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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buc Standouts from Round Four

The Bucs may not have picked at exactly #109 before 2015, but they've hit in that vicinity of the fourth round many times before, landing a Pro Bowl center and a Super Bowl MVP, among others.

The most valuable draft pick in each team's history, according to's Jim Reineking.

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On Monday, Joe Kania looked at five standout NFL players who entered the league as the 109th overall picks in their respective drafts.  Three of those five – T Jon Runyan, DE Aaron Smith and RB Marion Barber – made it to the Pro Bowl during their professional careers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who currently own pick #109 in the 2015 draft, have never before exercised that exact selection, but they did once find a Pro Bowler of their own at #108. That's where the team drafted Wake Forest center Tony Mayberry in 1990. Mayberry spent his first season primarily backing up long-time incumbent center Randy Grimes, then took over as the starter in 1991 and stayed there for the better part of a decade. He never missed a contest during his 10-year career, all spent in Tampa, and he finished with 160 games played and 145 starts to rank sixth and fourth in team history in those two categories, respectively. After each of his last three seasons, Mayberry was voted into the Pro Bowl, which is the most all-star appearances by any offensive lineman in team history.

Mayberry isn't the only standout player the Buccaneers have found in the fourth round through the years. Below are four more, and as a bonus, all five were selected within five spots of that #109 position the team occupies in 2015. One of them is even a Super Bowl MVP.


1. WR Horace Copeland, #104 in 1993
The man affectionately known as "Hi-C" during his Buccaneers career, Copeland was the second wide receiver selected by Tampa Bay in '93, but he ended up out-shining third-round pick Lamar Thomas. Though his career was interrupted in 1996 and ultimately shortened by injury, Copeland had a good run as a deep threat in the mid-90s. He burst onto the scene with a pair of two-touchdown games during his rookie season, punctuating each score with a signature backflip in the end zone. Copeland averaged at least 17.3 yards per catch in each of his first three seasons and finished with a career mark of 17.2.

2. T Ron Heller, #112 in 1984
The Bucs have not had a huge amount of success through the years finding offensive line starters in the middle of the draft – especially offensive tackles – but Heller is definitely an exception. The hard-working Penn State product played with a mean streak and was able to grab a starting spot in his rookie campaign. He would play and start for four seasons in Tampa before falling into disfavor with new Head Coach Ray Perkins in 1987 and earning a trade out of town. Heller went on to eight more seasons in Philadelphia and Miami, starting almost every game in that span and finishing with 172 games and 166 starts in his career.

3. WR Bruce Hill, #106 in 1987
Like Copeland, Hill was drafted in the fourth round after the Buccaneers had already taken another receiver in the third round. In this case, both picks worked out, as third-rounder Mark Carrier turned into the most prolific pass-catcher in franchise history. Hill was pretty good, too; in fact the two wideouts spent the next few years alternating as the team's leading receiver. Hill peaked in his second season at 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns on 58 grabs, tying what was at the time the franchise record for scoring receptions. He played his whole five-year career in Tampa and finished with 2,942 yards and 23 touchdowns on 190 catches.

4. S Dexter Jackson, #113 in 1999
Here's your Super Bowl MVP. Jackson started at free safety on that incredible Buccaneers defense of 2002, which was the driving force in the franchise's first championship run. Jackson earned MVP honors in the big game thanks to his two momentum-swinging interceptions in the first half of a 48-21 rout of the Oakland Raiders. Drafted in '99, Jackson waited two years behind Damien Robinson, who happened to be a fourth-round pick a year earlier (by Philadelphia; the Bucs plucked him off the Eagles' practice squad). When he got his shot to start Jackson made the most of it, picking off seven passes in the two years that led up to Super Bowl XXXVII. After a post-Super Bowl year in Arizona, Jackson came back for two more seasons in Tampa before finishing his NFL career with three years in Cincinnati.

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