Every year the National Football League celebrates the individual accomplishments of a select few, those few are recognized at the NFL Honors.
There will not be players from all 32 teams honored at the league’s annual award ceremony in February. Even still, every team does have its fair share of players which are that team’s ‘most likely’ to make an appearance.
With week one of 2023 wrapped up, the Tampa Bay Bucs are sitting pretty at 1-0. Tampa Bay fans are revitalized, their defense looks like their old defense, their new quarterback? Two touchdowns, no turnovers.
With a full game to absorb what these 2023 Bucs will look like, we can evaluate, rather than approximate, and make some projections.
Let’s play a round of Tampa Bay Bucs superlatives—
Most likely to win MVP: N/A
Last year the Bucs had a somewhat legitimate MVP candidate, at the start of the year, in Tom Brady. Brady, if on name-value alone, would always be in the discussion (so long as the Bucs were winning). The 2022 season obviously went wayward for the Tampa Bay Bucs and by mid-season it became relatively clear that the 2022 Bucs would be MVP-less. This year, the team’s MVP odds aren’t worth the conversation.
Most likely to win ROY: Calijah Kancey
Calijah Kancey is a natural pick for the award. He was Tampa’s first round pick and by all accounts he had hit the ground running in practice, before his injury. Bucs’ fans haven’t seen much of Kancey so far, but the rookie did get some playing time in the team’s week one victory over the Vikings, before reaggravating his injury.
Hope Calijah Kancey’s calf is alright. Flashes were good on Sunday, albeit in just 11 snaps bc of the injury. Didn’t look overwhelmed at all. Nice little club-swim to beat Ingram. pic.twitter.com/EzFO6SxNxe
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) September 11, 2023
Limited action, but good action. If Kancey can get and then remain healthy the rookie may have the ability to turn some heads around the league this season.
Most likely to win Comeback Player of the Year: Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield is the exact type of big-name player who is one good season away from candidacy for this award. Mayfield’s career has been on a down trend, which led most to believe his time as a starter in the NFL was in the past. For Tampa Bay, 2023’s best case scenario is come season’s end— Baker Mayfield is a legitimate candidate for this award. A good season, out of a quarterback, with the cache of Baker Mayfield, will be in contention for Comeback Player of the Year. All Mayfield has to do is deliver.
In last year’s superlatives, we made up an unofficial award— Most likely to become a household name. Keeping that mock award’s concept alive, 2023’s most likely to become a household name: Rachaad White
White has fantasy football darling written all over his 2023 profile. The second-year pro is a multidimensional back, capable of impacting games in a variety of ways. Post a somewhat disappointing opening week, White looks to bounce back against the Chicago Bears in week two.
Last week against the Bears, the Green Bay Packers had three different ball carriers average four or more yards per rush. Coming off a 17 carry, 39 yard performance that came with two grabs for 10 yards in the passing game, Rachaad White will look to begin taking off the way many preseason predictions had forecasted.
As was the case last season, we will revisit our Tampa Bay Bucs superlatives for a mid-season edition in part two of the series. When the time comes, we will check in on our current candidates, see how they’re doing, and potentially make some candidacy changes.
What Bucs do you think are most likely to get their hands on an award at this year’s NFL Honors? Comment down below.
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