Darkhorse MVP: Ronald Jones, Running back
When most think about a team’s MVP, the quarterback or a star defensive player comes to mind. Rarely are rookie running backs the main reason for a team’s success.
There is a path for Ronald Jones to be the key to the Buccaneers offense this season. The elusive back out of USC will be right in the mix to start come Week one.
The second-round pick may ignite one of the league’s worst rushing attacks in 2017. Frankly, the Buccaneers have been desperate for a back like Jones. After the Doug Martin experiment failed, finding a running back was one of the top priorities for general manager Jason Licht.
With Jameis Winston suspended for three games, Koetter will be looking for Jones to carry the team on the ground early. If he can kickstart the Buccaneers offense without Winston, perhaps Tampa can put up some major offensive numbers when he returns.
Under the radar: Chris Godwin, Wide receiver
The Buccaneers have plenty of pass catchers. The tight end position features two of the best in the game while the wide receivers have all put up strong numbers throughout their careers.
However, Chris Godwin gets buried in a national sense due to the star power of Mike Evans and Jackson. In his rookie season, Godwin caught 34 passes for 525 yards. He proved to be another trustworthy option for Winston and managed to step up when injuries hit the team.
From the national perspective, Godwin often gets overlooked as pundits try to figure out how he will get the ball. Yes, there are a plenty of mouths to feed on the Buccaneers offense but Godwin should quietly get his fair share.