PFT, Fans to Determine Bucs’ Mount Rushmore

So the folks at Pro Football Talk are running a series to determine the “Mount Rushmore” of each NFL team, which is exactly what it sounds like.  Picking from a list predetermined by PFT, fans are urged to vote for which four players-slash-franchise-figures would replace George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln if the iconic mountain-side sculpture in South Dakota was devoted to their favorite franchise instead of U.S. Presidents. Continue reading

Immediate Impact: Which Buccaneer Draft Classes Have Had the Most Combined Rookie Success?

All six players the Buccaneers drafted last month hope to step right into significant roles as rookies, and there’s plenty of reason to believe they can do so.  Second-round cornerback Johnthan Banks and fourth-round defensive tackle Akeem Spence, in fact, might have the inside track at a pair of open starting spots on Tampa Bay’s defense.

However, that group – which also includes third-round quarterback Mike Glennon, fourth-round defensive end William Gholston, fifth-round defensive end Steven Means and sixth-round running back Mike James – will have a tough time matching the rookie-season impact that the Buccaneers’ 2012 draft class made.  Led by safety Mark Barron, running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David, who combined to make the maximum 48 starts, the 2012 class produced 1,454 rushing yards, 49 receptions, three kickoff returns for 55 yards, 12 touchdowns, 228 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, 15 passes defensed, one forced fumble and three stops on special teams.

Was it the most immediately impactful draft class in the Buccaneers’ nearly four decades of drafting?  It would certainly be in the discussion.  Let’s take a look at some of the other candidate classes. Continue reading

Highs and Lows Over 37 Years of Drafting

The Buccaneers had a very satisfying opening night in last year’s draft, using a series of maneuvers to get in position to select S Mark Barron and RB Doug Martin (and retaining enough ammunition to trade up for LB Lavonte David the next night).  After just one season, it’s too soon to declare all of those picks as home runs, but it’s safe to say the franchise has high hopes for the careers of Barron, Martin and David.

Those three will have to produce at Hall of Fame levels, however, to top the single greatest draft round in Buccaneers history.  In 1995 – coincidentally also after a series of trades – the Buccaneers selected DT Warren Sapp with the 12th overall pick and LB Derrick Brooks at #28.  Sapp was just elected to the Hall of Fame; Brooks could very well follow him to Canton next February.  It doesn’t get much better than two Hall-bound players in one round.

In fact, Dan Rachal at NFL.com calls the Sapp and Brooks duo two of the five best draft picks in Buccaneers history.  In a very entertaining series currently running on the league web site in the last few weeks leading up to the 2013 draft, a handful of site contributors are going through the five best and five worst picks each team has made in its drafting history.  On Thursday, the Buccaneers got their review. Continue reading

Mike Alstott’s Power Running Still Memorable

Mike Alstott is undoubtedly one of the most popular players in franchise history.  Legions of Buccaneer fans loved him – still love him – for his never-say-die approach to advancing the football, his incredible tackle-breaking highlight-reel runs.  It doesn’t hurt that Alstott arrived just at the beginning of the team’s renaissance and helped it grow inexorably into a Super Bowl champion.

But Alstott’s NFL legacy isn’t just a regional phenomenon.  Just like John Lynch is celebrated as one of the hardest-hitting defenders of his generation; like Warren is considered a pioneer of sorts at the defensive tackle position, as evidenced by his Hall of Fame selection; like Ronde Barber is thought of, in what might actually be an understatement of his skills, as the ultimate Cover Two cornerback; Mike Alstott is the very definition of a power back. Continue reading