Buccaneers Top-5 Draft Picks of All-Time


With the NFL and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading towards the draft we thought it’d be fun to list the Pewter Pirates “Top-5 Draft Picks of All-Time” as seen by our staff of content creators. Up first is staff writer Carter Brantley

Carter Brantley

1. Lee Roy Selmon
2. Derrick Brooks
3. Mike Evans
4. Ronde Barber
5. Lavonte David

So if you think Derrick Brooks is the easy number one, hey I won’t argue with you. Selmon and Brooks are interchangeable, both in their greatness on the field and their impact off of it. Brooks has been a leader in the community, Selmon became an AD at USF and has my favorite highway named after him. Both are fine at number one because they were both great players who are the faces of Bucs history.

Evans gets the slight nod over Barber and David because he’s been the best offensive player in Bucs history. Barber is, well Barber, you don’t tell the story of the ‘02 team without him. David might not quite be Derrick Brooks (who is), but by golly is he really darn good, and if he was on a lot of other teams he’d be by far the best linebacker in that team’s history. But hey, number 2 to Derrick Brooks ain’t too bad. 

JT Olson

5) Warren Sapp

When we talk about franchise changing drafts, Sapp was the headliner of the 1995 NFL draft. The star defensive tackle out of Miami took a draft day tumble due to suspected drug problems. Not only were the Buccaneers able to get him later than expected, but they were able to initially trade back in the first round and still get him with the 12th overall pick in the draft.

This turned out to be a franchise altering selection. Sapp would go on to have a Hall of Fame career (9 years with the Bucs) with 96.5 sacks. He was also the leader of the Buccaneers defensive line for their 2002 Super Bowl championship which featured perhaps the greatest defense in NFL history.

4) Mike Evans

When talking about all time great picks, the greatest offensive player in franchise history would certainly qualify. It’s especially impressive because the Bucs could have gone in so many different ways, with several other high profile wide receivers (Sammy Watkins and Odell Beckham Jr.) as well as quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Fortunately the Bucs navigated these options well and selected the best player of that bunch. Fast forward a decade later and it has been nothing but 1,000 yard receiving seasons and among the greatest touchdown scorers in NFL history.

3) Lavonte David

When considering great draft picks, it’s not all just about talent, but also about value. Well getting a guy in the back end of the second round who is one of the best linebackers of all time who plays his entire career with your team and wins a Super Bowl is pretty darn good value. Lavonte David is truly one of the best value picks of all time.

David will finish his career in the top ten all time in combined tackles, solo tackles, tackles for a loss and top five in forced fumbles by a linebacker.On top of that, he was one of the better coverage linebackers of his time. Truly an underrated superstar and Hall of Famer to be outside of Tampa Bay.

2) Derrick Brooks

The greatest player in franchise history. Perhaps the greatest linebacker in NFL history. Words can not express the impact Brooks made on the Buccaneers.

The 11 time pro bowler, 5 time All Pro and 2002 defensive player of the year was the face of the Bucs dominant defenses. He ranks 6th all time in combined tackles and 3rd all time in solo tackles. His incredible talent and character define what it means to be a Buccaneer legend.

1) Ronde Barber

Most third round picks don’t go on to become Hall of Famers; let alone change the game as we know it today. That’s exactly what Barber did with the Bucs during his 16 year career in Tampa Bay.

He is the mold for the modern nickel back and was a critical playmaker in the Bucs secondary in their 2002 championship run. His ability to not only cover, but come up and play the run were unmatched by any corner of that time outside of perhaps just Charles Woodson. The world will probably never see another one like Ronde Barber.

Greg D’Cruz 

The Bucs have 5 Hall of Famers so it would be easy for me to just rank those and be done with it.

Although my list  does include some hall of farmers, I decided to pick the top 5 drafted players who represent what it means to be a Buccaneer to me.
Gruber was the best offensive Lineman drafted before Wirfs came along. For years he was the only Buccaneer that most people heard of. Had the Bucs been better as a team, he may have made the Hall of Fame.
The A-Train symbolized what Dungyball was all about. A fan favorite on and off the field.
Evans will most likely make the Hall of fame. He’s another guy who will retire as a Buccaneer and is as great off the field as he is in it.
Derrick Brooks is class personified. His accolades speak for themselves. His on field accomplishments pale in comparison to what he’s done off of it.
Mr. Lee Roy Selmon will always be my top choice. He was known as a gentle giant because he wreaked havoc on the filed but was a gentleman off of it.
At 56 I have a fondness for the past and because   they didn’t win many games, some of those legends are easily forgotten.

Jeremy Morrow

The Buccaneers have had some amazing picks in the draft. Current and future Hall of Famers abound. So when I think of the best players drafted I immediately look to those who pushed the team to the next level and helped win a Super Bowl.

Kicking off the list is pretty easy. As a Buccaneers fan, you don’t have to look any further than the 1995 draft. The Buccaneers, with Rich McKay as the general manager loaded up with Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp. Amazing! Add in Ronde Barber in 1997 in the third round and you have one hell of a steal and Buccaneers legend.
But we can’t forget about recent drafts and this last Super Bowl team.
In 2014 the Buccaneers drafted Mike Evans seventh overall. We all know how that has turned out. In 202 with the 13th overall pick, the Buccaneers selected Tristan Wirfs. At this point, even after a switch to the blind side, Wirfs looks every bit like a top-five offensive tackle ALL TIME. Lastly to round out my top five, yes I grouped Sapp and Brooks, Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau Vea was selected 12th overall in the 2018 NFL draft. He’s a force multiplier and hands down one of my favorite all-time Buccaneers.

Bucs Report Staff

This was harder than you might imagine. Yes these lists have quite a few of the same names, but what order should they be in?
Let’s start with honorable mention Ronde Barber. Yes he’s a Super Bowl champion. Obviously he played on one of the greatest defenses in league history. Unfortunately he misses the top-5 here based on that forementioned defense that was loaded with talent.
Lavonte David has been the best linebacker the Buccaneers have had since Derrick Brooks. That’s not debatable. The fact that he’s No. 5 on this list is only because there’s three hall of famers and one sure hall of famer in front of him.
Mike Evans has been the most consistent, most productive and most clutch receiver in team history. A sure-fire hall of famer that has become a fan-favorite and definitely has a place on the team’s ring of honor.
Lee Roy Selmon was the franchises first draft pick ever. From day one he excelled on teams that were not good. One could argue he put this team on his back and carried then to their first playoff appearance, first division championship, and national respect.
Warren Sapp was that dude. Joining the Buccaneers when they were coming off over a decade of double digit losses each season. He was feared, he was boisterous, he was electric, he was SAPP. The chants of “WARREN, WARREN, WARREN” still ring I’m some fan’s ears.
“Who’s your favorite player? Mr. Derrick Brooks”. The classic United Way TV spot says it all. Brooks was a key part of the Pewter Pirates run to their first Super Bowl. His leadership on and off the field is unmatched to this day. Whether it be his sideline to sideline relentless pursuit or his numerous pick-sixes, Brooks was “HIM”.

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