Top Ten Draft Picks in Buccaneers History
We've already chronicled the Bucs worst draft picks in a previous top ten, now let's talk about the very best picks in franchise history.
These are the players that have led the Buccaneers to multiple playoff berths and a Super Bowl championship.
These players continue to be the standard to grade all Buccaneers drafts going forward.
They are great part of Buccaneer history and deserve their recognition for being the best Buccaneers ever drafted.
10. Hugh Green
Other than 1995, which brought two future Hall of Famers to Tampa Bay, the 1981 draft remains one of the best in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history.
One of the reasons for that was the drafting of first round pick Hugh Green.
Green, the runner up to the Heisman Trophy in 1981, the highest a defensive player finished in the voting until Charles Woodson won it in 1997, was named to the All-Rookie team, made two Pro Bowls.
He had 449 tackles, 15 sacks, 5 interceptions, and 2 defensive touchdowns in 53 starts for the Buccaneers.
In 1985, Green was traded to the Miami Dolphins where he would go on to play another 7 years.
9. Mike Alstott
Few players in the history of the Buccaneers franchise has ever captured the hearts and minds of Buc Nation as the A-Train, Mike Alstott.
A second round pick in the 1996 draft, Alstott's battering ram running style and team first attitude captured the imagination of the city as he powered over opposing defenders like a men among boys.
Alstott played 12 years for Tampa Bay, earning six Pro Bowl nominations, rushing for 5,088 yards and holds the team record for touchdowns with 76.
8. Paul Gruber
Had he been on any other franchise in the league, the fourth overall pick of the 1988 draft Paul Gruber would have been headed to Canton.
Instead, he played in anonymity, hidden with some of the worst Buccaneer teams in franchise history.
It wouldn't matter as Gruber would be the rock at left tackle for 12 years, never missing a snap.
Gruber held the team record for consecutive starts at 183 until broken by Derrick Brooks in 2007.
7. John Lynch
A third round pick of the 1993 draft, John Lynch made the difficult decision to choose football over baseball. Fans of the Buccaneers are thrilled he did.
Lynch was one of the most feared hitters in the NFL and became one of the unquestioned leaders of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playoff teams, culminating in 2002's Super Bowl championship.
A five-time Pro Bowl selection with the Bucs, Lynch played 11 years for Tampa Bay and was released following the 2003 season for salary cap reasons. He went on to play another four years in Denver, making four more Pro Bowls as a Bronco.
6. James Wilder
Drafted in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft, Wilder is still regarded by many as the greatest offensive weapon in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history.
In 1984, Wilder came within 16 yards of setting an NFL record for yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving).
He finished his 10-year NFL career with 9,508 yards from scrimmage and 47 touchdowns.
5. Doug Williams
The first true quarterback in franchise history, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Doug Williams in the 1st round of the 1978 NFL Draft, little did they know they had a history maker in their midst.
First, Williams led the Buccaneers from worst to first, leading Tampa Bay to three playoff appearances, including the 1979 NFC Championship Game, the only time in franchise history the game was played in Tampa (Williams was injured early in the game and the Bucs lost 9-0).
Williams quarterbacked the Buccaneers to their first playoff victory that season as well.
After a contract squabble with miserly owner Hugh Culverhouse, Williams defected to the USFL in 1983 where he played three seasons with the Oklahoma/Arizona Outlaws.
Williams would return to the NFL after the USFL folded and served as a backup to Jay Schroeder and the Washington Redskins. After an injury sidelined Schroder, Williams led the Skins to the Super Bowl.
Williams became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl and captured the MVP award.
4. Ronde Barber
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 1997 draft, Ronde Barber had a terrible first season as a Buccaneer.
Some deemed him a complete bust and there was talk he wouldn't make the 1998 squad.
Not only did Barber make the team, he became the greatest cornerback in franchise history and a potential Hall of Famer.
Barber made five Pro Bowls and became the first CB to ever record 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in his career. He was named to five All-Pro teams (3 first team selections) and was listed as a member of the all decade club for the 2000s.
Barber continues to be a crucial part of the Buccaneers secondary and owns the team record for career interceptions with 37.
3. Warren Sapp
One of the most feared defenders in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history, Warren Sapp along with John Lynch and Derrick Brooks changed the history of a franchise.
He will be forever known as the father of the modern day 3 technique in the Tampa Two defense. Warren Sapp WAS the Tampa Two.
The future sure fire Hall of Famer fell one sack shy of breaking Lee Roy Selmon's franchise record of 78.
He finished his 13 year career with 96.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, and 19 forced fumbles.
He made 7 Pro Bowls, was 1st team All-Pro four times, was the 1999 NFL defensive player of the year and was a member of the 1990s and 2000s All-Decade team.
2. Derrick Brooks
Where do you begin with a player as monumental as Derrick Brooks? Could it be the team record 11 Pro Bowl appearances? The team record seven straight Pro Bowls?
Should we talk about his unbelievable 2002 season, when he scored an NFL record (for a linebacker) five defensive touchdowns?
Just go down the list -
* 6× First-team All-Pro (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)
* 3× Second-team All-Pro (1997, 1998, 2001)
* 9× First-team All-NFC (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)
* 11× Pro Bowl selection (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008)
* Co-Walter Payton Man of the Year Award (2000)
* "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Award (2003)
* Bart Starr Man of the Year Award (2003)
* AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2002)
* Super Bowl champion (XXXVII)
* Pro Bowl MVP (2005)
If he ever decides to put in his retirement papers, he's without question a first ballot Hall of Famer and will likely join Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon on the team's Ring of Honor, something Brooks has championed for years.
1. Lee Roy Selmon
The only football player in Buccaneer history that could possibly be listed over Derrick Brooks is the one and only Hall of Famer, Lee Roy Selmon.
The first ever draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remains their very best.
Soft spoken but a terror to opposing quarterbacks, Selmon set a franchise record with 78 sacks.
Playing an injury shortened 9 seasons, Selmon anchored a Tampa Bay defense that took the Buccaneers to the NFC Championship game in 1979 and multiple playoff berths during his tenure.
Selmon had his No. 63 jersey retired by the franchise in 1986. He made six Pro Bowls, was 1979 NFL Defensive Player of the year, first-team All-Pro selection (1979), a three time Second-team All-Pro selection, a six-time first-team All-NFC selection and is a member of the 1980s All-Decade Team.
In 1995, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and in 2009, he was the inaugural member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor in Raymond James Stadium.
The city of Tampa honor Mr. Selmon by naming a new expressway from Brandon to Tampa the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway.