Who Are the Greatest First-Round Picks in Buccaneers History?

Warren Sapp

Getty Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle and Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are just two years away from celebrating the franchise’s 50th anniversary. It’s been a wild ride that’s included large stretches as arguably the worst team in the NFL along with two Super Bowl victories.

The building blocks of the greatest teams in Buccaneers’ history began in the NFL draft. Ahead of the 2024 NFL draft on April 25-27 in Detroit, here’s a look at the five greatest first-round picks in franchise history.

5. Doug Williams, QB, Grambling State (No. 17 overall, 1978)

In five seasons as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback, Doug Williams made the playoffs three times, including a spot in the NFC championship game in 1979. Williams eventually left the Buccaneers for the USFL after a contract dispute with owner Hugh Culverhouse following the 1982 season.

Williams eventually returned to the NFL with the Washington Redskins and head coach Joe Gibbs, who was Williams’ offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. Williams led the Redskins to a Super Bowl title in 1987 and was named Super Bowl MVP.

4. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (No. 7 overall, 2014)

Mike Evans set an NFL record with his 10th consecutive season with 1,000 receiving yards in 2023 and helped lead the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl title in 2021.

Evans is a two-time NFL All-Pro, five-time Pro Bowler, and No. 13 in NFL career history with 94 career touchdown receptions. When Evans’ current contract runs out following the 2025 season he will have banked $151.3 million in career earnings.

3. Lee Roy Selmon, DE, Oklahoma (No. 1 overall, 1976)

Lee Roy Selmon wasn’t just the No. 1 overall pick in the 1976 NFL draft. He was also the No. 1 overall pick in franchise history. One of three players on this list to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was a five-time NFL All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler and named to the NFL 100th Anniversary Team.

The Buccaneers were better than you might think during Selmon’s nine-year NFL career, all spent in Tampa Bay. They made the playoffs three times in four seasons from 1979 to 1982, including a spot in the NFC Championship Game in 1979, when Selmon was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Selmon died in 2011, at 56 years old.

2. Warren Sapp, DT, Miami (No. 12 overall, 1995)

Aside from Tom Brady, Warren Sapp is probably the most well-known player in Tampa Bay history. And for good reason.

The charismatic Sapp was a six-time NFL All-Pro, seven-time Pro Bowler, helped lead Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title in 2002 and was the 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He’s one of two Pro Football Hall of Famers selected by the Buccaneers in the first round of the 1995 NFL draft alongside linebacker Derrick Brooks.

1. Derrick Brooks, LB, Florida State (No. 28 overall, 1995)

Derrick Brooks played the entirety of his football career in Florida, from high school through college and the NFL — he also helped lead Florida State to the first national title in school history in 1993.

Brooks played for the Buccaneers for 14 seasons from 1995 to 2008 and was a 9-time NFL All-Pro and 11-time Pro Bowler. He helped lead Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl title in 2002, when he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Brooks was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.