Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

06 May 2014

The Most Botched NFL Draft Pick Ever

Great Don Banks longform writing from SI.com about the day in 1982 when the Tampa Bay Bucs drafted the wrong guy thanks to crappy speaker phone quality. The Bucs ended up making a trade to use another pick on the guy they wanted in the first place, and he was a complete bust. Meanwhile, the guy they took by accident became an All-Pro.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 06 May 2014

7 comments, Last at 09 May 2014, 4:47pm by jackgibbs


by mathesond :: Tue, 05/06/2014 - 4:38pm

I don't often make time to read long-form articles, but this was a very interesting read. I started paying attention to the NFL in 1990, when the Bucs were in the middle of their stretch of futility, and I felt a kind of fascination in learning how they went from 0-26, to 2 NFCCGs in 3 years, to 12 years of double digit losses.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 05/07/2014 - 12:35pm

I'm in the same boat your are (starting watching NFL in '89). To NFL fans in that era, the Buccaneers having a bad season was taken for granted, like the sun rising each morning. Gives you an idea of how shocked the NFL world was by their '97 season.

In-depth behind-the-scenes writing about dynasties are a dime a dozen. But I find the examination and study of incompetence to be more fascinating.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 05/07/2014 - 2:33pm

A lot of the futility can be credited to Hugh Culverhouse's astoundingly-questionable ownership of the team; he died in 1994, and the Glazers bought the team in early 1995. A few months later the Sapp-Brooks draft happened, so 1995 was as watershed a year as you could have in a number of ways.

by zlionsfan :: Wed, 05/07/2014 - 4:19pm

Yeah, I think the curse on that team was Culverhouse.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 05/08/2014 - 9:32am

I don't think I've ever heard the phrase "astoundingly questionable" used to describe someone/something. Instead of damning with faint praise, it's damning with polite criticism.

by RickD :: Thu, 05/08/2014 - 8:43pm

I liked that story, but I think they put a bit too much emphasis on this one particular move. Sure if they'd had a 1st round pick in 1983 they could have had Marino. And they had QB problems for years and years. But it's also true that they had both Steve Young and Vinny Testaverde in the '80s, and neither of them was developed properly.

The real message I took was not that this one pick was a disaster, but that the entire franchise was run like a busload of clowns.

by jackgibbs :: Fri, 05/09/2014 - 4:47pm

that's some sexy web design, SI. kudos