3 Greatest Running Backs in Buccaneers History

By michael obermuller
Mike Alstott is among the players that make up the greatest three Bucs running backs of all-time.
Mike Alstott is among the players that make up the greatest three Bucs running backs of all-time. / Robert Laberge/Getty Images
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won a single Super Bowl since their inaugural NFL season back in 1976. And over their franchise's history, they have not had a surplus of dynamic running backs.

In fact, they are still looking for their long-term running back right now, with Ronald Jones II and Ke'Shawn Vaughn competing for the starting job in 2020. With that in mind, here are the three greatest Bucs running backs of all-time.

Best Buccaneers RBs of All-Time

3. James Wilder Sr. (1981-89)

James Wilder played RB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1981-89.
James Wilder played RB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1981-89. / Focus On Sport/Getty Images

On some lists, James Wilder Sr. may rank first, but the 1980s running back was more of an accumulator for Tampa than a superstar. He does hold the franchise record for total rushing yards (5,957), along with 3,492 receiving yards show for, but he is not necessarily the most accomplished Bucs rusher beyond total yardage. With only 37 rushing touchdowns and 52.7 rushing yards per game (plus an ugly 44 fumbles), Wilder was good but not great. Wilder had one Pro Bowl season in 1984, which is the same year he also earned his lone Second-Team All-Pro recognition.

2. Warrick Dunn (1997-2001, 2008)

Warrick Dunn could have been number one if he stayed with the Buccaneers.
Warrick Dunn could have been number one if he stayed with the Buccaneers. / Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Warrick Dunn started his career with Tampa Bay before joining the Atlanta Falcons for most of the latter half of his NFL career. He eventually did return to retire as a Buccaneer after the 2008 season, but his best days in Tampa were his early ones. Dunn won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1997, plus two of his Pro Bowl appearance came as a Buccaneer. He had slightly more rushing yards per game than Wilder (54.8) and almost the same amount of influence in the passing game. Dunn did have fewer total touchdowns, but was also more reliable with the rock, fumbling only 11 times. If Dunn had stayed with the Buccaneers for his entire career, he would almost certainly hold the franchise rushing record, but instead, he ranks third on that list.

1. Mike Alstott (1996-2006)

Mike Alstott may have been a fullback, but his influence was greater than any Bucs running back.
Mike Alstott may have been a fullback, but his influence was greater than any Bucs running back. / Michael J. Minardi/Getty Images

The fullback Mike Alstott is actually the most accomplished running back in Tampa Bay history. Despite his job's nature of being more of a blocker, Alstott ranks second in Tampa Bay's total rushing yards (5,088) and first in rushing touchdowns (58) by quite a margin. Alstott was key to his team's success, making six Pro Bowls as a career-Buccaneer with three First-Team All-Pro recognitions. He was a big part of the Bucs' Super Bowl XXXVII Champion roster in 2002, and he also helped open holes for Warrick Dunn while he was in Tampa. Alstott is now a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor, and he should be considered the greatest Bucs back of all-time.


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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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