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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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

Tampa Bay has found two Pro Bowlers in the fourth round – Tony Mayberry and Kwon Alexander – and its two most recent picks in that frame have quickly carved out big roles on the current roster


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

At his pre-draft press conference in 2023, Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht was asked if his team needed to prioritize finding a defensive back to play in the slot. Licht noted the team had plenty of time to figure out who that would be and suggested some potential in-house options, including young cornerback Zyon McCollum. A year later, after he started nine games at outside cornerback to cover at various times for injured starters Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean, McCollum will likely head into his third season as a full-time starter.

"He's a phenomenal athlete," said Licht at the time, "and we think he is going to get better and better."

That appears to be happening, but why are we discussing Zyon McCollum, fifth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, in a post about the Bucs' history of fourth-round draft picks? Because McCollum was effectively Tampa Bay's fourth-round pick in 2023.

Licht and his crew went into the 2023 draft without a fifth-round selection, having traded it about a month earlier to get guard Shaq Mason from the Patriots. The fourth through seventh rounds of the draft are conducted on Saturday, and it looked like the Buccaneers were going to make a couple picks in the fourth round and then cool their heels for most of the day until their seventh-round slots came around.

Instead, Licht couldn't ignore that McCollum, the extremely athletic corner out of Sam Houston State, was sticking out on the Bucs' draft board as other names fell off. Eventually, he decided he had to make a move and found a trade partner in the Jaguars. Jacksonville sent over fourth and seventh-round picks for the draft in motion in exchange for the Bucs' fourth-round pick in 2023.

So the Bucs didn't pick in the fourth round last year but had great success in that round the previous spring with tight end Cade Otton and punter Jake Camarda. Otton remarkably played 97% of the team's offensive snaps last season, a usage rate that is practically unheard of for tight ends, and had 60 catches and five touchdowns, postseason included. Camarda has quickly shattered the Bucs' all-time punting records with gross averages of 48.8 and 50.1 yards in his first two seasons. That continues a relatively rich history in the fourth round for the Buccaneers over the past 48 drafts. All of the team's previous fourth-round picks are listed below, followed by a round of notes.

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 fourth round in their drafts from 1976 through 2023, followed by some notes about that collection of players.

2022 | Pick No. 133 | Jake Camarda | P | Georgia

2022 | Pick No. 106 | Cade Otton | TE | Washington

2021 | Pick No. 129 | Jaelon Darden | WR | North Texas

2019 | Pick No. 107 | Anthony Nelson | EDGE | Iowa

2018 | Pick No. 117 | Jordan Whitehead | S | Pittsburgh

2016 | Pick No. 108 | Ryan Smith | CB | North Carolina Central

2015 | Pick No. 124 | Kwon Alexander | LB | LSU

2013 | Pick No. 126 | Will Gholston | DE | Michigan State

2013 | Pick No. 100 | Akeem Spence | DT | Illinois

2011 | Pick No. 104 | Luke Stocker | TE | Tennessee

2010 | Pick No. 101 | Mike Williams | WR | Syracuse

2009 | Pick No. 117 | Kyle Moore | DE | USC

2008 | Pick No. 115 | Dre Moore | DT | Maryland

2007 | Pick No. 106 | Tanard Jackson | S | Syracuse

2006 | Pick No. 122 | Alan Zemaitis | CB | Penn State

2005 | Pick No. 107 | Dan Buenning | G | Wisconsin

2004 | Pick No. 111 | Will Allen | S | Ohio State

2003 | Pick No. 133 | Austin King | C | Northwestern

2003 | Pick No. 130 | Lance Nimmo | T | West Virginia

2002 | Pick No. 119 | Travis Stephens | RB | Tennessee

2001 | Pick No. 117 | John Howell | S | Colorado State

1999 | Pick No. 113 | Dexter Jackson | S | Florida State

1998 | Pick No. 104 | Todd Washington | C | Virginia Tech

1997 | Pick No. 128 | Alshermond Singleton | LB | Temple

1996 | Pick No. 104 | Eric Austin | S | Jackson State

1996 | Pick No. 96 | Jason Odom | T | Florida

1995 | Pick No. 105 | Jerry Wilson | CB | Southern

1993 | Pick No. 104 | Horace Copeland | WR | Miami (FL)

1993 | Pick No. 91 | Rudy Harris | FB | Clemson

1992 | Pick No. 86 | QB | Craig Erickson | Miami (FL)

