Yardbarker Horiz

2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Barber Outlasts Classmates

With the signing of Ronde Barber, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Class of 1997 appears to have reached "Sole Survivor" status.  And what a class it has been.

Of the ten players selected in 1997, eight went on to have solid NFL careers of five or more seasons:
  • 3rd Rounder Ronde Barber - 14 Seasons (all with Tampa Bay)
  • 6th Rounder Al Harris - 13 Seasons (7 with Green Bay, 5 with Philadelphia, 1 with Miami)
  • 1st Rounder Warrick Dunn - 12 Seasons (6 with Tampa Bay, 6 with Atlanta)
  • 4th Rounder Alshermond Singleton - 10 Seasons (6 with Tampa Bay, 4 with Dallas)
  • 2nd Rounder Jerry Wunsch - 9 Seasons (5 with Tampa Bay, 4 with Seattle)
  • 3rd Rounder Frank Middleton - 8 Seasons (4 with Tampa Bay, 4 with Oakland)
  • 5th Rounder Patrick Hape - 8 Seasons (4 with Tampa Bay, 4 with Denver)
  • 1st Rounder Reidel Anthony - 5 Seasons (all with Tampa Bay)

Nigea Carter and Anthony DeGrate, also drafted by Tampa Bay in 1997, failed to make the team.

Is there a more impressive group of draft picks?  Currently, only the 1987 Draft Class is the only draft class in the history of Buccaneer football which has played more games in a Tampa Bay Buccaneer uniform.  Yet only Barber and Singleton won SuperBowl rings with the Buccaneers.

Al Harris, one of the all time "one that got away" stories in Buccaneer Draft history, may have just completed his carrer this past season.  After being cut by the Green Bay Packers, Harris landed with Miami last season.  However, as of today, he is not shown on the Dolphins offseason roster.  Imagine the decade the Harris and Barber tandem would have posted if Harris had remained a Buccaneer.

With the impending retirement of Harris, Ronde Barber has now established yet another milestone in his carrer.  As the Last Man Playing for one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all-time draft classes, Barber continues to highlight one of the most amazing careers in Tampa Bay history.

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