In the 87 years that NFL teams have been conducting a college draft, there have been only 24 players selected in the third round who ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So far, at least. Tampa Bay Buccaneers found two of them in the span of 60 months.
The Buccaneers have made 48 picks in the third round of their first 47 college drafts, and many of them have worked out very well. From the versatile Charley Hannah way back in 1997 to Mark Carrier a decade later, to Chris Godwin and Jamel Dean of more recent vintage. The Bucs even landed a Pro Bowl kicker in that found. Because we all know by now that not even first-round picks are anything close to a sure thing, the same obviously holds true in the third round.
But one thing is undeniable: If you were to rank those 48 picks from best to worst, the top two spots would have to go John Lynch and Ronde Barber. The argument is easy to make: They are two of the five players who spent all or the majority of their careers in Tampa to be voted into the Hall of Fame. Now, we could wage a spirited debate about how we would order those two, but there's no need to pit those two good friends against each other. We'll just call them 1A and 1B.
Later this week, the Buccaneers will try their hands once again at making sweet music in the third round, barring a trade up or down that takes them out of it. Before that happens, we're going to examine the franchise's history of third-round drafting as our seven-round series continues. All 48 of those players are listed below, followed by a round of notes.
Here are the picks the Bucs currently own in the 2023 NFL Draft:
· Round One, 19th Overall
· Round Two, 50th Overall
· Round Three, 82nd Overall
· Round Five, 153rd Overall
· Round Five, 175th Overall
· Round Six, 179th Overall
· Round Six, 181st Overall
· Round Six, 196th Overall
· Round Seven, 252nd Overall
When the Buccaneers first joined the league, the draft was 17 rounds long, but it was cut to 12 the next year. It was then shortened to eight rounds in 1993 and then to its current seven-round format in 1994. Below, you will find the full list of every player the Buccaneers have taken in the fifth round in their drafts from 1976 through 2022, followed by some notes about that collection of players. We started this exercise with the seventh round, since that is how the modern NFL Draft is shaped, but we did note some particularly strong picks in the eighth through 17th rounds in our seventh-round analysis.
2022 | Pick No. 91 | Rachaad White | RB | Arizona State
2021 | Pick No. 95 | Robert Hainsey | G | Notre Dame
2020 | Pick No. 76 | Ke'Shawn Vaughn | RB | Vanderbilt
2019 | Pick No. 99 | Mike Edwards | S | Arizona State
2019 | Pick No. 94 | Jamel Dean | CB | Auburn
2018 | Pick No. 94 | Alex Cappa | G | Humboldt State
2017 | Pick No. 107 | Kendell Beckwith | LB | LSU
2017 | Pick No. 84 | Chris Godwin | WR | Penn State
2014 | Pick No. 69 | Charles Sims | RB | West Virginia
2013 | Pick No. 73 | Mike Glennon | QB | North Carolina State
2011 | Pick No. 84 | Mason Foster | LB | Washington
2010 | Pick No. 67 | Myron Lewis | CB | Vanderbilt
2009 | Pick No. 81 | Roy Miller | DT | Texas
2008 | Pick No. 83 | Jeremy Zuttah | G | Rutgers
2007 | Pick No. 68 | Quincy Black | LB | New Mexico
2006 | Pick No. 90 | Maurice Stovall | WR | Notre Dame
2005 | Pick No. 91 | Chris Colmer | T | North Carolina State
2005 | Pick No. 71 | Alex Smith | TE | Stanford
2004 | Pick No. 79 | Marquis Cooper | LB | Washington
2003 | Pick No. 97 | Chris Simms | QB | Texas
2002 | Pick No. 86 | Marquise Walker | WR | Michigan
2001 | Pick No. 84 | Dwight Smith | CB | Akron
2000 | Pick No. 90 | Nate Webster | LB | Miami (FL)
1999 | Pick No. 80 | Martin Gramatica | K | Kansas State
1998 | Pick No. 84 | Jamie Duncan | LB | Vanderbilt
1997 | Pick No. 66 | Ronde Barber | CB | Virginia
1997 | Pick No. 63 | Frank Middleton | G | Arizona
