By John Turney
The pickings were very slim at center, Mayberry was the top but he only started a game. A couple of the top centers began as guards. And the guards were as deep as the centers were shallow. In addition to the First- and Second-teamers in the chart the list of honorable mentions is long—Greg Roberts, 1979, Ray Snell, 1980, Davin Joseph, 2006, Jim Pyne, 1995, Aaron Sears, 2007, Patrick Omameh, 2014, Dan Buenning, 2005 and Ali Marpet, 2015 all make our list. All were starters for the majority of their rookie seasons and most made one or more of the various All-Rookie teams at the time.
Paul Gruber and Donovan Smith were both excellent as rookies and were All-Rookie Heller and Walker were, too, but didn;t rate quote as high. There were four honorable mentions at tackle: Jeremy Trueblood, 2006, Charles McRae, 1991, Donald Penn, 2007 and Steve Young, 1976. Young was a Second-team All-Rookie pick on a very poor expansion team.
Four Buccaneer quarterbacks have been named All-Rookie: Jameis Winston in 2015, Mike Glennon in 2013 and also Doug Williams in 1978 and Vinny Testaverde in 1987. Winston was edged out for Offensive Rookie of the Year by Todd Gurley but he's still the top rookie quarterback in Buc history. Glennon is the Second-team pick and Williams and Testaverde are honorable mentions.
After the four running backs in the above chart, we also want to mention Eric Rhett's All-Rookie season of 1994. he gets the lone honorable mention.
Wide receiver, however, has four honorables: Mark Carrier, 1987, Lawrence Dawsey, 1991
Kevin House, 1980, and Reidel Anthony, 1997. All but House were named All-Rookie in their respective first seasons.
Backing up the top four defensive ends are honorable mentions Regan Upshaw, 1996, Noah Spence, 2016, Chidi Ahanotu, 1993 (who also played some tackle) and Eric Curry, 1993.
The honorable mentions for defensive tackle are Warren Sapp, 1995, and Akeem Spence, 2007. Sapp was named All-Rookie but so were three of the four picks ahead of him: Santana Dotson, 1992, Lee Roy Selmon, 1976, Gerald McCoy, 2010, Mark Wheeler, 1992.
Dotson had 10 sacks as a rookie three-technique and Selmon had 5 even though he missed some time, but overall he performed well as the NFL's first three-technique in 1976. Wheeler was a shade tackle in Tampa's flop 4-3 in 1992 and he performed very well alongside Dotson. McCoy started more games than Sapp and got the edge for that reasons. Their stats were just too close.
Sidney Coleman was an All-Rookie choice in 1988 and he's the lone honorable mention behind Kwon Alexander and Mason Foster. Alexander made 93 tackles, had 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 9 passes defensed to go with his two interceptions and Mason Foster's stats were not far behind.
Lavonte David, 2012, and Hugh Green were stellar their rookie seasons as was Derrick Brooks, 1995. We went ahead and tied Lewis and Browner since it really was too close to call.
Donnie Abraham, 1996 and Ricky Reynolds, 1987 are the cornerbacks backed up by Rod Jones, 1986 and Johnthan Banks, 2013. Vernon Hargreaves, 2016, and Aqib Talib (2008) are honorable mentions.
Mark Barron, 2012. and Tanard Jackson, 2007 are the standout safeties followed by Tony Covington and Marty Carter, ( both for 1991). All-Rookie selections Craig Swoope, 1986, and Cedrick Brown, 1977 are the two backups.
Backup up the kickers are Patrick Murray, 2014, and All-Rookie Roberto Aguayo, 2016. (Yes, he was All-Rookie). The honorable mention returners are Karl Williams for 1996 and Charles Wilson for his 1990 season. John McLaughlin was an All-Rookie selection in 1999 but to us he didn't stand out as much as Shelton Quarles and Barrett Ruud.
Agree or disagree with any of the selections? Let us know in the comments section below.