Blast from the Past: The Buccaneers 5 BEST & WORST Draft Picks
The Buccaneers have had a history like no other. From 0-26 to a Super Bowl title on a historic defense. Over the last 43 years, The Buccaneers have had players you couldn’t forget and players you don’t want to remember.
Honorable Mentions: Gerald McCoy, Jimmie Giles, Mike Alstott, James Wilder, Mike Evans and Lavonte David.
5. John Lynch (1993-2007)
John Lynch was a staple in defensive backs rooms for all of his 14 years in the NFL. Drafted in the 3rd round back in 1993, the Buccaneers saw potential in Lynch and what he could do to opposing offenses. Lynch was very well known for his physical nature, becoming one of the hardest, hitting safeties in NFL history. In Lynch’s legendary career, he would make 1,058 tackles, 13 quarterback sacks and 26 interceptions, while making the Pro Bowl 9 times. Lynch would win his only Super Bowl title in his hometown of San Diego in 2003.
4. Ronde Barber (1997-2013)
If I had to give Barber a nickname, it would be “old reliable.” It’s one thing to play play sixteen seasons at any position but as a defensive back, it’s extremely impressive. Barber holds the NFL record for most consecutive snaps at defensive back. Drafted out of the 3rd round in the 1997 NFL Draft, Barber struggled early on before finding his defensive identity. Ronde’s twin brother Tiki was selected a round earlier by the New York Giants. Barber would give the Buccaneers faithful some incredible moments such as picking off a Donovan McNabb pass late in the final quarter to send the Buccaneers to Super Bowl XXXVII. That interception was actually voted the greatest moment in Buccaneers history by fans. Barber was named to the exclusive NFL All 2000s Team. Barber is only in a handful of defensive backs to record a double digit interception season snagging 10 in 2001. In Barber’s final season in 2012, he left with a bang recording 4 interceptions at the age of 36. In Barber’s Hall of Fame career he was a 5x Pro Bowler that had 1,231 tackles, 28 sacks, 47 interceptions and 14 touchdowns. Barber, along with Charles Woodson, are the only members of the “40-20” club for at least 40 picks and 20 sacks. The longest tenured Buccaneer definitely left his mark.
3. Lee Roy Selmon (1976-1984)
The pick that started it all. Not only is he the 1st first rounder on this list so far, but he was the very first pick in team history. Picked 1st overall back in 1976, Selmon was the anchor on some very terrible Buccaneers teams early into his career. Selmon would record 742 tackles, 78.5 sacks and 28.5 forced fumbles. He would be a pioneer in many ways. He was named to the 1980s NFL All Decade Team, he was the first Buccaneers player to enter the NFL Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1995. He was also the first man to have his number retired, his #63. He was also the first Buccaneer in the Ring of Honor. He was the 1979 Defensive Player of the Year and made 6 Pro Bowls. Although he only played 8 NFL seasons, his presence was always felt. Selmon sadly passed away from a stroke in 2011 at the age of 56. His legacy and memory will stay in the hearts of Buccaneers fans forever.
2. Warren Sapp (1995-2007)
One of the baddest men to ever play the game, Sapp’s aggressive attitude and toughest made him one of the toughest players to go up against. Many felt he should’ve never been a Buccaneer due to him sliding in the draft due to drug related offenses. The Buccaneers took a chance on Sapp with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft. Sapp would be a Captain on one of the most feared defenses in NFL history. Sapp would do wonders in the Tampa 2 due to his athleticism. His 77 sacks in a Bucs uniform are 2nd all time in team history behind Lee Roy Selmon. In the 2000-01 NFL season Sapp record 16.5 sacks that year. He would win the 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, be named to the Pro Bowl 7 times, become a member of both the NFL’s 1990s and 2000s All Decade Team and record 573 tackles, 96.5 sacks, 4 interceptions and 19 forced fumbles. Sapp would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. Sapp was only the second player to have his jersey, number 99, officially retired by the Buccaneers. Sapp’s will to win is documented as he is the what every GM looks for in a defensive tackle. Everyone still look for “Baby Sapp” every year.
