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
3. Warren Sapp, DT, 1st round, pick 12, 1995
Player: Derrick Brooks
Draft: 1st Round, pick 28, 1995
Pro Bowl: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008
There's a lot of reasons why Derrick Brooks should have been number one on this list. For Buccaneer fans during the 2000's there was only one answer to the question - whose your favorite player?
Mr. Derrick Brooks.
To list the accolades of Brooks would take up way to much space on BucNation's servers. The long and short of it - 11 time Pro Bowl selection, 9 time First Team All-Pro, the 2000 Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner, 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the year, tops in team history in tackles, it goes on and on.
In 2002, he became the first linebacker in NFL history to record four defensive touchdowns. He'd add a fifth in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Called the Godfather late in his career, he was the epitome of a leader in the post John Lynch era.
Brooks redefined the will linebacker position in Monte Kiffin's offense.
Warren Sapp was fond of saying, "It didn't matter what the opposing offense had. We had Brooks. For McNabb, we had Brooks. For Michael Vick, we had Brooks."
Derrick Brooks was the equalizer. His amazing combination of speed and instincts kept the Buccaneers defense among the best in the NFL.
His release in 2009 nearly caused a riot of Buc fans at One Buc Palace.
Sure, Brooks was past his prime and no other team took a chance on the future Hall of Famer - it was just the manner in which the act was done. The 2009 Bucs were going through a youth movement - they had little chance at a playoff berth under new coach Raheem Morris.
It wouldn't have been too hard for the organization to allow Brooks a farewell tour and teach some of the young Bucs how to be leaders.
Instead, he was dumped like yesterday's trash. It was one of the darkest days in Buccaneer history and signaled the end of an era in Tampa Bay football.
Despite the disappointing end, unlike Lynch and Sapp, Brooks never donned another team's uniform. His lasting image will be as a Buccaneer. Brooks stands tall as one of the greatest players ever to grace the field.