James Wilder sometimes seems like a forgotten name, but this running back was probably the best skill player the Bucs have ever had. He played 10 years for the Bucs, making just one Pro Bowl and being selected All-Pro just once, but that underrates his skill. Wilder worked both as a fullback and a running back, sharing the backfield in most seasons. At 6'3", 225lbs he was a very big guy, especially for the time, and he took a lot of punishment. This was especially obvious in the 1984 when he had a mind-boggling 407 carries for 1544 yards and 13 touchdowns, both single-season team records. Those 407 carries don't mark an NFL record, as Larry Johnson in 2006 and Jamal Anderson in 1998 carried the ball 416 and 410 times respectively. But James Wilder added 85 receptions for 685 yards and a touchdown pass in that season, which makes for an NFL record 493 total touches. And as if that kind of punishment wasn't enough, he got another 418 touches for 1641 yards from scrimmage in 1985. It seemed that John McKay and Leeman Bennett were intent on giving James Wilder the ball until his legs would pop off, and unfortunately that's basically what happened. Wilder would get just 2,892 yards from scrimmage over the next 4 seasons as he moved back to fullback. And all that as a second-round pick.
James Wilder was a big, tough, punishing running back, but more elusive and faster than Mike Alstott. He was a multi-dimensional running back who was a genuine threat in the passing game as well. A complete running back and a great player who has not had quite the exposure his skills deserved.
The list so far:
10. Warrick Dunn
9. Doug Williams
8. Mike Alstott
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