How To Waste a 1st Overall Pick… (Starring the 1986 Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Image Credit: (Brian Stultz/USA Today Sports)

There are a lot of draft choices that have been made throughout NFL History. Heck, the draft has been around since 1936. There have been many draft choices that teams have wasted throughout history. But when I think of a pick that is the definition of wasted, I always point to one selection, Buccaneers selecting Bo Jackson 1st Overall in the 1986 NFL Draft.

This selection shows how much of a mess the Buccaneers were during the ownership of Hugh Culverhouse. So, I will tell you a story. A few months before the 1986 draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wanted to bring in Bo Jackson to get a physical, along with touring the facilities. Hugh Culverhouse wanted to get this done and told Bo Jackson that this trip was cleared by the NCAA. You know what the problem is, well, blatantly lied to Jackson. In fact, a rule was placed where the SEC barred athletes from being professional in one sport and amateur in another. Jackson was a senior in college playing NCAA baseball and a pretty good baseball player as well. Thus, the rules that were broken resulted in him being ineligible to compete in the senior baseball season. This understandably made Jackson angry and he clearly was never going to play for this organization, as he believed the Buccaneers tried to sabotage his baseball career. He even was quoted saying to Hugh Culverhouse’s face saying, “You draft me if you want. You’re going to waste a draft pick. I can promise you that.” So, with Jackson saying that, what do the Buccaneers do with the 1st overall pick. THEY DRAFTED HIM 1ST OVERALL!!!!!! 

Like seriously, it’s hilarious that they did this, and you want to know the best part? In negotiating for him to play in the NFL not only did they offer him a 5 year deal worth $7.6 million, but the Buccaneers (Hugh Culverhouse, especially) offered him some undeveloped land and offered a stake in TampaSphere (A project that would never be developed or built). I mean talk about desperation, am I right? This is not the only time Culverhouse offered this to players, as he tried this with QB Doug Williams during his contact holdout and, you guessed it, he said no to this as well, and became the piece that helped Washington win Superbowl XXII (22). It’s no surprise Jackson laughed all the way to the Kansas City Royals. The Buccaneers realized there was no resolution to this and forfeited his draft rights in the 1987 NFL Draft.

As for Bo Jackson, he did eventually make it in the NFL. The person to thank was AL Davis, one of the brightest NFL minds in his prime as the owner of the Raiders. So as a result of the Buccaneers rescinding his rights, Jackson was once again available to be selected in the NFL Draft. So Jackson fell to the 7th round where the Las Vegas Raiders selected him 183rd overall. Jackson at the time had low interest in playing in the NFL for obvious reasons. But, Al Davis was a very big fan of Jackson the football and baseball player and was actually all-in on Jackson playing both sports. A deal was reached and Jackson was a Raider. The funniest part was that he got a similar deal money-wise that the Buccaneers offered him years ago. Its unfortunate that Jackson would suffer his career ending hip injury and would never play football ever again as he was solid in the NFL. But, he is one of the big What if’s in NFL History.

There is one thing we can all agree on, this is probably the dumbest and most incompetent selection made by any team in NFL Draft history. That is saying a lot knowing the long history of the NFL Draft. Many will disagree with me here, but I think the Buccaneers taking Bo Jackson 1st Overall is a way worse selection than QB JaMarcus Russell was by the Oakland Raiders. Now, keep in mind I am not saying biggest bust of all time as, lets be real, Russell is the definition of biggest draft bust. But, at least he played a season for the team that drafted him. Jackson never did and this was a complete waste of a selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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