1991 | Pick No. 93 | Tony Covington | S | Virginia

1990 | Pick No. 108 | Tony Mayberry | C | Wake Forest

1990 | Pick No. 87 | Jesse Anderson | TE | Mississippi State

1989 | Pick No. 90 | Anthony Florence | CB | Bethune-Cookman

1988 | Pick No. 107 | Monte Robbins | P | Michigan

1988 | Pick No. 86 | John Bruhin | G | Tennessee

1988 | Pick No. 83 | Robert Goff | DT | Auburn

1987 | Pick No. 106 | Bruce Hill | WR | Arizona State

1987 | Pick No. 87 | Ron Hall | TE | Hawaii

1987 | Pick No. 85 | Don Graham | LB | Penn State

1986 | Pick No. 83 | Craig Swoope | S | Illinois

1985 | Pick No. 92 | Mike Heaven | S | Illinois

1984 | Pick No. 112 | Ron Heller | T | Penn State

1984 | Pick No. 107 | Mishael Gunter | RB | Tulsa

1983 | Pick No. 99 | Kelly Thomas | T | USC

1982 | Pick No. 103 | Dave Barrett | RB | Houston

1981 | Pick No. 89 | John Holt | CB | West Texas State

1980 | Pick No. 102 | Larry Flowers | CB | Texas Tech

1976 | Pick No. 124 | Everett Little | G | Houston

1976 | Pick No. 121 | Richard Appleby | WR | Georgia


- Of the Buccaneers' 50 previous fourth-round picks, 41 played in at least one game for the team. Of those 41, 33 made at least one start. Ten of those 33 started 50 or more games. Several of the nine players who never saw regular-season action for the Buccaneers were with the team for at least one season, either on the 53-man roster but inactive for every game or on injured reserve. The most recent examples of this were CB Alan Zemaitis in 2006 and C Austin King in 2003.

- Two players picked by the Buccaneers in the fourth round made the Pro Bowl while with the team. C Tony Mayberry (1990) earned three straight selections from 1997-99. That stands as the most Pro Bowl selections by an offensive lineman in franchise history. LB Kwon Alexander, a fourth-round pick in 2015, made the Pro Bowl in 2017.

- Mayberry easily ranks as the most successful fourth-round selection in Buccaneers history. In addition to his Pro Bowl nods, he also ranks second in that group in games played (160) and first in games started (145). He played in every game during his 10-year NFL tenure, all with Tampa Bay, and started every game over the last nine seasons of that span. Mayberry ranks eighth in team annals in games played and sixth in starts.

- The other two fourth-round picks to make it to 100 games played for Tampa Bay are DL Will Gholston (2013) and TE Ron Hall (1987). Over the past 10 seasons, Gholston has appeared in 169 games for the Bucs – ranking sixth in that category – and has made 88 starts. His career totals include 420 tackles, 19.5 sacks and 77 QB hits. He has played in more games for the Bucs than any other defensive lineman in team history. Hall saw action in 101 games for Tampa Bay, with 90 starts, recording 209 catches for 2,422 yards and 10 touchdowns. He ranks fourth on the team's all-time receptions list among tight ends.

- The Bucs have been on a bit of a roll in the fourth round since 2011. Of the 10 players they've selected in the fourth round in that span, seven have played at least four seasons for the team, finishing out their rookie contracts at a minimum. Two of the other three – Otton and Jake Camarda from the 2022 draft – look likely to do the same after very good rookie campaigns. The only exception is WR Jaelon Darden from the 2021 draft; Darden spent parts of two seasons as the team's primary return man but was eventually released in December of 2022.

- That run comes in stark contrast to the team's fourth-round efforts from 2002 through 2009. The Bucs made nine fourth-round picks in that span and only two of them lasted at least four years in Tampa. Three of those nine – T Lance Nimmo (2003), C Austin King (2003) and CB Alan Zemaitis (2006) – never played a game for the Buccaneers. Another, RB Travis Stephens (2002), saw action in just one contest. The two exceptions were both safeties – Will Allen in 2004 and Tanard Jackson in 2007. Allen played 84 games for the Bucs with 26 starts while Jackson got into 56 games, starting them all.

- When the Buccaneers selected Miami QB Craig Erickson in the fourth round in 1992 it was the second time he had heard his name called on draft weekend. The Philadelphia Eagles used a fifth-round selection on Erickson in the 1991 draft but the two sides failed to reach agreement on a contract while Erickson was recovering from a knee injury suffered in his last college game. The Eagles lost their rights to the Hurricane passer when the next year's draft arrived, and the Bucs eventually took him 45 spots higher than he had gone the year before. Erickson started 30 games for the Bucs over the 1993 and 1994 seasons but was eventually traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick after Tampa Bay had transitioned to first-round pick Trent Dilfer. Erickson threw for over 6,000 yards during his Bucs tenure, tossing 34 touchdowns and 31 interceptions.

- The Bucs drafted safeties from the University of Illinois in consecutive fourth rounds in 1985 and 1986, though neither worked out particularly well. Mike Heaven (1985) never played a game in the NFL and Craig Swoope (1986) lasted just a little over one season in Tampa, though he did start 11 games.

- Three of the top 22 pass-catchers in franchise history were fourth-round picks by the team. In addition to Ron Hall, noted above, 2010 fourth-round WR Mike Williams ranks 18th with 215 receptions for 2,947 yards and 25 touchdowns. WR Bruce Hill, a 1987 fourth-round pick, is 22nd on the list with 190 grabs for 2,942 yards and 23 touchdowns.

- LB Alshermond Singleton is the most productive player the Bucs have ever landed with a compensatory draft pick. Taken with an extra selection awarded at the end of the fourth round in 1997, Singleton played in 87 games for the Bucs with 15 starts. He was the starting strongside linebacker on the legendary 2002 defense that led the franchise to its first Super Bowl championship.

- S Dexter Jackson, a fourth-rounder in 1999, earned NFL immortality when he was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXXVII. Jackson's two first-half interceptions helped start a run of 34 unanswered points for the Buccaneers, who would go on to beat the Oakland Raiders, 48-21.

- The most common position the Buccaneers have targeted in the fourth round is safety, with nine picks at that position. Cornerback is next with a total of six draftees.

- Three colleges have produced a trio of Buccaneer fourth-round draft picks: Illinois, Penn State and Tennessee. Five others have two players on the list: Georgia, Houston, Miami (FL), Syracuse and USC.

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