1987: Drafting Vinny Testaverde number one overall
We mentioned before when the Bucs were in their “Yucks” era they desperately tried to find that one magical player that would turn everything around. The decision to draft Vinny Testaverde with the number one overall selection in the 1987 NFL Draft is the prime A1 example of this.
The thing about Testaverde is, he was a talented player, but he also benefited from a phenomenal situation in college, but a terrible one in the NFL. At the University of Miami, he was the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for “The U” that was an absolute freight train from hell that steamrolled the competition in the 1980s. The thing was, Testaverde had an incredible team around him, but his five interceptions (four to linebackers) in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl cost the Hurricanes the national title. Despite how his college career ended, the Bucs thought they had their man to take them into the future.
After blowing a perfect college situation, Testaverde stepped into a horrible NFL situation. No matter how talented, it’s almost impossible for a quarterback to carry a franchise on their back, especially one as pitiful as the Buccaneers in those days. When a young quarterback doesn’t have anyone or anything around him to make him better, his confidence collapses. That is exactly what happened to Testaverde. He never found his mojo despite playing in the NFL for what seemed like an eternity, even taking the New York Jets of all teams to the AFC Championship in 1998.
The primary reason this decision ranks this highly is because of who the Buccaneers traded away for Testaverde to replace. That quarterback that Tampa deemed a bust was future Hall of Famer Steve Young.