In 1995, the Bucs had difficulty defending against the pass (sounds familiar). Despite finishing 7-9, they were 26th in the league against the pass, allowing 247.4 yards per game and a completion percentage that exceeded 62%. The poor performance played a role in the firing of head coach Sam Wyche. In came Tony Dungy, but nobody knew how that would work out at the time.
The Bucs needed help. With their third round choice, they selected Donnie Abraham to play cornerback, and help is exactly what they received. Abraham became a starter as a rookie, starting 12 games. His first interception came in a week three loss to Denver. He picked off five passes as a rookie as well as recovering two fumbles.
Abraham didn’t stop there, posting five more interceptions in his sophomore campaign in 1997. After an off year in 1998, he took the league by storm over the next two years. In 1999, he intercepted seven passes, returning two of them for touchdowns. From November 21 through December 6, Abraham posted five interceptions (two for scores) in three games. That’s a man on a roll, folks.
2000 yielded Abraham’s only Pro Bowl appearance. He intercepted seven more passes that year, followed by six interceptions in 2001. He also posted three interceptions in the playoffs for the Bucs, albeit in losing efforts.
His 31 career interceptions with the Bucs rank Abraham second in franchise history. Not bad for a third round selection, huh?