Recent inductions into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Buccaneers Ring of Honor, in addition to the emergence of some star players on Tampa Bay’s current team has prompted PewterReport.com to review the careers and rank the 25 best players in Buccaneers history. In this five-part series, PewterReport.com’s Scott Reynolds and Mark Cook analyze each Buccaneer legend and offer their own commentary on some of the most beloved players in Tampa Bay history.
Some of the rankings – and omissions – are sure to cause some controversy among Bucs fans. PewterReport.com wants to hear from you, and Bucs fans are encouraged to leave their opinions in the article comments section, on the PewterReport.com message boards
and on PewterReport.com’s Twitter page
In Monday’s installment, PewterReport.com introduces the all-time greatest Buccaneers ranked 21-25. Tuesday’s installment will feature the Bucs ranked 16-20.PewterReport.com’s All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 21-2525. Buccaneers PR Karl Williams – 1996-2003By Scott Reynolds
PewterReport.com’s 25 Greatest Buccaneers starts off with Williams, a player that might come as a surprise for some initially, especially with some more household names not making the list. Yet a close look at Williams’ production in his eight years as a Buccaneer justifies his place on this list.
Williams finished his Bucs career with 6,904 total yards, comprised of 5,205 return yards, including 2,279 punt return yards and 1,227 kick return yards, in addition to 1,700 yards on offense as a receiver. That ranks fourth in (non-quarterback) all-purpose yardage in Tampa Bay history behind James Wilder, Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn, which is pretty select company to be in. Williams is Tampa Bay’s all-time leading punt returner by nearly 800 yards and his 10.7 avg. is the highest in Bucs history among players with at least 50 punt returns. He is also the only punt returner to score more than one touchdown and he leads the franchise with five TDs.
Nicknamed “The Truth,” Williams had seven touchdowns as a receiver, including four in 1997 during Tampa Bay’s Wild Card playoff berth as he caught a career-high 33 catches for 386 yards as the team’s third-down receiver. Although most of his fame came on special teams, Williams’ tremendous production on all four downs totaled nearly 7,000 yards and secures his place among the 25 Greatest Buccaneers.SR’s Take:
“The Truth” is one of the most underrated Buccaneers of all time, and his inclusion on this list might be controversial, but when you look at the total yardage he was responsible for and his longevity and productivity as the team’s punt returner, Williams, who was a part of five playoff teams, including the Super Bowl team in 2002, deserves to make the cut.”24. Buccaneers LB Lavonte David – 2012 to current
By Scott Reynolds
Entering his third year in the NFL, David’s star power has quickly emerged as this two-year starter at weakside linebacker has amassed 284 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 14 passes broken up, eight sacks, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one safety. To put those numbers in perspective, David has recorded 72 more tackles than Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks did over that span playing weakside linebacker in Tampa Bay, in addition to 34 more tackles for loss, seven more sacks, five more interceptions and a safety.
David led the Bucs in tackles, tackles for loss and interceptions last year, and became the first linebacker in league history to record six interceptions and have five sacks in an NFL season. That elite achievement earned him All Pro status in just his second year in the league, although he got snubbed for the Pro Bowl. Getting named to the All Pro Team is more prestigious, and David became the fastest Buccaneer to receive that honor in just his second year.
David is currently ranked as the 35th-best player in the league by NFL Network and is a rising star. Despite only having played two years in Tampa Bay, David has already accomplished so much individually and is on pace for having an even more productive career than the legendary Brooks had. Those achievements, in addition to his sheer talent as one of the best modern day Buccaneers, gives him the edge over some of the name players from yesteryear like Ricky Bell or Doug Williams.SR’s Take:
“If the uber-talented David can stay healthy and re-sign with the Buccaneers, look for him to rocket up the charts in the coming years and finish somewhere in the top 10 Greatest All-Time Buccaneers if he has at least a 10-year career in Tampa Bay.”23. Buccaneers RG Davin Joseph – 2005-2013
By Scott Reynolds
Davin holds the distinction of being the best guard in Tampa Bay history, evidenced by two Pro Bowl berths, which is the most by any Bucs guard, and the fact that he joins center Tony Mayberry (three) and left tackle Donald Penn (two) as a lineman that has at least two Pro Bowl honors in pewter and red. Joseph made the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2011.
