Bucs Picked To Win NFC South

June 5 - Two pro football annuals -- Lindy's and Street & Smith's -- have hit the newsstands and both publications have picked the Bucs to win the crown in the new NFC South division. Pewter Report offers the highlights from each annual.

Are you ready for some football? The 2002 pro football annuals have already started hitting the shelves. These annuals help fans with their football fix over the summer when the only thing on is baseball (yawn!).

Pewter Report breaks down the first two annuals -- Lindy's and Street & Smith's -- and gives you the Buc-related highlights. Fans are encouraged to pick up a copy of each annual. They are highly recommended.

LINDY'S 2002 Pro Football
Perhaps the best football annual with The Sporting News' version coming in right behind in some years and slightly ahead in others. Here are some of the highlights from Lindy's:

- Pro Bowl WR Keyshawn Johnson is on the cover, along with a picture of Jon Gruden from his press conference that was taken by Pewter Report photographer Cliff Welch. Welch's Gruden picture is also featured in an article by Howard Balzar called "Hired To Be Fired" inside the publication.

- A nice feature from Balzar on Jon Gruden discussing his penchant for wearing visors.

- While Lindy's picks the St. Louis Rams to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXXVII, the publication does pick the Bucs to go to the playoffs as the first NFC South Champion. The Bucs are picked to win the NFC South followed by Atlanta, New Orleans and Carolina.

- Lindy's gave the Bucs' 2002 draft a "B+" grade. Each draft pick is detailed in the draft grade section, too.

- In its annual Players and Units grades, Lindy's ranks the following Buccaneers:
Keyshawn Johnson as the No. 7 WR
Simeon Rice as the No. 6 DE
Warren Sapp as the No. 1 DT
Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the No. 1 Defensive Line
Derrick Brook as the No. 10 OLB
Ronde Barber as the No. 9 CB
John Lynch as the No. 4 SS

- Former Tampa Tribune Bucs beat writer and current newspaper editor Nick Pugliese did an outstanding job of breaking down the Bucs position-by-position. The only other place where you will find a better job of positional analysis is in Pewter Report's Training Camp Issue, which will be available in late July (call 1-800-881-BUCS(2827) for that issue or two subscribe), but then again you already knew that. Pugliese gives the Bucs' coaching an 8.5 grade (out of 10), QBs and RBs a 7.0 grade, WRs a 7.5 grade, OL a 6.0 grade, DL a 9.0 grade, LBs an 8.0 grade, DBs an 8.0 grade and special teams a 6.5 grade. The intangible grade is a plus-1 for the Bucs.

- The real highlight each year in Lindy's is the Buccaneers Pre-Camp Roster which is pretty comprehensive and complete with a comment about each player.

- The Bucs' overall team rating of 68.0 ranks them fourth in the NFC behind St. Louis (74.5), Philadelphia (71.0) and Green Bay (69.5). Lindy's lists five AFC teams as being better than the Bucs personnel-wise: Pittsburgh (71.5), Miami (70), Oakland (69.5), New England (69.0) and Denver (68.5).

STREET AND SMITH'S Pro Football 2002
Overall, a good preview publication year-in, and year-out, although it's a little light in the team analysis sections. Here are some of the highlights from Street & Smith's:

- Street & Smith's draft reporter Brian Stevenson gives the Bucs' 2002 Draft a "D" grade.

- Writer Pete Williams takes some vicious shots at the Glazers in an article that replays the Bucs' coaching search fiasco.

- DT Warren Sapp's name is among those listed as last season's underachievers.

- Reporter Ray Ratto has a short feature on Jon Gruden.

- While Street & Smith's picks the Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl XXXVII over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the publication does pick the Bucs to go to the playoffs as the first NFC South Champion. The Bucs are slated to win the NFC South followed by New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina.

- Chicago writer Don Pierson, who has always had a disdain for the Bucs, listed Atlanta LB Keith Brooking -- not Bucs LB Derrick Brooks or DT Warren Sapp -- as the NFC South's top defensive player.

- The Bucs team preview article is fairly good, except for the passage that says "Dungy's first pick when he finally had the chance (in the third round) was Michigan's big Marquise Walker, whose college statistics belied his supposed lack of speed."

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Click here to view Tampa Bay's Current 2002 Roster.

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All PewterReport.com photos are courtesy of Pewter Report director of photography Cliff Welch unless noted otherwise.

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