The Pro Football Writers of America announced the 2020 All-Rookie team and for the second consecutive year, two Buccaneers are on it. The Bucs' top two picks from the 2020 NFL Draft, right tackle Tristan Wirfs and safety Antoine Winfield Jr., made the cut after putting together regular season performances that looked anything but rookie-like.
Wirfs, the 13th overall pick who immediately stepped into the starting right tackle role for the Bucs, has consistently been lauded this season as one of the best at his position, despite how hard it is to quantify offensive line play. Wirfs has played every offensive snap for Tampa Bay and in the regular season, allowed just one sack all year. The unit he was a part of in particular allowed a sack on just 3.51% of pass attempts, which was the second-best mark in the regular season. This was all on an offense that ranked second in passing yards per game with 289.1 and third in points scored, averaging 30.8 per game with quarterback Tom Brady at the helm.
Winfield Jr. was also thrust into a prominent role for the Buccaneer defense as the team's second-round pick at No. 45 overall. Coming in with a ball-hawking and physical reputation from the University of Minnesota, Winfield got off to a hot start, amassing 23 tackles, 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble in just his first three games. In 16 regular season starts, Winfield Jr. ended the year with 91 tackles (one for loss), six passes defensed, four quarterback hits, 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception. Among NFL rookies, he ranked fifth in tackles, tied for third in sacks, tied for fifth in passes defensed, tied for fifth in forced fumbles, tied for sixth in fumble recoveries and tied for eighth in interceptions. And his stats don't just stand out among his fellow 2020 classmate. Winfield's 3.0 sacks tied for the second-most sacks by an NFL defensive back this season, period, and he joined Seattle's Jamal Adams as the only defensive backs with 75-or-more tackles and 3.0-plus sacks this year.
Now, in the postseason, both players are making tremendous impacts on their team's success. Wirfs has gone against two top-five defensive lines so far in the playoffs, taking on Washington and their second-ranked defense, followed by the division-rival Saints. In those two games, Winfield has 12 tackles (two for loss) and had a pivotal forced fumble in Sunday's Divisional Round win in New Orleans.
Wirfs and Winfield are the second-consecutive pairing of Buccaneers to make the All-Rookie Team. Both inside linebacker Devin White and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting earned the honors in 2019. In all, there are now eight players on the current roster who have been named to the All-Rookie team. The other four are Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith, Mike Evans and Lavonte David. A total of 10 players drafted by General Manager Jason Licht have received the honor.