Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Top 10 Draft Mistakes in team history

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Bo Jackson, University of Auburn Tigers (Photo by Damien Strohmeyer/Allsport/Getty Images) /

1986: The Bo Jackson debacle

Nothing like having your first overall pick not play a snap for you, only to take over the world (for a short time) with another team with a pirate mascot.

Bo Jackson is arguably the greatest athlete to ever walk the Earth. Leading up to the 1986 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers had the first overall pick after yet another putrid season. Jackson and his unofficial 4.13 40-yard dash time, was seen as that year’s draft prize, a freak athlete and former Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn. The crazy thing was, his passion was baseball, and played football as more of an offseason hobby.

As the story goes, during Jackson’s senior baseball season at Auburn, Bucs miser of an owner Hugh Culverhouse sent his private jet to Auburn to bring Jackson to Tampa for a pre-draft meeting. Culverhouse and the Buccaneers and allegedly assured Jackson that they had checked with the NCAA and that Jackson’s visit, and trip on a private plane, was not in violation of any NCAA rules. Upon returning to Auburn, Jackson was warming up for a game when his coach let him know that he was no longer eligible to play baseball and the Buccaneers lied.

Jackson was already having reservations about becoming a Buc, being warned that they’d run him into the ground, so this was the straw that broke the pirate’s ship. Jackson decided not to play at all in 1986, as the Buccaneers wasted the number one pick in the draft.

Jackson’s NFL eligibility would renew the following season when he would join the-then Los Angeles Raiders and show flashes of brilliance before a career-ending hip injury in a playoff game against the Bengals ended his NFL career, and severely crippled his baseball one. Bo knows what he wants, and it was never the Buccaneers. If only they knew that, or simply acted different. We explore that possibility here.

Thankfully, the Buccaneers almost slapstick history of drafting is seemingly a thing of the past, as Buccaneers fans can rest easy this upcoming draft knowing their team has the pieces in place for multiple Super Bowls, a position they’d never thought they’d be in whilst these aforementioned draft day mistakes were made.