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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Sean Farrell, Ron Heller, James Wilder, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

1982: The Booker Reese/Sean Farrell mixup

This one is almost too ridiculous to be real. It’s honestly one of the world’s great mysteries why this doesn’t get brought up enough around draft time as a cautionary tale. Perhaps because the technology and players involved are pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

So here’s the tea, and wouldn’t you know it a pass rusher is involved.

Heading into the 1982 draft, the Bucs had their sights set on Booker Reese, a raw, but athletic specimen from small predominantly black Bethune-Cookman college in Daytona Beach, Florida. Also on their board was Penn State guard Sean Farrell. They planned on taking Reese with their 17th overall pick as he was at the top of their board.

Only it didn’t happen that way.

The thing that many people don’t know about the Draft, is that the representatives that are present at the event answering the phone and handing the Commissioner the pick are random team employees. In this case, it was Buccaneers’ veteran equipment manager Pat Marcuccillo.

Then-General Manager Ken Herock instructed Marcuccillo to write down two names – Reese and Farrell, and to stay tuned. After much debate, Herock called Marcuccillo on the heavy-static phone of the early 1980’s and told him “We’re not going with Sean Farrell, we’re going with Booker Reese. Turn it in”

The problem was, due to all the background noise and static, Marcuccillo only heard parts about “going with” and “Farrell” so he turned in the pick of Farrell to then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle. Dumbfounded by what happened, and even trying to rescind the pick, the Buccaneers in a panic without a second-round pick of their own, traded their then-NFC Central division rival Bears their FIRST ROUND PICK in 1983 for the Bears’ second-round pick in 1982 to select Reese.

The irony of all of this is, Farrell was a solid starter on the offensive line, while Reese, the man they wanted in Farrell’s spot, fell out of the first round altogether, and flamed out of the NFL by 1985. This truly incredible story is worthy of this sot on the list.