Tampa Bay Buccaneers Potential Breakout Player of 2012: Gerald McCoy

The great thing about the NFL is that there are so many positions that every year, there is almost always at least one player who has a breakout year on every team, no matter how good or bad the team is. This is one part in a 32 part segment detailing one potential breakout player for the 2012 NFL season on each NFL team. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that player is defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

Gerald McCoy was the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and he’s played very well when healthy. However, he’s been oft injured in his first 2 years in the league, playing just 19 of 32 possible games. When he’s healthy, the Buccaneers are 11-8 and allow 22.1 points per game and when he’s not, they’re 3-12 and allow 30.2 points per game.

That’s obviously not all him, as those numbers are skewed because he missed most of his time last season when they had a tougher schedule and committed more turnovers than they did in 2010. However, he’s a huge part of their defense and will be a big boost to them and their reigning worst defense in the league (30.9 points per game) if he can play 16 games this season.

McCoy played 695 snaps as a rookie in 2010, ranking as ProFootballFocus’ 18th ranked defensive tackle and his rating in 2011, on just 228 snaps, would have ranked 29th last year, despite his limited playing time. In his career, he has played 923 snaps. He’s had 5 sacks, 9 quarterback hits, and 27 quarterback pressures on 523 pass rush snaps, a very impressive 7.8% rate for his position. He has a career pass rush productivity rate of 6.5, which would have ranked 6th at his position last season.

He’s also had 25 solo tackles, 7 assists, and 21 stops, while missing just 3 tackles. His 15 run snap stops on 352 run snaps is good for a run stop rate of 4.3%, which would have ranked 38th last year, out of 44 defensive tackles. However, he was getting better against the run in 2011 before he got hurt with 6 run snap stops and 80 run stops, a rate of 7.5%, which would have ranked 14th last year, had he been eligible.

If he plays, let’s say, 800 snaps next season, and maintains his career rates, he would have 4 sacks, 8 quarterback hits, 23 quarterback pressures, 22 solo tackles, 6 assists, and 18 stops. Those would have ranked 12th, 5th, 7th, 29th, 34th, and 32nd, at his position, while playing the 8th most snaps. Heading into his 3rd year in the league, he’s obviously got the ability to get better, especially against the run, which is the weaker part of his game. He was better in 2011 than he was in 2010, especially against the run, before his injury.

While, he’s better as a pass rusher than a run stuffer, if he plays all or most of next season, he could easily break out as one of the best defensive tackles in the league and make his 1st Pro Bowl. There’s a reason that he, along with Ndamukong Suh, was the first defensive tackle drafted in the top-3 since Gerard Warren in 2001. He’s very talented.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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