CBS Sports utterly disrespects Baker Mayfield in post-NFL Draft QB ranking

New season, same old disrespect from NFL experts.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Counting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out seems to be a default mode that most NFL experts are routinely set to. While it was hard to blame doubters last year, there seems to be little excuse for sleeping on the Bucs heading into 2024.

That seems to be where most folks are at, though, despite how well things went last season.

This time last year the Bucs were being picked as a team to tank for Caleb Williams, as there seemed to be universal agreement that Tampa Bay would stink. Todd Bowles was on the hot seat, the team was mentioned endlessly in trade rumors about flipping Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and there generally seemed to be no hope for the future.

Baker Mayfield signing in free agency was the cherry on top for those giggling about the Bucs downfall in the post-Tom Brady era, but Tampa Bay got the last laugh. Even though their season ended not with a Top 3 draft pick but a trip to the NFC Divisional Round, experts are still sleeping on them heading into next season.

Baker Mayfield gets some pretty uncalled for disrespect in CBS Sports QB ranking

CBS Sports posted its latest quarterback power ranking and Bucs fans have a pretty legitimate gripe with how things stacked up. Tucked away in the 20s is Baker Mayfield, who ranks behind Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson despite outplaying both of them alst season.

And it wasn't just a little bit that Baker outplayed them by, he nearly won Comeback Player of the Year and led his team on a playoff run. The knock seems to be that Mayfield will take a step back and regress this season, which is the sort of doubt that surrounded him this time last year as well.

"The journeyman did a lot to boost his stock in 2023, which was not often pretty, but still made Tampa Bay a tough, scrappy out. Is he due for regression on a team with largely the same lineup? Perhaps. But he might still be enough to keep this club hanging in the wild-card race," CBS Sports wrote.

Baker didn't have the weight of the type of season he had this year draped over his shoulders when he signed in Tampa Bay, but the expectations seem to be the same. Those who didn't openly troll the move to sign him were vocal in expressing doubt that Mayfield would be able to even win the starting job in training camp let alone win actual games.

Winning came in droves for the Bucs, regardless of the doubt. Folks still point at a 9-8 record and the lack of firepower in the NFC South as reasons to brush last season off, but Baker had a career year and is returning to an offense he's familiar with for the first time in his career.

Liam Coen might be a new offensive coordinator but he has continuity with Baker, while guys like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are primed for massive seasons under new leadership. Rachaad White is set to take an even bigger step forward this year as well, and Baker will have an improved offensive line in front of him.

So if we're looking forward to make this ranking, the future is brighter than critics are making it seem. Then again, the Bucs entire season last year was under a cloud of doubt and they still managed to find a way to shine through.

More Tampa Bay Buccaneers news and rumors