The year was 1995.
The No. 7 overall pick.
That's the selection that newly named general manager Rich McKay was able to work some draft day magic with. He managed to trade the No. 7 for the 12th overall pick and two second round choices.
Thank you Philly Eagles.
With the 12th choice, the Bucs picked up the problematic and question marked Warren Sapp.
The Bucs were then able to throw their newly acquired second rounders to the Dallas Cowboys, allowing McKay to snag FSU's Derrick Brooks with the 28th pick in the first round.
The rest is truly history.
That was 17 years ago. Tony Dungy was fired, Jon Gruden stole his team. The Buccaneers won a Super Bowl. After some measly disappointing seasons, Raheem Morris came in for three years and built the NFL's youngest team.
It's crazy to think but the Bucs pretty much stand where they stood in 1995.
Their defense is pitiful and the offense is simply average but has some potential super stars if they can pan out.
I would love to see the Bucs draft Trent Richardson. I believe that Morris Claiborne is the perfect replacement for Ronde Barber, once the time comes.
But there's something else.
It might just be the Alabama defense. Something about it just gets me all excited.
Guys like Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, and Dre Kirkpatrick. They're all beasts. National Champions, too.
Oh, yeah! They are all a part of the nation's top defense. Alabama ranks number one in all major defensive categories. Such as pass, run, total yardage, and points allowed.
"I feel like I can bring a lot of physical play to an NFL team," Dont'a Hightower claims. "That's something I take pride in—being physical and stopping the run."
He sure does a good job of it, too. Hightower is also a tremendous leader. He represents the Alabama defense as ringleader and captain.
His righthand man, Courtney Upshaw, is another great player. Upshaw was the defensive MVP of the BCS Championship game and was a key component in keeping the LSU offense off of their grass (they only crossed the 50-yard line once).
Besides being able to punch the opposing offense square in the face, the Alabama defense features some serious pass coverage talents. Dre Kirkpatrick is a force in the air along with the safety net Mark Barron.
All of these guys are projected to go in the top twenty of this year's draft.
Now, do I really believe that general manager Mark Dominik can get at least two of these guys...?
Yes, I hope he can. I pray he will.
But even if Dominik can't use his magic to capture some pieces of college football's best defense, he should be able to find some more defensive gems in the first round.
The Bucs need more options. That defense needs more nasty dudes that can actually strike fear in guys like Drew Brees and Cam Newton. I want scary players like Upshaw and Kirkpatrick.
Again, defense wins championships.
Just ask Sapp and Brooks.
There are plenty of variables. Chance is something Dominik and Bucs fans must have faith in. The options and choices are all out there.
But man, I really want to see Hightower in the pewter.
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