3. Mark Carrier
1986 was another lost year for the Bucs. They finished 2-14. They were second to last in the league in passing, averaging just 156.1 yards per game. Steve Young was the quarterback at the time, but he hadn’t exactly come into his own yet. However, with his best receiver posting 640 yards, it’s not as if he was blessed with a plethora of weapons.
In the third round of the 1987 draft, the Bucs selected a wide receiver out of Nicholls St. named Mark Carrier. As a rookie he didn’t exactly take the world by storm, posting 26 catches for 423 yards and three touchdowns. The next year, however, he became a regular starter and showed why he is on this list.
It got going for Carrier in 1988, when he posted 57 receptions for 970 yards and five touchdowns. His best day came when the Bucs nearly upset Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins. That day, he posted nine catches for 142 yards and a 17-14 loss.
The following year yielded Carrier’s only Pro Bowl appearance. That year he posted career highs in receptions (86), yards (1,422), and touchdowns (9). His yardage total ranked him third in the league behind Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe.
By the way, the Bucs were 12th in passing in 1988 and 14th in 1989. That would qualify as much better than before Carrier arrived.
He fell off to 813 yards the next year and 698 the year after that before he was off to Cleveland. But, his career total with the Bucs of 5,018 receiving yards ranks him first in franchise history.