Just How Good Is Gerald McCoy?

After comparing Jameis Winston’s first two seasons to other quarterbacks around the league, it got me curious as to how some of the other current Buccaneers players stacked up to other players from around the league and to some of the all-time great Bucs players. I wanted to start off with G-Mac because there has been a ton of criticism towards him over the years. I happen to think that he’s one of the best in the league at his position and we are damn lucky to have him in Tampa. So, here’s what I found when I put his numbers next to some of the best in the biz.

Gerald McCoy: 7 seasons, 94 games, 221 tackles, 42.0 sacks, 6 forced fumbles
Warren Sapp: 7 seasons, 109 games, 310 tackles, 64.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles

At first glimpse, the numbers say that Sapp had a far superior first 7 seasons. But let’s keep a few things in mind when we look at these stats. Sapp played in 15 more games. He also had most of his sacks in a four-year span tallying 46.5 between 1997-2000 including 10.5 in 1997, 12.5 in 1999 and 16.5 in 2000. McCoy has had a nice stretch of seasons himself lately totaling 33 sacks over his last 4 seasons but never more than 9.5 in a single year. Nevertheless, Sapp is a Hall of Famer and possibly the best to ever play the position so it’s a lot for Gerald to live up to here in Tampa Bay.


First 3 seasons…
Gerald McCoy: 3 seasons, 35 games, 68 tackles, 9.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Aaron Donald: 3 seasons, 48 games, 163 tackles, 28.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles
Donald is just a freak of nature, but these numbers are slightly skewed due to the difference in games played.

First 4 seasons…
Gerald McCoy: 4 seasons, 51 games, 118 tackles, 18.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Kawann Short: 4 seasons, 64 games, 191 tackles, 22.0 sacks, 6 forced fumbles
Again the difference in games played explains the discrepancy in numbers between McCoy and Short, however there’s only a 3.5 sack difference.

First 5 seasons…
Gerald McCoy: 5 seasons, 64 games, 153 tackles, 27.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles
Fletcher Cox: 5 seasons, 79 games, 258 tackles, 28.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles
Dontari Poe: 5 seasons, 78 games, 202 tackles, 13.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
With 15 less games played, Gerald is right there with Cox and has twice as many sacks as Poe despite being far behind in tackles.

First 6 seasons…
Gerald McCoy: 6 seasons, 79 games, 187 tackles, 35.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles
Marcell Darius: 6 seasons, 86 games, 292 tackles, 34.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
There’s only a 7 game difference between these two and while he trails Darius in tackles by a large margin, he’s got more sacks and forced fumbles than one of the best in the game.

First 7 seasons…
Gerald McCoy: 7 seasons, 94 games, 221 tackles, 42.0 sacks, 6 forced fumbles
Ndamukong Suh: 7 seasons, 110 games, 374 tackles, 47.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Geno Atkins: 7 seasons, 105 games, 250 tackles, 52.0 sacks, 8 forced fumbles
Suh is simply a tackling machine at the DT position with 150 tackles more than McCoy and Atkins has been a sack master since entering the league. With 16 less games than Suh and 11 less games than Atkins, McCoy would obviously still be trailing Suh in tackles and Atkins in sacks but there’s no denying that he’s one of the best defensive tackles in football right now.

Some “haters” may look at these numbers and say that they uphold the skepticism about McCoy. I beg to differ. Yes, he does trail most of these players statistically, but he’s also played in a significantly less amount of games. He missed 13 games in his first 2 seasons alone. The fact that he’s only missed 5 more games over the last 5 seasons debunks the claims that he’s “always injured”.

Gerald McCoy has never had a double-digit sack season, but I think this could be the year that he does it. Playing next to this year’s free agent signee Chris Baker and having defensive ends like Will Gholston, Robert Ayers, Noah Spence and Jacquies Smith occupying blockers on the outside, McCoy could end up with 10+ sacks should he stay healthy. This is one of the most talented defensive line rotations that the Buccaneers have ever had and G-Mac could be the one reaping the benefits. The Bucs haven’t had a defensive player with double-digit sacks since defensive end Simeon Rice had 14 of them in the 2005 season. In fact, Rice had five straight seasons of 12+ sacks from 2001-2005 totaling an impressive 67.5 in that span.

I think that the Bucs could possibly have their first season in franchise history where two defensive players have 10+ sacks. Besides McCoy, I can see DE Robert Ayers or even second-year player Noah Spence hitting that mark this year. I can see a record breaking year from this defense. They’ve had four straight years of 35+ sacks from 2013-2016 and 38 sacks in each of the last two seasons. Surprisingly, the franchise record for most team sacks in a season is not held by the 2002 defense, who had 43, but by the 2000 team with 55 team sacks. A Bucs defense hasn’t had more than 38 sacks since they totaled 45 of them in the 2004 season. Not only could this team break the record of 55 team sacks, but I think that this 2017 defense could make a push for the 60 sack mark.

Last season, the Bucs secondary only accounted for 2 sacks. That’s from all their safeties and cornerbacks combined! They should easily be able to improve on that number and total 5 sacks as a group. In 2016, the linebackers put up a respectable 8 sacks for the year and that was just between Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. No other linebackers contributed towards that total. I believe this season, that group can have 10+ sacks. The defensive tackles tallied 12 sacks in 2016, so with the addition of rising star Chris Baker they should be able to put up at least 15 sacks this year. The biggest jump should be from the defensive end group. They sacked the quarterback 16 times last season. I believe that number could almost double this season between Will Gholston, Robert Ayers, Noah Spence and Jacquies Smith. If they can put up around 30 sacks, then that would give this team 60 sacks on the year and Gerald McCoy is going to be a big part of it. Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!

Jon Hinkle

My name is Jon Hinkle, also know as Deez Bucz to most Buccaneers fans. I have been given the opportunity by WhatTheBuc.net to do some writing about one of my favorite subjects...Buccaneer football and all that goes with it. This is my first public writing gig, so I'm hoping that I can entertain the fine fans of Tampa Bay while learning and gaining experience towards a possible new career in sports reporting. I hope everyone enjoys the fruits of my labor and I look forward to bringing some new and exciting stories to Bucs Nation! And as always.....GO BUCS!!!

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