Each Thursday, the Bucs historian himself, Paul Stewart of BucPower.com gives us a history lesson on your Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thanks to Paul and be sure to check out BucPower.com and learn about your team, it’s history and what makes us all fans – welcome to ThrowBuc Thursdays!
When it comes to great Buccaneer drafts, most Tampa Bay fans turn to the 1995 selections and proudly toast the choices of Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks in the first round. And well they should as two of the best four players in franchise history arrived in the space of a couple of hours. But the rest of the draft was a disaster and there are some interesting stories behind the two great picks.
The Bucs went into the draft with the seventh overall selection and Sam Wyche no longer in total control of the process. GM Rich McKay and Director of Player Personnel Jerry Angelo had put a new scouting system in place following years of draft pick disasters. “With Sam, it was a case of watching a little film and saying ‘yep that’s our guy’. That was not good enough so we had to change” said McKay in Pete Williams’ excellent book “The Draft”.
Then combine workout warrior Mike Mamula shot up the draft boards (spot on again eh Mel Kiper) and the Eagles wanted him thereby offering the Bucs the 12th overall pick and two-second rounders for Tampa’s 1st and 3rd choices. Rumors of Warren Sapp and drug issues at college saw his stock fall leaving him available for the Bucs to choose five picks later when the Vikings passed and took Derrick Alexander instead.
Then the Bucs traded those two-second rounders to the Cowboys for the 28th overall pick and took an under-sized LB from Florida State – Derrick Brooks. McKay and Angelo remember sitting on the porch at the old One Buc Place with cigars thinking the fortunes of the franchise had turned around.
The rest of the draft – just terrible though. S Melvin Johnson started for two years in the secondary and was then traded to Kansas City having under-performed throughout his Buc career. 4th round CB Jerry Wilson never made the roster and three of the later picks, Clifton Abraham, Wardell Rouse and Stephen Ingram were nothing more than afterthoughts on the roster.
So 1995 was a success in terms of the top two selections and great ones they were but the cards fell into place for the Buccaneers to make it happen and the rest of the hand was a total flop.