Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Joe Smith and Greg Auman

The best and worst of No. 3 in the NFL draft

13

April

Unless something very unexpected occurs, the Bucs will be making the third pick in the NFL draft just more than a week from now.

If we look to history, it tells us they'll probably get a very productive player. There have been only a handful of failures at No. 3, though those misses include some doozies.

We went back 20 years to look at some of the highs and lows at No. 3. Among the best picks are Barry Sanders in 1989 (Oklahoma State), Steve McNair in 1995 (Alcorn State), Andre Johnson in 2003 (Miami, Fla.) and Larry Fitzgerald in 2004 (Pittsburgh).

Now, let's take a look at some of the more infamous third overall picks. They include Andre Wadsworth in 1998, a Florida State defensive end who played just three seasons before injuries got the best of him. Also a third overall pick was Oregon quarterback Akili Smith, a colossal failure who had a brief four-year career with the Bengals and finished with a 52.8 quarterback rating with five touchdowns and 13 interceptions. And another bust was Nebraska's Bruce Pickens in 1991, a cornerback who had a measly two interceptions in four seasons.

For the Bucs' sakes, they need to wind up with a player who better fits the previous category than the latter. But based on what has happened in the past, it's pretty hard to screw up this pick. Time will tell what happens this time around.

Just for kicks, let's take a look back at the past 20 No. 3 picks:

2009: DE Tyson Jackson, LSU, Chiefs

2008: QB Matt Ryan, Boston College, Falcons

2007: OT Joe Thomas, Wisconsin, Browns

2006: QB Vince Young, Texas, Titans

2005: WR Braylon Edwards, Michigan, Browns

2004: WR Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh, Cardinals

2003: WR Andre Johnson, Miami, Texans

2002: QB Joey Harrington, Oregon, Lions

2001: DT Gerard Warren, Florida, Browns

2000: OT Chris Samuels, Alabama, Redskins

1999: QB Akili Smith, Oregon, Bengals

1998: DE Andre Wadsworth, Florida State, Cardinals

1997: CB Shawn Springs, Ohio State, Seahawks

1996: DE Simeon Rice, Illinois, Cardinals

1995: QB Steve McNair, Alcorn State, Oilers

1994: QB Heath Shuler, Tennessee, Redskins

1993: RB Garrison Hearst, Georgia, Cardinals

1992: DT Sean Gilbert, Pittsburgh, Rams

1991: CB Bruce Pickens, Nebraska, Falcons

1990: DT Cortez Kennedy, Miami, Seahawks

1989: RB Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State, Lions

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:58pm]

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