Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Top 10 Draft Mistakes in team history

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Regan Upshaw, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyo) /

1996: Trying to repeat the success of the 1995 Draft

In the 1995 Draft, the Buccaneers hit two tape-measure home runs with their two first-round picks. The Bucs stole Warren Sapp when he fell all the way to 12, then traded up to take Derrick Brooks with the 28th pick who himself was also slipping. Sapp fell due to rumors of off-the-field issues while Brooks slid as he scared off teams for not wanting to work out as a safety, betting on himself as an undersized linebacker.

Brooks and Sapp would end up in the Hall of Fame, and become the cornerstone of a legendary defense that won Super Bowl XXXVII. They are one of three draft hauls to result in two Hall of Famers for the same team in the same round. The 1965 Chicago Bears with Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus, and the 1996 Baltimore Ravens with Jonathan Ogdon and Ray Lewis.

Speaking of 1996, a common misconception is that the Bucs turned around immediately after the 1995 Draft. The thing is, there was still 1996. Once again, the Buccaneers ended up with the luxury of two first-round picks, and they planned on building off of the success of 1995 by building their defense.

They decided to add pass-rushing help with Regan Upshaw with the 12th pick and Marcus Jones with the 22nd. Suffice to say, this was not the haul 1995 was. Upshaw managed 18.5 sacks in four seasons in Tampa while Jones had a 13 sack season in 2000, but only eleven others during his tenure with the Buccaneers.

For those keeping score at home, Ray Lewis was in fact still the board when these picks were made, as were Marvin Harrison and Eddie George when Upshaw was selected, which could have helped bolster the offense. Fortunately, this disaster of a first-round didn’t hinder the Bucs on their destiny of winning Super Bowl XXXVII (against Upshaw’s Raiders), but still deserving of this spot on the list.