1996 | Pick No. 71 | Donnie Abraham | CB | East Tennessee State
1994 | Pick No. 69 | Harold Bishop | TE | LSU
1993 | Pick No. 82 | John Lynch | CB | Stanford
1993 | Pick No. 60 | Lamar Thomas | WR | Miami (FL)
1992 | Pick No. 79 | Tyji Armstrong | TE | Mississippi
1992 | Pick No. 59 | Mark Wheeler | DT | Texas A&M
1991 | Pick No. 80 | Robert Wilson | FB | Texas A&M
1991 | Pick No. 66 | Lawrence Dawsey | WR | Florida State
1987 | Pick No. 57 | Mark Carrier | WR | Nicholls State
1985 | Pick No. 64 | Ervin Randle | LB | Baylor
1984 | Pick No. 57 | Fred Acorn | CB | Texas
1983 | Pick No. 72 | Jeremiah Castille | CB | Alabama
1982 | Pick No. 83 | John Cannon | DE | William & Mary
1982 | Pick No. 74 | Jerry Bell | TE | Arizona State
1980 | Pick No. 76 | Scot Brantley | LB | Florida
1979 | Pick No. 80 | Rick Berns | RB | Nebraska
1979 | Pick No. 78 | Reginald Lewis | DE | North Texas State
1979 | Pick No. 60 | Jerry Eckwood | RB | Arkansas
1977 | Pick No. 57 | Charles Hannah | DE | Alabama
1976 | Pick No. 91 | Steve Maughan | LB | Utah State
1976 | Pick No. 61 | Steve Young | T | Colorado
- Forty-five of those 48 players appeared in at least one regular season games for the Buccaneers. The exceptions were LB Steve Maughan in 1976, WR Marquise Walker in 2002 and T Chris Colmer in 2005. All but three of those 45 players made at least one start for the Bucs, as well; one of those three was a kicker, Martin Gramatica, which makes his inclusion on this list somewhat of a technicality.
- Maughan suffered a shoulder injury that put him on injured reserve as a rookie and then was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma the following year.
- Walker made the roster as a rookie but was inactive for the first four games before landing on injured reserve. The following summer, before training camp, the Buccaneers traded Walker straight up for Arizona Cardinals running back Thomas Jones, who at that point was considered something of a bust after being drafted seventh overall in 2000. While Walker failed to make the Cardinals roster and never played in an NFL game, Jones made a strong comeback with the Bucs, signed a lucrative deal with Chicago in free agency the next year and ended up rushing for more than 10,000 career yards.
- Colmer had overcome a rare viral disorder called Parsonage Turner Syndrome while at North Carolina State two years before he was drafted, but unfortunately saw the disorder recur after he was drafted. He spent his rookie season on a reserve list and was not able to continue his career. Colmer passed away in 2010.
- As noted, there are two Hall-of-Famers on the above list, with S John Lynch going in as part of the Class of 2021 and CB Ronde Barber set to join him this August. Both players went to five Pro Bowls while with the Buccaneers and Lynch added four more selections during his four seasons with the Denver Broncos.
- Barber is the Buccaneers' all-time leader in games played (241), games started (232) and interceptions (47), and he ranks second on the team's career tackles list with 1,428. He also racked up 28.0 sacks and is the only player in NFL history to record at least 40 interceptions and at least 25 sacks. He never missed a game due to injury in his career, played in 240 straight contests from 1998 to 2012 and set an all-time NFL record by starting 200 consecutive games at the cornerback position.
- Lynch ranks sixth in Bucs history in both tackles (973) and interceptions (23) and was a four-time Associated Press All-Pro while with the team, including two first-team selections. He is considered one of the hardest-hitting players at any position in NFL history and was nicknamed "The Closer" by his defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, for his penchant for making game-changing takeaways at crucial moments. He is sixth in team history in games played (164) and eighth in starts (132).
