With training camps less than two months away, it is safe to start predicting some individual and team achievements. ESPN.com solicited 100 such prognostications from their NFL correspondents containing some expected, as well as strange, picks.
The Bucs get no love. Of the 100 predictions, only two involve Tampa Bay. Neither of the two involve action on the field during the regular season.
Number 34 on the list has some credibility surrounding backup quarterback Mike Glennon. The prediction confidently states Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo will again be injured leaving Dallas boss Jerry Jones to make the Bucs “an offer they can’t refuse” for Glennon.
With Romo’s fragile collarbone, this could come true. Of course, another team could come calling during training camp.
Item number 98 involves starting quarterback Jameis Winston. Through his commitment to conditioning, Winston “will lead the NFL in passer rating and TD passes in the preseason.”
Jacksonville Jaguars’ contributor Mike DiRocco is the football soothsayer, or comedian if you prefer, who offered the two Buc nuggets. Sometimes fourth string quarterbacks dominate the stats during preseason. He was a bit more serious with items involving his own team, but it shows the lack of respect the Buccaneers generate.
Of course winning games generates respect. At the same time, it should not be hard to offer some thoughts on production – good and bad — from guys like Winston, Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Doug Martin on offense.
How about draft picks? Will Roberto Aguayo justify a late second-round pick? Maybe not the first year, but he is too good to not have a stellar career.
Will Noah Spence make an impact as a rookie? By year’s end he will be working on his sack dance. Look for Vernon Hargreaves III to make some big plays at right cornerback, but look for him to give up some, too. Isn’t that what rookies do?
Other predictions involve Florida teams or players. No. 22 says to look for the Dolphins to move top pick Laremy Tunsil from offensive tackle to guard by season’s end.
At No. 38 DiRocco says the only concern surrounding Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars is what number he will wear. Ramsey wants to wear his college number of 23, plus he has a marketing deal with Jordan Brand, whose namesake wore number 23 for the Chicago Bulls.
No. 47 predicts greater things for Carolina quarterback Cam Newton now that his favorite target, former FSU star Kelvin Benjamin returns from injury. Safety Reshad Jones will end his holdout by training camp much to the delight of the Miami Dolphins if prediction number 94 comes true.
Most of these should be taken with a grain of salt, but many have some entertainment value with some sound basis for their conjecture.