Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 15 greatest pass rushers in franchise history

Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)
Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images) /
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Simeon Rice, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Simeon Rice, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

3. player. 48. . (2001-06). DE. Simeon Rice

With the impact made right away with the Arizona Cardinals as a rookie in 1996, it’s easy to understand why Tampa Bay was so high on Simeon Rice when the defensive end became available in free agency down the road.

From the 12.5 sacks recorded as a rookie to the 16.5 sacks during his first Pro Bowl year during the 1999 NFL season, Rice quickly established a reputation for being a young defender on the rise, who seemed like he was only going to get better with experience.

Luckily for the Buccaneers, contract negotiations would eventually go south between Rice and the Cardinals, leading Tampa Bay to signing the star defender during the 2001 NFL offseason.

At the time, the Buccaneers were already considered a top contender in the NFC. The addition of Rice seemed like it would help the defense reach an even higher level moving forward, which turned out to be exactly the case.

Numerous players have already been credited for playing a key role during the 2002 NFL season to help Tampa Bay win its first Super Bowl in franchise history, and Rice is right up there with the rest of them.

Watching Rice earn double-digit sacks in each of his first five seasons with the Buccaneers from 2001 to 2005 makes it easy to see why the three-time Pro Bowler currently sits at No. 2 on the team’s all-time list for sacks with 69.5.

If only Rice managed to increase that double-digit sack streak to six seasons, chances are he would have been able to catch up to Warren Sapp.