- Seventeen of the 48 players listed above logged 40 or more starts for the Buccaneers, most recently G Alex Cappa, a 2018 selections. CB Jamel Dean, who has 38 starts so far, is almost certain to join that list this coming season. Barber and Lynch are the only two to surpass 100 starts. Next closest is WR Mark Carrier (1987) with 80, followed by G Jeremy Zuttah (2008) with 76. More than half of the Bucs' all-time third round picks – 26, to be exact – went on or have gone on to play at least 50 games with the team.
- The Bucs have drafted five players in the third round who went on to garner Pro Bowl honors. In addition to Barber and Lynch, both Gramatica (1999) and CB Donnie Abraham (1996) made it in 2000. WR Chris Godwin (2017) was named to the all-star team in 2019. Abraham ranks second in team history with 31 career interceptions.
- While Walker was a notable exception, the Buccaneers have hit the mark several times with wide receivers in the third round. Godwin ranks second in team history, behind only teammate Mike Evans, in both receptions (446) and receiving yards (5,666), numbers he will continue to build on in the coming seasons. Carrier's 321 catches rank fourth and his 5,018 yards rank second on the Bucs' list. Lawrence Dawsey, a 1991 selection, played five seasons for the Bucs and amassed 206 catches for 2,842 yards. Maurice Stovall, chosen in 2006, didn't put up big receiving numbers but was on the team for five seasons and was a core special teamer.
- Other than three noted players who never got onto the field for Tampa Bay, the player with the fewest games played as a Buccaneer among those 48 is TE Harold Bishop, a 1994 selection. However, the Bucs were still above to extract a lot of value out of that selection, as Bishop was traded to the Cleveland Browns during the following offseason in exchange for a second-round pick. Tampa Bay went on to use that pick to land FB Mike Alstott, who is now in the team's Ring of Honor. Bishop played in six games with the Bucs and did not record a reception.
- The Bucs have taken a tight in the third round three times. Jerry Bell, a 1982 selection, played in 60 games with 30 starts and had 101 catches. Tyji Armstrong, a 1992 pick, played 59 games with 28 starts, and though he was primarily known as a rugged blocker who played with an edge, he also owns the longest reception by a tight end in franchise history, an 81-yard touchdown against the Rams in his rookie season. Alex Smith, chosen in 2005, played in 58 games with 43 starts, had 129 catches and is the only Buccaneer ever to catch two touchdown passes in his very first game. Smith is now an assistant director of pro scouting for Tampa Bay.
- Charley Hannah was drafted as a defensive end in the third round in 1977, but after two seasons at that position he switched to offensive tackle and started 47 games over the next four seasons on the Bucs' O-Line. He then played six more seasons with the Raiders and eventually started 126 NFL games.
- Dwight Smith was drafted by Tampa Bay in the third round in 2001 and served as the team's nickel back during the 2002 Super Bowl championship season. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the Bucs' 48-21 victory over Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII and remains the only player in NFL history with multiple pick-sixes in a single Super Bowl. Smith later converted to safety and played a total of 63 games with 34 starts for the Buccaneers.
- The most common position the Buccaneers have targeted in the third round through the last 47 years is linebacker, with nine total selections. Of those nine, Scot Brantley (1980) saw the most career action for the team, with 114 games played and 71 starts.
- Interestingly, Vanderbilt is one of only two colleges that has produced three or more third-round picks for Tampa Bay, most recently RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn in 2020. The Bucs also selected Vandy CB Myron Lewis in 2010 and LB Jamie Duncan in 1998. Texas also has three player on the list: DT Roy Miller (2009), QB Chris Simms (2003) and CB Fred Acorn (1984). Simms and Mike Glennon (2013) are the only quarterbacks the Bucs have ever drafted in Round Three.