFL in sacks among defensive tackles with seven and, like Evans, an All Pro selection.

5. LB Kwon Alexander
Alexander finished the year with 108 solo tackles, the most of any player in the league. His 145 tackles were tied for the fourth-most in the league and were the most of any Buccaneer defender. Alexander also had an interception returned for a touchdown, seven passes defensed, a forced fumble and three sacks. For his efforts, he was selected as an alternate to the Pro Bowl.