The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' draft history has mirrored their on-field success in many ways. A great start out of the gate, followed by a long drought. A golden age, followed by stretch where memorable moments were simply too few and far between.
There were the first few years of the franchise, where names like Lee Roy Selmon, Doug Williams and Ricky Bell shared the draft card with Bucco Bruce. Through the 1980s and into the early '90s, impact players were simply too scarce for the Bucs to field a competitive product, but the likes of Paul Gruber, James Wilder, Mark Carrier and Tony Mayberry still gave Tampa Bay fans flashes of brilliance.
Let's not even talk about Bo Jackson, though.
The mid-'90s brought a changing of the tides for Tampa Bay, however. John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Mike Alstott and Ronde Barber were all selected within a four-year span. Those would-be stars set the foundation for the first consistently competitive Bucs team in franchise history, culminating in their 2002 Super Bowl run.
Since those glory days, however, the draft-day home runs have been hard to come by at One Buccaneer Place. From 1998 to 2011, the Bucs drafted just three players who were named to the Pro Bowl (Martin Gramatica, Davin Joseph, Gerald McCoy), but some recent picks have plenty of promise in the form of Doug Martin (who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie), Lavonte David and Mark Barron.
So, without further ado, here are the best draft picks the Bucs have made in each round over the course of their history. Keep in mind that only their performance during the time they played for the Buccaneers was considered in making this list.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
Gerald Carter, WR, Texas A&M (1980, 240th overall)
Selected in the ninth round, Carter spent seven of his eight NFL seasons with the Bucs. He started 61 of his 103 games as a Buccaneer, hauling in 239 passes for 3,443 yards and 17 touchdowns. His best season came in 1984, when he caught 60 passes for 816 yards and five touchdowns.
David Logan, NT, Pittsburgh (1979, 304th overall)
Marty Carter, S, Middle Tennessee State (1991, 207th overall)
Chidi Ahanotu, DE, California (1993, 145th overall)
Ahanotu logged 34.5 of his 46.5 career sacks over nine seasons spent in Tampa Bay, hitting double digits in 1997 with 10. Starting 109 of his 121 games as a Buccaneer, Chidi added four fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and 33 total tackles.
Adam Heyward, LB, Portland (2007, 182nd overall)
Jameel Cook, FB, Illinois (2001, 174th overall)
Ellis Wyms, DE, Mississippi State (2001, 183rd overall)
Santana Dotson, DT, Baylor (1992, 132nd overall)
Dotson started all 16 games as a rookie, racking up 10 sacks, forcing two fumbles and returning one of his fumble recoveries for a touchdown. In all, Dotson tallied 195 total tackles and 23 sacks over his four years with the Bucs. Off the field, Dotson runs his own foundation that awards college scholarships and support to under-privileged youth.
Ian Beckles, G, Indiana (1990, 114th overall)
Patrick Hape, TE, Alabama (1997, 137th overall)
Jermaine Phillips, S, Georgia (2002, 157th overall)
Tony Mayberry, C, Wake Forest (1990, 108th overall)
Mayberry became a stalwart on the Bucs' offensive line during some of their most disappointing seasons. He spent all 10 years of his NFL career with Tampa Bay, starting 145 games and making the Pro Bowl three times.
Dexter Jackson, S, Florida State (1999, 113th overall)
Al Singleton, LB, Temple (1997, 128th overall)
Ron Hall, TE, Hawaii (1987, 87th overall)
Bruce Hill, WR, Arizona State (1987, 106th overall)
Ronde Barber, CB, Virginia (1997, 66th overall)
Never the traditional shut-down corner, but Barber revolutionized the position in his own way. The only player in NFL history with at least 40 interceptions and 25 sacks, Barber started 215 consecutive games and is the Bucs' all-time leader in interceptions with 47. A five-time Pro Bowler, Barber picked off a career-high 10 passes in 2000 and scored 14 non-offensive touchdowns in his career (fourth all-time in NFL history). John Lynch is a close second, but Barber spending his entire 16-year career in Tampa Bay and owning the team's most memorable moment gives him the nod.
John Lynch, S, Stanford (1993, 82nd overall)
Mark Carrier, WR, Nicholls State (1987, 57th overall)
Donnie Abraham, CB, East Tennessee State (1996, 71st overall)
Charlie Hannah, G, Alabama (1977, 56th overall)
Lawrence Dawsey, WR, Florida State (1991, 66th overall)
Mike Alstott, RB, Purdue (1996, 35th overall)
It would be hard to argue that any other Buccaneer was more of a fan favorite than the "A-Train." Alstott revolutionized the fullback position, running over opponents between the tackles and gashing them in the passing game, as well. The Bucs' all-time leader in touchdowns (58), Alstott spent all 11 of his NFL seasons in the Pewter and Red, making the Pro Bowl six times.
James Wilder, RB, Missouri (1981, 34th overall)
Kevin House, WR, Southern Illinois (1980, 49th overall)
Randy Grimes, C, Baylor (1983, 45th overall)
Ricky Reynolds, CB, Washington State (1987, 36th overall)
Winston Moss, LB, Miami (FL) (1987, 50th overall)
Lee Roy Selmon, DE, Oklahoma (1976, first overall)
The first pick in Bucs franchise history also became their first Hall Of Fame inductee. The six-time Pro Bowler was a dominant force on the field, and became a pillar of the Tampa Bay community after spending all nine of his NFL seasons with the Bucs. Inducted into the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium in 2009, Selmon passed away in 2011 at just 56 years old. Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp obviously merit consideration, but without the foundation that Selmon helped lay from day one, the Bucs might never have existed long enough to draft their second and third Hall of Famers.
Derrick Brooks, LB, Florida State (1995, 28th overall)
Warren Sapp, DT, Miami (FL) (1995, 12th overall)
Warrick Dunn, RB, Florida State (1997, 12th overall)
Paul Gruber, OT, Wisconsin (1988, fourth overall)
Doug Williams, QB, Grambling State (1978, 17th overall)
Ricky Bell, RB, USC (1977, first overall)