Each Thursday, the Bucs historian himself, Paul Stewart of BucPower.com gives us a history lesson on your Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thanks to Paul and be sure to check out BucPower.com and learn about your team, it’s history and what makes us all fans!
A lot has been made going into the 2018 draft of the Cleveland Browns having two picks in the first round and then three in the second. The Patriots also have a pair of picks in both rounds but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can speak from example that this does not necessarily mean a huge haul of young talent for your team. Case in point, the 1986 season.
The Bucs had the first overall pick thanks to their disastrous 2-14 season in 1985 and the 25th selection following a trade with the Dolphins for LB Hugh Green. This deal also brought them the 40th pick to go along with their own first selection in the 2nd round. Four of the first 40 picks – surely Leeman Bennett and the Buccaneer front office could not screw this up…..
Of course the first selection was Bo Jackson. The stories about Hugh Culverhouse ruining Bo’s college eligibility are well known but Steve Young tells an interesting story about how the three of them had dinner in Tampa where the then-Bucs QB was being employed to sell the benefits of playing for the Bucs. Culverhouse excused himself to take a phone call and Bo turned to Steve and simply said “I am never coming here to play. I’m going to play baseball”. Of course he was not joking.
CB Rod Jones was the other first round pick and no Buccaneer defensive back has ever been held in such low regard as “Toast” was during his years in Tampa. LB Jackie Walker was the 28th overall pick and was such a disaster on defense that he was switched to third-string TE for his final year in Tampa in 1989. LB Kevin Murphy was a passable pick with the additional 2nd round selection.
After that, the disasters continued. S Craig Swoope, T JD Maarleveld and CB Kevin Walker did little to impress on a poor roster and only 9th round P Tommy Barnhardt went on to any modicum of success although it was nearly a decade before he wound up playing for the Buccaneers.
Most of the trades were unsuccessful too although S David Greenwood (3rd round with the Saints) has an excuse in that he had played an entire USFL season before taking on a full 16-game schedule with the Bucs.