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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Entire History of the Buccaneers' First-Round Draft Picks

The Buccaneers' first-round drafting efforts have produced 14 Pro Bowlers, including three of the last five, and once included the arrival of two future Hall of Famers in the same year


NOTE: This article was originally published in April of 2023 and has been updated to include last year's draft results.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the same confounding history with first-round picks as every other team in the NFL. First-round picks feel like a sure thing on the day that they are made. They most definitely are not sure things. Pick any team. The Patriots? Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork – nice! Laurence Maroney and N'Keal Harry – not so much. The Cardinals? Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson – home runs! Robert Nkemdiche and Josh Rosen – foul tips. And so on.

That said, it's doubtful that any franchise in the NFL has a wider gulf between their happiest and saddest first-round experiences than the Buccaneers. In 1995, the Bucs went into the first round of the draft with one pick, at number seven. They walked out of the round with Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, who now have bronze busts in Canton. How did General Manager Rich McKay pull this off? Well, first he traded down five spots with the Eagles, picking up two seconds and giving up a third. Later that day, he paired one of those newly-acquired seconds with the Bucs' own pick in that round to acquire the 28th selection in the first round. He used number 12 on Sapp and number 28 on Brooks.

That remains one of only two times in NFL history that a team has drafted two future Hall of Famers in the same first round. The other team to pull that off was the Chicago Bears, who nabbed Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers in the first round in 1965. Good times.

Not so good times? In 1986, the Bucs went into the draft with the very first pick. They walked out with…nothing? Angered by a private jet trip to Tampa that had cost him the remainder of his college eligibility in baseball, Auburn running back Bo Jackson made it clear that he would not play for the Buccaneers if the team drafted him. The Bucs apparently believed they could change his mind and took him with that number-one pick. Jackson chose to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals instead and was subsequently drafted in the seventh round the next year by the Raiders, who were willing to let him play both sports.

It's hard to imagine a better first-round outcome than two Hall of Famers. And it's hard to imagine a worse one than a player who never plays a down for your team. The majority of Tampa Bay's first-round picks over the past 47 years have fallen closer to the more successful end of that spectrum, but there have been, of course, some other misses along the way.

Here are the picks the Bucs currently own in the 2024 NFL Draft:

  • Round One, 26th Overall
  • Round Two, 57th Overall
  • Round Three, 89th Overall
  • Round Three, 92nd Overall
  • Round Four, 125th Overall
  • Round Six, 220th Overall
  • Round Seven, 246th 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. All 43 players the Bucs have landed in the opening round are listed below, followed by a round of notes.

2023 | Pick No. 19 | Calijah Kancey | DL | Pittsburgh

2021 | Pick No. 32 | Joe Tryon-Shoyinka | OLB | Washington

2020 | Pick No. 13 | Tristan Wirfs | T | Iowa

2019 | Pick No. 5 | Devin White | ILB | Louisiana State

2018 | Pick No. 12 | Vita Vea | DT | Washington

2017 | Pick No. 19 | O.J. Howard | TE | Alabama

2016 | Pick No. 11 | Vernon  Hargreaves | CB | Florida

2015 | Pick No. 1 | Jameis Winston | QB | Florida States

2014 | Pick No. 7 | Mike Evans | WR | Texas A&M

2012 | Pick No. 31 | Doug Martin | RB | Boise State

2012 | Pick No. 7 | Mark Barron | S | Alabama

2011 | Pick No. 20 | Adrian Clayborn | DE | Iowa

2010 | Pick No. 3 | Gerald McCoy | DT | Oklahoma

2009 | Pick No. 17 | Josh Freeman | QB | Kansas State

2008 | Pick No. 20 | Aqib Talib | CB | Kansas

2007 | Pick No. 4 | Gaines Adams | DE | Clemson

2006 | Pick No. 23 | Davin Joseph | G | Oklahoma

2005 | Pick No. 5 | Cadillac Williams | RB | Auburn

2004 | Pick No. 15| Michael Clayton | WR | LSU

2001 | Pick No. 14 | Kenyatta Walker | T | Florida

1999 | Pick No. 15 | Anthony McFarland | DT | LSU

1997 | Pick No. 16 | Reidel Anthony | WR | Florida

1997 | Pick No. 12 | Warrick Dunn | RB | Florida State

1996 | Pick No. 22 | Marcus Jones | DT | North Carolina

1996 | Pick No. 12 | Regan Upshaw | DE | California

1995 | Pick No. 28 | Derrick Brooks | LB | Florida State

1995 | Pick No. 12 | Warren Sapp | DT | Miami

1994 | Pick No. 6 | Trent Dilfer | QB | Fresno State

1993 | Pick No. 6 | Eric Curry | DE | Alabama

1991 | Pick No. 7 | Charles McRae | T | Tennessee

1990 | Pick No. 4 | Keith McCants | LB | Alabama

1989 | Pick No. 6 | Broderick Thomas | LB | Nebraska

1988 | Pick No. 4 | Paul Gruber | T | Wisconsin

1987 | Pick No. 1 | Vinny Testaverde | QB | Miami (FL)

