Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Top five undrafted free agents in team history

Donald Penn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Donald Penn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /
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Shelton Quarles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images) /

Shelton Quarles – LB 1997-2006

Shelton Quarles had an interesting journey to get to where he did in the NFL. He spent training camp in 1994 with the Miami Dolphins but was released. He then spent two seasons in the Canadian Football League, staring for the BC Lions. The Buccaneers then signed him heading into the 1997 season.

The Vanderbilt man would spend his first two seasons primarily on special teams. In 1999, he would win the starting outside linebacker job where he excelled, as did the team, making it to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Rams in a somewhat controversial fashion. Of course, it also helped that he was playing alongside Derrick Brooks and Hardy Nickerson in the middle of the defense.

When Nickerson departed, Quarles took over as the starting middle linebacker. All that happened that year was Quarles made his first, and only, Pro Bowl, and the Buccaneers went onto win their first Super Bowl. It would hard to say that Quarles didn’t have a hand in the renaissance of the Bucs.

Quarles is a clear number one, and with nine incoming undrafted free agents, we’re looking forward to seeing who can one day take over a spot on this list, and amaze us all by coming out of nowhere in underdog fashion.