The 1997 Buccaneer draft review
The Bucs drafted alternately 8th, 7th and 6th through the seven rounds of this draft.
The additional 1st round pick came courtesy of the San Diego Chargers in return for
the Bucs' second round pick the previous year. The additional 4th and 7th round picks
were compensatory for the loss of free agents. The Bucs originally traded their 1st and
4th round picks to the Jets to move up two spots in the first round. They then traded that
top pick to Seattle for the 12th overall pick and an extra 3rd rounder.
DRAFT ANALYSIS - Only the middling performance from Reidel Anthony stops this being one of the best
drafts in franchise history. Starters and depth right through the first five rounds and even Al Harris was
successful elsewhere in the NFL. And of course taking of the best players in franchise history in the 3rd
round. The groundwork for the Bucs' success under Tony Dungy's reign started in this draft.
1 - RB - Warrick Dunn - Florida State
Proved that he could be a feature back despite his small stature and also turned out to be one of the best receiving backs in the NFL. Had
five excellent seasons with the Bucs including two 1,000-yard seasons and ranks second in the franchise rushing table to James Wilder after
finishing his NFL career in Tampa in 2008.
1 - WR - Reidel Anthony - Florida
Everyone expected the Bucs to draft a receiver here but the consensus was Yatil Green. He wound up playing even less than Anthony, but
at least Reidel at one good season with the Bucs. The epitomy of the Gator QB/WR under Steve Spurrier - awesome in college under his
system, nowhere near as productive in the pros.
2 - T - Jerry Wunsch - Wisconsin
Spent five seasons with the Bucs and started at right tackle for three of them but was eventually beaten out of a job by Kenyatta Walker in
camp in August 2002 and was released. Started briefly for the Seahawks after leaving Tampa.
3 - G - Frank Middleton - Arizona
Played four seasons in Tampa and started for three, providing most of the locker room quotes after the games too. Went to the Raiders in
free agency in 2001 and played against the Bucs in Super Bowl XXXVII for Oakland having mouthed off for most of the week leading up to
the game about his former team-mates.
3 - CB - Ronde Barber - Virginia
Survived a tough rookie year to become the best cornerback in franchise history, multiple Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL Hall of
Fame. Now ranks as the franchise leader in games played and starts. Clinched the Bucs' Super Bowl spot with an interception TD return
against the Eagles in the NFC Championship game.
4 - LB - Alshermond Singleton - Temple
Played six seasons for the Bucs before moving to the Cowboys in free agency in March 2003. Was a back-up for most of his time in Tampa
but started during the 2002 Super Bowl season.
5 - TE - Patrick Hape - Alabama
Used as a blocking tight end and occasional full back during four seasons in Tampa and then went on to play a similar role in Denver.
6 - CB - Al Harris - Texas A&M Kingsville
Never played a down for the Buccaneers but went on to a successful career as a nickel back for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay
6 - WR - Nigea Carter - Michigan State
Never played a down for the Buccaneers. Had been a four-year player for the Spartans and had 77 career receptions but never showed
enough in camp to make the final roster.
7 - DT - Anthony DeGrate - Stephen F Austin
Never played a down for the Buccaneers. Only played two years at college having sat out from the game for a similar period. Only played
sparingly though as a senior. Probably the only player drafted by the Bucs who already had three children by the time he arrived at camp.