Buccaneers fans are furious Yaya Diaby was not named a Rookie of the Year finalist

Bucs fans were not happy that Yaya Diaby was snubbed from being a Rookie of the Year finalist despite a historic season.
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With the Super Bowl almost here, it’s time for the annual awards to start getting handed out — and the outrage from those upset with how the finalists lists shook out.

Some awards bodies have already handed out honors, such as the Most Improved Player of the Year Award, in which Buccaneers Baker Mayfield won on Friday to encapsulate a phenomenal first season in Tampa Bay. In addition, the NFL has already named five finalists for each of the eight awards announced at the Honors ceremony.

This season, there doesn't seem to be a clear winner for these respective awards, as most finalists are deserving of the specicied award. Take the Comeback Player of the Year Award, where quarterbacks — Mayfield, Matthew Stafford, and Tua Tagovailoa — all had the best seasons of their career, while a 39-year old Joe Flacco led Cleveland to the AFC North division title in DeShaun Watson's absence. The leader in the clubhouse is Damar Hamlin, who returned to the field after a nearly dying on the field just one year ago.

Another tight race is for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, with all five finalists posting notable first seasons in the NFL.

  • Will Anderson, DE, Houston Texans: 15 games, 13 starts, 635 snaps, 45 tackles, ten TFLs, 22 QB hits, 7.0 sacks, 32 pressures.
  • Jalen Carter, DT, Philadelphia Eagles: 16 games, one start, 563 snaps, 33 tackles, eight TFLs, nine QB hits, 6.0 sacks, 18 pressures, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery.
  • Joey Porter Jr., CB, Pittsburgh Steelers: 17 games, 11 starts, 807 snaps, 43 tackles, one TFL, ten PD, one interception.
  • Devon Witherspoon, CB, Seattle Seahawks: 14 games, 13 starts, 883 snaps, 79 tackles, eight TFLs, 3.0 sacks, 16 PD, one interception, one forced fumble.
  • Kobie Turner, DT, Los Angeles Rams: 17 games, four starts, 697 snaps, 57 tackles, eight TFLs, 16 QB hits, 9.0 sacks, two PD.

One name is notably missing, though: YaYa Diaby.

“Diablo” Diaby was excellent in his rookie season. In 17 games (seven starts), Diaby recorded 38 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, eight QB hits, 7.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries in 515 defensive snaps.

Even while playing behind veterans Devin White and Lavonte David, Diaby's rookie season was near-historic. Not only did his 7.5 sacks rank third among all rookies, but Diaby is tied with Adrian Clayborn for the second-most sacks by a rookie in Tampa Bay franchise history, trailing Santana Dotson's 10.0 in 1992.

Compare Diaby's 7.0 sacks to Detroit's Jack Campbell's 2.0 and Minnesota Ivan Pace's 2.5, and the presumed gap isn't as clear as one would think based on the results. As a result, plenty of football fans and analysts have taken to social media to voice their opinion on Diaby's obvious snub.

Diaby measures up to the rest of the rookie class, which is beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s not surprising that he was overlooked, as Antoine Winfield Jr was similarly ignored this season in other categories.

It doesn’t mean his omission from the list is fair, because it’s not hard to see how special his season was and why he’s so deserving of being honored.

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