PFF's list of breakout candidates is bad news for the Buccaneers

Why do these teams have good players?
New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers shocked the world by winning the NFC South last season when not a lot of people believed they'd be competitive. People were banking on the New Orleans Saints to win the division after they signed Derek Carr and looked to have the best roster out of the four NFC South squads.

Well, the Bucs persevered and won their third straight division title. Unfortunately, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the other teams in the division are improving and hoping to come for the Bucs' division title streak.

Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus recently put together his list of an "all-breakout team" for the 2024 season. It's bad news for Bucs fans, as McGuinness sees several breakout stars emerging from the NFC South, none of whom are in Tampa Bay.

Should the Bucs be worried about their NFC South foes?

First up on the list is Saints receiver Rashid Shaheed, who has been a stud for them since they signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2022. He's emerged as a legitimate weapon for them, tallying over 700 receiving yards last year and returning a punt for a touchdown.

Next up is Falcons left guard Matthew Bergeron, who McGuinness points out "had four games last season where he didn’t allow any pressure in pass protection." Considering how solid the Falcons offensive line has been, seeing another one of their offensive linemen get propped up is bad news for the Bucs defense.

Third on the list of NFC South breakout stars is Falcons edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie. McGuinness said, "His pressure rate jumped from 9.2% as a rookie to 16.0% last year." This could make things tough for the Bucs when they meet up with the Falcons twice in 2024.

The good news is that seasons aren't won or lost based on what PFF writes. The Bucs have been the cream of the crop in the NFC South and until they're dethroned, that division title is staying in Tampa.