Tampa Bay's Adams has entered star territory

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

I've been wanting to do this ever since Sunday's game ended, but the Matt Bryant situation, obviously, took precedence.

Now, it's time to update an item I posted Saturday in which I said the Bucs don't yet have any defensive stars to take the baton from Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber. Well, that premise is outdated.

Second-year defensive end Gaines Adams is a star (and middle linebacker Barrett Ruud is very, very close to being one). I wasn't completely sold on Adams before Sunday. I thought he had promise after a nice rookie season. But I'm sold now.

Adams can rush the passer and even drop in coverage. Watching him Sunday, I think I saw what Carolina's Julius Peppers once was, but hasn't been in a long time.

As for the fan clubs of Aqib Talib, Jovan Haye, Greg White, Tanard Jackson and Cato June, I appreciate your efforts and they're all very nice players (and Talib and Jackson might become stars), but they're not there yet.

Oh, by the way, I said Brooks was old, but I never said he was washed up. He still can be dominant at times and he was on Sunday. I've said before and I've said it again, Brooks is the best player ever to play for an NFC South team.