As we steamroll toward the 2012 NFL draft, we take a brief look back into the annals of Buccaneer history to provide you the best and worst of the previous Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafts. These opinions are of the article's author and not intended to represent the consensus opinion of all the staff of Buc Nation.
List: Top Ten Buccaneer Draft Picks of All-Time
10. Mark Carrier, WR, 3rd round, pick 1, 1987
9. Warrick Dunn, RB, 1st round, pick 12, 1997
8. James Wilder, RB, 2nd round, pick 6, 1981
7. Mike Alstott, FB, 2nd round, pick 5, 1996
6. Paul Gruber, LT, 1st round, pick 4, 1988
5. John Lynch, S, 3rd round, Pick 26, 1993
4. Ronde Barber, CB, 3rd round, pick 6, 1997
Player: Warren Sapp
Draft: 1st round, pick 12, 1995
Pro Bowl: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
Few players have had a larger impact in changing the fortunes of a franchise as Warren Sapp. Sapp revolutionized the position of three technique in football. Every draft, players are compared to Warren Sapp but few equal his impact.
The amazing story of how Warren Sapp became a Buccaneer is one of those movie type things. Reports of cocaine usage while playing at the University of Miami surfaced the eve of the draft. When the Philadelphia Eagles became enamored with infamous workout warrior Mike Mamula and traded up, the Bucs believed their shot at Sapp was gone. When the 12th selection hit the clock and Sapp was still available, the Bucs pounced. Sapp looked stunned and distraught during his interview, realizing he was going to one of the worst teams in professional sports.
Sapp became one of the faces of the franchise that rose from "The Yucks" to a perennial playoff power and eventual Super Bowl champion. Sapp is fond of saying he and his teammates took the Bucs "from the outhouse to the penthouse."
In 1999, Sapp became only the second player in Buccaneer history to win the NFL Defensive Player of the year award. He's second all-time in club history with seven Pro Bowl appearances.
A four time first team All-Pro, Sapp is second in franchise history in sacks. He also lined up at tight end on goal line situations, scoring two touchdowns and displaying one of the ugliest touchdown dances you'll ever see.
He hold the team record for sacks in a season with 16.5 in 2000. His three sack playoff performance against Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers in 1997 began a huge rivalry between the two players and divisional foes.
While Sapp was a lovable Shrek-like ogre on the field, off it he was less than pleasant to Buccaneer fans. Unlike Lynch and Derrick Brooks' releases, Sapp's exit in 2004 via free agency wasn't met with as much of an outrage.
Still, the Bucs fans loved Sapp's play on the field and his statue stands among the other key members of the Super Bowl champions in One Buc Palace.
Say what you will about Warren Sapp, he certainly won't be forgotten by Bucs fans.
Should Warren Sapp be Higher/Lower?
Higher, Warren was a man beast (79 votes)
Lower, he was great but the other guys were better (25 votes)
Perfect right where he is... (176 votes)
280 total votes