Reaching 10 or more sacks is a significant milestone for any pass-rusher; Gerald McCoy has spoken time and time again about how that is the mark for an elite defensive lineman or linebacker.
McCoy himself has been one of the most productive defensive tackles in the league over the past few years, recording 31.5 sacks since 2012, which are tied for the most among all defensive tackles in the league. McCoy has yet to reach double-digit sacks, though. In fact, no Buccaneer has reached the milestone since Simeon Rice did in 2005.
Pictures from Ayers' 2015 season with the New York Giants
On a conference call with members of the media on Wednesday, newly signed defensive end Robert Ayers said he knows how important reaching the 10-sack mark is and, although he wouldn't make any predictions for himself for the upcoming season, added that he felt he was capable of ending the Bucs' drought.
"I definitely feel confidence in myself that I can do that," Ayers said. "I feel like I'm a player that is on the rise and I feel like I'm improving. I feel like I'm getting better, I'm learning the game, I'm understanding things better. I'm constantly trying to improve, constantly trying to learn and I think playing with Gerald McCoy will definitely free me up to be able to do a lot of those things. There's a lot of talent on that defense and I'm looking forward to it."
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Ayers has never reached 10 sacks in his career, but was close a year ago; he picked up 9.5 sacks in just 12 games.
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"In my mind, I had 10 sacks last year," he said, laughing. "They took a half away and gave me 9.5. I'm just joking, but I definitely feel that I'm capable of (reaching) that. I can't say what I will do, I just know I believe in myself and I believe in the guys around me and I believe in the staff."
McCoy led the Buccaneers with 8.5 sacks in 2015 while defensive end Jacquies Smith finished second on the team with seven, despite both players battling through injuries. With the addition of Ayers and many analysts projecting the Bucs to draft a pass-rusher in the first round, double-digit sacks are in sight.