In 1997, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Florida State running back Warrick Dunn with the 12th overall pick, handed him jersey #28 and watched him run all the way to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. Nearly two decades later, the Buccaneers hope to set a similar sequence in motion.
On Thursday night, the Buccaneers used the 11th overall pick in the 2016 draft to nab Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. On Friday morning, Hargreaves flew from NFL Draft headquarters in Chicago to Tampa for the introductory press conference always afforded a first-round pick. At some point during that media session, Hargreaves will pose for pictures with General Manager Jason Licht, Head Coach Dirk Koetter and, of course, his first Buccaneer jersey.
It will bear the number 28.
Hargreaves wore #1 for the Gators, but that is not in the range of allowed jersey numbers for an NFL defensive backs. He wore #24 while starring at Tampa's Wharton High School, but that number was recently snagged by big-time free agent acquisition Brent Grimes. So Hargreaves has settled on a number that has some interesting historical significance in franchise history, on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
](http://www.buccaneers.com/news/article-1/Hargreaves-Always-Wanted-to-be-a-Buccaneer/3c351902-5fd3-4d55-8106-698baa960a1f)Dunn is the most prominent veteran of the #28 jersey in Buccaneer annals, having worn it for his first five ultra-productive NFL seasons (1997-2001) and then again during a career-capping return in 2008. With 4,986 yards on the ground and another 306 receptions for 2,704 yards, Dunn is the third-leading rusher and third-leading pass-catcher in team history. He was the first Buccaneer rookie ever to make the Pro Bowl, a feat that has since only been duplicated by running back/kick returner Clifton Smith in 2008 and running back Doug Martin in 2012. If Hargreaves can earn his own trip to the all-star game in 2016, he would be the first Buccaneer defender ever to do so in his rookie season.
Photos from the Draft Room at One Buccaneer Place and Vernon Hargreaves in Chicago.
Since jersey numbers 20-29 are allowed ranges for both running backs and defensive backs, #28 has alternated between the two sides of the game throughout Buccaneer history. The first player to wear it for Tampa Bay was Ken Stone, who started all 14 games at free safety in the Bucs' inaugural 1976 campaign. That was the extent of Stone's tenure in Tampa, however, and the next year #28 went to running back Anthony Davis.
That was again a one-year appointment for #28, which was worn by several different players in 1978. The first player to give it a long-term home on his back was running back Melvin Carver, who played in 32 games with 11 starts from 1982-85. Cornerback Curtis Buckley, a fan favorite for his all-out play on special teams, got #28 from 1993-95 but the most notable defensive player to adopt that jersey in Buc history was safety Tanard Jackson. A fourth-round pick in 2007, Jackson started every game as a rookie for a playoff-bound Tampa Bay squad. He would see action in 56 games over five seasons for the Buccaneers, starting all of them and recording 10 interceptions.
Following Dunn's footsteps to the Pro Bowl as a rookie is a tall request for Hargreaves, but he is certainly expected to make an instant impact in Tampa. Before long, he could very well be the most prominent defensive #28 in franchise history.