The Bucs’ 10 Best Draft Picks: #9 – James Wilder

9. James Wilder – RB – 1981 – 2nd Round (34th Overall)

The choice of James Wilder over Doug Williams is probably not a popular one, but Wilder played for the Bucs for nine seasons and appeared in 113 games compared to Williams’ 67. Wilder also had his best years for some Bucs’ teams that were downright awful, meaning he was gaining most of his yards on his own.

Over two seasons in 1984 and 1985, Wilder rushed for 2,844 yards and 23 touchdowns, while also hauling in 138 receptions. The Bucs only won eight total games in those two seasons.

Wilder was the only offense for a time in Tampa Bay. He did get the chance to play on two playoff-bound Bucs teams during his first two years, but was gone from the NFL before they would make the playoffs again.

Wilder made the Pro Bowl in 1984 after finishing the year with 2,229 rushing and receiving yards – the second highest total in NFL history at the time. He still holds the Bucs’ records for career rushing yards (5,957) and receptions (430). It would’ve been great to see what Wilder could’ve done if he had any support around him.

10. Doug Williams – QB – 1979 – 1st Round (17th Overall)

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