1986 | Pick No. 25 | Rod Jones | CB | SMU

1986 | Pick No. 1 | Bo Jackson | RB | Auburn

1985 | Pick No. 8 | Ron Holmes | DE | Washington

1982 | Pick No. 17 | Sean Farrell | G | Penn State

1981 | Pick No. 7 | Hugh Green | LB | Pittsburgh

1980 | Pick No. 22 | Ray Snell | G | Wisconsin

1978 | Pick No. 17 | Doug Williams | QB | Grambling State

1977 | Pick No. 1 | Ricky Bell | RB | USC

1976 | Pick No. 1 | Lee Roy Selmon | DE | Oklahoma


- Three of the five players in the Hall of Fame who played all or the majority of their careers for Tampa Bay were first-round selections. In addition to Sapp and Brooks, as noted above, DE Lee Roy Selmon, the first college draft pick in franchise history, was inducted into the Hall with the Class of 1995. Sapp followed with the Class of 2013 and Brooks got in a year later. Sapp and Brooks were voted in during their first year of eligibility for enshrinement in Canton.

- Fourteen of the Buccaneers' first-round picks were named to at least one Pro Bowl while with the team, including three who are on the current roster and could add to their all-star bona fides in seasons to come. T Tristan Wirfs (2020 draft) has made it in three of his first four seasons, while DL Vita Vea (2018) has one selection so far. WR Mike Evans (2014) has five Pro Bowl appearances under his belt, including his selection last season.

- DT Gerald McCoy (2010) picked up six Pro Bowl nods during his Buccaneers tenure. RB Doug Martin (2012), G Davin Joseph (2006), RB Warrick Dunn (1997) and LB Hugh Green (1981) all made two Pro Bowls while playing for Tampa Bay. In addition to White and Vea, the others on the list with one all-star selection are LB Devin White (2019), QB Jameis Winston (2015) and QB Trent Dilfer (1994).

- Ten of the Buccaneers' 43 first-round picks received Associated Press All-Pro honors while with the team, as either first or second-team selections, most recently Winfield. Brooks was a five-time first-team selection and also got three more second-team nods. Sapp made the first team four times and the second team once. Selmon was on the first team once and the second team twice, as was McCoy. In just three seasons, Wirfs has already been named a first-team All-Pro once, along with a second-team selection. Green got two second-team nods while T Paul Gruber (1988 draft) and Evans and White have one second-team choice each.

- Brooks holds the team record with 11 Pro Bowl selections, making him one of only 28 players in NFL history to earn that honor 11 or more times. Sapp is next on the Bucs' list with seven Pro Bowl nods, while Selmon and McCoy (2010) made it six times each.

- Jackson is the only first-round pick the Bucs have ever made who did not play at least one game for the team. In fact, all the others on the list played at least 35 games for Tampa Bay, with the exception of the most recent addition to the list. DL Calijah Kancey played in and started 14 games as a rookie last year after being drafted 19th overall, and is a good bet to surpass 35 games as well.

- Every player on the list except Jackson and (so far) Kancey also started at least 20 games as a Buccaneer.

- Eight first-round picks have won a Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers. Sapp, Brooks, DT Anthony McFarland (1999) and T Kenyatta Walker (2001) were on the roster for the squad that won Super Bowl XXXVII after the 2002 season. McFarland was on injured reserve during the postseason but the other three were all starters. Brooks returned an interception for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Four other first-rounders were on the roster for Super Bowl LV: Evans, Vea, White and Wirfs. Vea didn't start the Super Bowl as he had recently returned from a knee injury, but the other three were in the opening lineup.

- Brooks recorded the most games played and started for the Bucs among their first-round picks, with 224 and 221, respectively. He ranks second in team history in both categories to Ronde Barber. Gruber is second on both lists among the 43 first-rounders with 183 games played, all of them starts. Those total rank fourth and third in team annals, respectively.

- Five other first-round picks went on to play at least 100 games for the Buccaneers: Evans (154 and counting), Sapp (130), McCoy (123), Selmon (121) and Joseph (100). All but Joseph, who opened all but one of his 100 games, also topped 100 starts in a Tampa Bay uniform.

- Evans is the Buccaneers' all-time leader in receptions (762), receiving yards (11,680) and total touchdowns (95). He is the only player in NFL history to begin his career with 10 consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons and he currently ranks 13th in league annals in touchdown receptions (94). Evans needs just 15 more points to surpass kicker Martin Gramatica as the Bucs' all-time leading scorer.

- Brooks is the franchise's all-time leader in tackles, with 2,198, as compiled by the team. His tackle total as compiled by Pro Football Reference ranks sixth in NFL history. Brooks is also fifth on the team's all-time interception total, with 25, the most by any linebacker in team annals.

- Selmon was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979 by the Associated Press. Sapp got the same honor after the 1999 season, as did Brooks in 2002. Brooks set a team record that season by scoring four defensive touchdowns, adding a fifth in the playoffs.

- Selmon is the Buccaneers' all-time leader in sacks, with 78.5. Sapp is second on the list with 77.0. McCoy is fourth with 54.5.

- Winston is Tampa Bay's career leader in passing yards (19,737) and touchdown passes (121).

- RB Cadillac Williams, the fifth-overall pick in the 2005 draft, was the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year in his first campaign.

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