1. Derrick Brooks (1995-2008)
Widely considered the greatest Buccaneer that ever played is 1995 NFL draftee, first rounder Derrick Brooks. There is very little that Books has not done. He’s not only one of the best Buccaneers ever but easily a TOP 5 Linebacker of all time. Brooks is an 11x Pro Bowler, 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Walter Payton Man of the Year winner in 2000, a 9x All Pro and would be the heart and soul of the 2002 Buccaneers historic defense. Brooks played in a staggering 224 games and started 221 of them. He would hold the NFL record for most starts at “Will” linebacker consecutively at 208. In 2002, Brooks would have his best season catching 5 interceptions with 3 pick sixes, while guiding Tampa Bay to their first Super Bowl title over the Oakland Raiders. Many fans remember Brooks picking off NFL MVP Rich Gannon is the Super Bowl and returning it for a touchdown. Brooks has 12 consecutive seasons with 100+ tackles. In his 13 year career, Brooks got 1,175 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 25 interceptions, 24 forced fumbles and 7 touchdowns. Brooks was inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Buccaneers Ring of Honor in 2014. His #55 jersey was also subsequently retired, becoming the 3rd player in Buccaneers history. Derrick Brooks forever left his mark on only on the Bucs, but the whole NFL. There will never be another quite like #55.
Honorable Mentions: Josh Freeman, Vinny Testaverde, Gaines Adams, Charles McRae, Keith McCants, Brett Moritz and Kenyatta Walker.
5. Arrelious Benn (2010-2012)
Benn was selected with the 39th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Benn was a huge letdown. He never caught for more than 450 yards, never caught more than 30 catches and he only recorded 5 touchdowns in Tampa Bay. With Vincent Jackson joining the team, there was no use for Benn and he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for two late round picks in 2012.
4. Dexter Jackson (2008-2009)
Jackson was taken with the 58th pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He ran a 4.27 40 yard dash that shot him up boards. Jackson recorded no receiving numbers and averaged an atrocious 4.7 yards per punt return. He caught 20 punts for 97 yards in his lone season in Tampa. Coaches questioned his mental toughness and he was cut during the preseason the next year.
3. Roberto Aguayo (2016-2017)
Aguayo was selected with the 59th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Buccaneers traded a 3rd and 4th in the same draft to move up and select Aguayo. Aguayo could not miss in college, making every kick inside the 40 and making every extra point. He would miss his first NFL kick and continue to struggle in his rookie season going 22 for 31. In 2017, he would miss a 47 yarder and a extra point in the preseason and would be waived for veteran Nick Folk.
2. Booker Reese (1982-1985)
In 1982, The Buccaneers were hit with a strange dilemma. Due to bad phone connection, they actually made the wrong pick, picking Sean Farrell at 17th overall over who they originally wanted, being defensive end Booker Reese. In desperation, they traded their 1st rounder the next year to the Chicago Bears to get their second round pick and select Reese. Reese was a huge letdown. His game didn’t translate to the NFL. In 33 games with Tampa Bay, he got 2 sacks and 2 interceptions. He was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for a 12th round pick and was out of the NFL the year after. Some consider Reese the biggest bust in Bucs history, but there is one guy who had even less of an impact than Reese.
1. Bo Jackson (1986)(DNP)
Yes, as all of you remember Bo Jackson said he wouldn’t play for Tampa Bay and he delivered on his promise. Bo Jackson had a love for both baseball and football and in a way Tampa made him choose. He met with then-owner Hugh Culverhouse, who flew him to Tampa for a visit. The Bucs told Jackson the trip had been cleared by the NCAA. When the NCAA found out, they ruled Jackson ineligible to play baseball for the rest of his college career at Auburn. Furious, Jackson vowed not to play for Tampa Bay if selected first in the draft. Tampa Bay selected him with the 1st overall pick in 1986. Jackson kept true to his word and refused to sign. He would wait to declare into the 1987 NFL Draft where he was selected by the Los Angeles Raiders at pick 183. Though his career was short, he would go on to play in both the NFL and MLB. He didn’t play a single down in Red and Pewter, making Bo Jackson the worst pick in Buccaneers history.