A first-round pick in 2005, Joseph became a starter during his rookie season and was considered to be one of the NFL’s most dominant run blockers when healthy. Joseph, who was a team captain for several years, made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and then received a lucrative, seven-year, $53 million contract that included a $19 million signing bonus that made him one of the league’s highest-paid guards. Aside from his accolades on the field, Joseph was one of the most charitable Buccaneers and was a great ambassador for the team in the community.
As an eight-year starter, Joseph has started more games at guard than any other Buccaneer, but unfortunately missed the entire 2012 campaign after suffering a torn meniscus and ACL in the preseason. He returned from the injury last year and started all 16 games, but was a shell of his former self. At age 31, Joseph was let go during the 2014 offseason by the new regime and signed a one-year deal with St. Louis.SR’s Take:
“One of my favorite players to interview and get to know over the years, Joseph was just as great as a person and a leader in the locker room as he was a dominant player on the field, and it’s sad to see the effects of the devastating knee injury he suffered in 2012 greatly shorten his NFL career.”22. Buccaneers DT Dave Logan – 1979-1986
By Mark Cook
The late great nose tackle didn’t generate the headlines of Lee Roy Selmon or some of the other bigger names on the Bucs defense, but make no mistake, No. 76 was a vital part of the Buccaneers first three playoff appearances (1979, 1981, 1982).
Logan, a two-time All-Pro (1983, 1984) was a quiet leader, and he and Selmon had a great on the field rapport. In the final game of the 1981 season against the Detroit Lions with the winner being crowned the NFC Central champs and the loser going home, Selmon sacked Lions quarterback Eric Hipple and Logan scooped up the loose ball returning it 21 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bucs a 20-10 fourth quarter lead and ultimately propelling them into the playoffs.
Logan played eight season for the Buccaneers and his 624 career tackles ranks 10th all-time in franchise history and his 39 sacks is still ranked fourth behind Selmon, Warren Sapp, and Simeon Rice. Logan’s four defensive touchdowns is still third behind Ronde Barber and Derrick Brooks. After his football career Logan got into the broadcast business and spent eight years teamed up with Gene Deckerhoff on the Bucs radio broadcast team. Logan died unexpectedly in 1999 of respiratory failure after suffering a blood clot in his leg that traveled to his lungs.Cook’s Take:
“Dave Logan was one of my favorite players growing up. Dave was a quiet guy but an animal on the field. He took a ton of abuse playing the 3-4 nose tackle early in his career but still was a difference maker in many games. He and Lee Roy really helped each other out making both better players. His untimely death at age 42 is still one of those things that is hard to believe. Everyone loved Dave Logan. In all my years of following the team and covering it professionally I have never heard a negative word about Dave. Just a classy guy and heck of a football player.”21. Buccaneers K Martin Gramatica – 1999-2004
By Scott Reynolds
Gramatica holds several distinctions in Tampa Bay, including the best kicker in franchise history. Gramatica has the most field goals as a Buccaneer with 137, which is 20 more than Michael Husted (117 from 1993-98), and ranks fourth in Tampa Bay history in terms of field goal accuracy (76.5 percent – 137-of-179). His 592 points are the most in franchise history, beating Husted by 90 points.
The LaBelle, Fla. native was selected in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft and was the highest-drafted kicker in team history. Nicknamed “Automatica” during his days at Kansas State, Gramatica also became a fan favorite in Tampa Bay due to his extreme celebrations after making field goals that rivaled the celebratory nature of an international soccer player after making a goal.
Gramatica’s 84.4 percent field goal percentage in 1999 ranks fifth in team history, and his 82.4 percent accuracy in 2000 ranks eighth, and he became the first and only kicker in Tampa Bay history to be named to the Pro Bowl following the 2000 season. Gramatica was a key member of the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl season in 2002 and although he only made 82.1 percent of his field goals that year, which ranked 10th in team annals, his 32 field goals set a team record for the most field goals made in a season that Matt Bryant later tied in 2008.SR’s Take:
“Gramatica had a great career in Tampa Bay before the struggles he faced during the 2003 season derailed him. If Connor Barth can bounce back from his 2013 Achilles tendon injury and have several more years in red and pewter, he could eventually overtake Gramatica’s position on this list.”July 7: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 21-25
July 8: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 16-20
July 9: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 11-15
July 10: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 6-10
July 11: PewterReport.com’s 25 All-Time Greatest Buccaneers: 1-5
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.