Trying to determine the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' best draft pick isn’t easy, not with three Hall of Famers from whom to choose. Defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and linebacker Derrick Brooks were all great players.
When considering how to separate one from the others, it was hard not to factor in how good the food is at Selmon’s restaurant (I mean, have you had the meatloaf?), but the eventual conclusion was that Sapp earned a slight edge.
Why Sapp is the best draft pick in Bucs history: The Bucs weren’t even supposed to have a chance at landing the former Miami standout unless they were to make a trade, but Sapp dropped because of rumors of failed drug tests that circulated the night before the 1995 draft. Sapp was expected to go in the top five but was still on the board when the Bucs picked at No. 12, and they quickly snatched him up with the first of their two first-round picks.
Sapp was a three-technique defensive tackle who had the rare mix of speed, quickness and power. He was a dominant player throughout his nine seasons in Tampa. He made seven Pro Bowls, was named AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1999, was selected first-team All-Pro four times and was voted to the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 1990s and 2000s. Sapp is second in franchise history in sacks (77.0, just 1.5 behind Selmon).
Three times Sapp recorded double-digit sacks in a season, 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: Brooks, whom the Bucs took 28th in 1995, 16 picks after Sapp, 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 NFL Defensive Player of the year in 2002. He also was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 2000s. He is the franchise’s all-time leading tackler (2,198) and second all time in franchise history in games played and started. Brooks was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Lee Roy Selmon, DE: Selmon was the No. 1 overall pick in 1976 and the first pick in Bucs history. He played nine seasons in Tampa and recorded a franchise-record 78.5 sacks. The NFL didn’t start keeping sacks as an official stat until 1982, but the Bucs went back and tracked Selmon’s sacks. He made the Pro Bowl six times and was named All-Pro in 1979. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.