James Wilder (1981-1990)
Rather than first and second on this list, James Wilder is more of the 1B to Alstott’s 1A position. These two players are extremely close in their greatness, and both are clearly separated from the rest of the group.
Wilder was one of the first dominant running backs in franchise history. Coming in during the early stages of the team, Wilder posted the greatest single season by a Buccaneer running back ever.
In 1984, Wilder rushed for a franchise-record of 1,544 yards and amassed 685 receiving yards on 85 receptions. With nearly 500 touches, James Wilder shouldered the heaviest workload for an individual Buccaneer ever.
1984 and 1985 were both exceptional years for Wilder, two of the best individual seasons for a Bucs running back, and back to back no less. The other eight years of Wilder’s career were less impactful, and he was primarily edged out by Alstott.
The heavy reliance on running backs during the 80’s rather than throwing the football likely skewed the stats in Wilder’s favor, but if the roles were reversed, it is almost assured that Wilder would be first on this list if he played in the 90s and 2000s and Alstott would be second.
Regardless of standing on this list, Wilder was an exceptional runner of the football and receiver, and the Bucs need to get back to where they have a player of his transgenerational talent on their roster.