TAMPA -- When it comes to picking the best draft class in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history, there’s really only one that stands out above the others.
You’d expect that when the first two picks went on to become two of the best players in franchise history and lead the team to its only Super Bowl championship -- and eventually become Pro Football Hall of Famers.
Here is a closer look at the Bucs’ 1995 draft class:
Warren Sapp, DT, Miami, first round, 12th overall: Sapp was expected to be a top-five draft pick, but rumors of failed drug tests at Miami the night before the draft caused him to slip, and the Bucs snatched him with their first first-round pick. Sapp went on to make seven Pro Bowls, was named AP Defensive Player of the Year in 1999, was named first-team All-Pro four times and was voted to the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 1990s and 2000s. He is second in franchise history in sacks (77, just 1.5 behind all-time leader Lee Roy Selmon). He recorded double-digit sacks in three seasons, which is amazing for a defensive tackle, and he had a career-high and franchise-record 16.5 in 2000. Sapp was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
Derrick Brooks, LB, Florida State, first round, 28th overall: Brooks was one of the league’s best players throughout his career. He made 11 Pro Bowls, was a five-time first-team All-Pro and was named AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2002. He was also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 2000s. He is the franchise’s all-time leading tackler (2,198) and is second in franchise history in games played and started. Brooks, Sapp and Selmon are the only players in franchise history to have their jersey numbers retired. Brooks was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Next-best Buccaneers draft class: The Bucs took running back Warrick Dunn with the 12th overall pick and then picked up cornerback Ronde Barber in the third round (66th overall). Dunn played six seasons in Tampa and ranks third in franchise history in rushing (4,986 yards) and receptions (306). He also made three Pro Bowls. Barber is the Bucs’ all-time leader in interceptions (47), as well as games played and started. He was a three-time first-team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl five times.