With the draft about a month away it is only normal to see an onslaught of mock drafts. Mock Draft after Mock Draft everyone is going a little insane. Time to step away from the normal Mock Draft and take a look at the best, and worst draft decisions in Tampa Bay history. Just note this is not a complete list just a few that stand out for each category.
Good draft picks are hard to come by some teams just never seem to hit the jackpot when it comes to the draft, bust after bust teams try changing their approach to the draft and it just doesn't seem to help. The draft is one of the hardest processes in any sport. Organizations can be mocked for making the wrong decision, or praised for making the right ones. Lets take a dive into the Buccaneers worst draft decisions in history. Although in the 1977 draft Tampa Bay could have selected Tony Dorsett instead of RIcky Bell, I'm excluding that off of this list as Ricky Bell was a true great.
1981: Maybe not the worst Draft decision, but it feels sour. Yes Tampa Bay needed to fill their linebacker void and drafted a one year Pro Bowl Linebacker in Hugh Green. After a series of injuries Green found is way off of the Bucs after a short stint. Just one pick after Hugh Green, the LA Rams selected Hall Of Fame safety Ronnie Lott...Imagine if Lott went to the Bucs. Our defense might have risen up again, maybe it wouldn't, but it would've certainly been interesting. Lott would've gave the Bucs some nasty. During this draft Tampa Bay also passed on future Hall Of Fame Linebacker Mike Singletary..yeesh, it would've been nice to have Lott and SIngletary on the same team.
1985: Again not a pain inducing pick, but it wasn't beneficial. In the Third round Tampa Bay selected Linebacker Ervin Randle, a player who just fell into obscurity. Just a few picks later more consistent Linebacker was Jack Del Rio, a future Pro-bowler. He wasn't an all-star but he was a good player
1986: Ah, the big one, the one everyone knows. The 1986 first pick selection by the Tampa Bay Bucs Bo Jackson. Before this Bo said he was going to play in the MLB not in the NFL, Tampa still wasted their pick on him, as he refused to sign. A truly awful pick in history. Imagine how nice it would've been if he did sign though. Still Tampa missed out on Jim Everett, and even a decent running back in Neal Anderson, a player who would've actually signed.
1990: This one is big. Tampa Bay again needed to fill a linebacker void and had an early draft pick Tampa selected Keith McCants with the fourth pick of the first round. One pick before Junior Seau. Oh my god did they mess up. McCants basically was a bust, as Junior Seau rose to greatness. One of the best linebackers of the last 20 years and Tampa Bay missed out on him.
1996: Tampa Bay needed to fill their defensive line, and what better way to do this than to draft two defensive ends in the very first round. Tampa Bay selected Regan Upshaw and Marcus Jones, the problem was both of these players busted. Both players were also selected before notable talent such as Marvin Harrison and all time great Ray Lewis.
2007: Gaines Adams.
2009: Josh Freeman. Oh my Freeman had caused more trouble and laughter towards the Bucs locker room than anyone has in awhile. From his inconsistent play to his drama filled interviews Freeman was a true bust for the Bucs. He caused more problems than he could bargain for, as Tampa cut him last year.
After all of those sour picks lets look at some of the Bucs best draft choices ever.
1976: The first pick in Tampa Bay history was a home-run, Lee Roy Selmon was selected and boy was it a great decision. Selmon went down as one of the greatest Defensive ends ever and was Tampa Bay's first all-star.
1978: Sure his stint with Tampa Bay was short lived, but he helped pull the Bucs out of the basement and rise to the playoffs. Along with the Bucs great defense Williams helped Tampa Bay every step of the way. Sadly Williams went elsewhere and eventually won a Superbowl with the Redskins.
1981: James Wilder. Yes James Wilder a true Tampa Bay legend. Tampa Bay selected Wilder in the second round and it turned out to be one of their best picks of their existence. Wilder rushed to 1,000 yard season after 1,000 yard season and went down as a truly great Buc.
1988: Paul Gruber, yes the Paul Gruber. I have actually encountered a lot of Bucs fans who do not know of the great Paul Gruber. Probably the Best offensive linemen Tampa Bay has ever had Gruber was on the teams of the dark years. Gruber still managed to play and excel at his position. Gruber was another great player and a great pick by the Bucs.
1993: Tampa Bay had a great on their hands and didn't realize it. In the third round Tampa selected the first piece of their stout 2000's defense. John Lynch was selected and immediately brought his Ball-hawking smash-mouth safety game to the Bucs defense and left his mark forever.
1995: Possibly the most important year of the Bucs history. Two completely perfect picks in one round. The first round. Tampa Bay selected both Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks two future Hall of Famers, and the leaders of the 2000's Superbowl squad.
1997: Another important draft Tampa Bay selected their final piece to the Championship squad they were looking for. In the third round the Bucs selected their best defensive corner of all time. Ronde Barber. A late pick Barber rose up to be possibly a top five corner of all time and certainly a future Hall of Famer.
2012: Doug Martin was selected and probably was the best pick of the recent years. A complete surprise pick Martin went on to be a pro-bowl running back of his rookie year.
Tell me who I missed and who I got wrong below!!