Bucs have busted their way through most drafts

by Gary Shelton on April 27, 2016 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Wednesday, 6 a.m.

Most busts are defined by expectations. In the end, that is all that remains.

It isn't what a bust does. It isn't even what he fails to do. It's what the franchise needed for him to do, and in the waste, all that remains is disappointment.

There are no busts in the sixth round. None in the seventh. A bust carries the weight of promise. He walks into the room, and the team hands him a large contract, and the fans fawn over him. A bust, initially, is supposed to change things, not just be the latest disappointment in a series.

A bust leaves them wondering what happened to the potential. A bust is supposed to lead the journey, not just be the latest flat tire.

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A bust lacks something Desire. Ability. Discipline. A bust might not be able to handle wealth. “I'm convinced that 90 percent of busts come from the neck up,” is the way general manager Jason Licht puts it.

Few teams know better than the Bucs about busts. Hey, this doesn't even count the squandered picks spent in trades for Wally Chambers, Jack Thompson, Chris Chandler or the wasted pick of Bo Jackson.

Here, then, are the top 20 in team history.

1. Booker Reese (1982): The Bucs wanted Reese, who they saw as the next Lee Roy Selmon badly in 1982. But they botched the draft pick, taking Sean Farrell instead. So they traded their No. 1 for the next year for Reese, who had only two sacks for the Bucs before being cut. And that No. 1 draft pick they traded away? In a year they needed a quarterback, it could have been Dan Marino. Perhaps the most mangled draft pick of all time.

2. Charles McRae (1991): Problem was, McRae didn't particularly like playing football when he joined the Bucs as a No. 1 pick from Tennessee. In the end, he was just another guy on his way to being forgotten

3. Eric Curry (1993): Curry played for the Bucs for parts of five seasons. He left with all of 12 sacks, and five of those came when he was a rookie.

4. Keith McCants (1990): Poor Keith. He once debated me on the radio that he wasn't a bust. Three years and 12 sacks argues the other way. The Bucs thought they were drafting a guy who could play end or linebacker. Turns out, he could play neither.

5. Ray Snell (1980): He started only 35 games in four years. Just another guy.

6. Josh Freeman (2009): Only two decent years keep Freeman from being higher on this list. Freeman? He'll take a nap now. On the other hand, those two years tell you what kind of talent Freeman wasted.

7. Dexter Jackson (2008): He'd be higher except that he was only a second-round pick. Still, he was a wide receiver taken in a position of need...and he never caught a pass.

8. Gaines Adams (2007): He lasted only three years, and he had only 13 ½ sacks. Never a chance at greatness.

9. Rod Jones (1986): You don't get the nickname “Toast'' because so many people admire your play.

10. Mark Barron (2012): Even John Lynch thought Barron could be the next John Lynch. Instead, he was a big, slow safety who didn't make plays.

11. Kenyatta Walker (2001): When you consider how highly the Bucs thought of Walker when they traded up for him, and how he played his way out of left tackle, then you can want more. Still, Walker did start in a Super Bowl.

12. Keith Browner (1984): Browner, a second-round pick, started only 28 games in his three years. He had two interceptions.

13. Brian Price (2010): Lasted only two seasons with the Bucs and had only three sacks.

14. Jimmy Dubose (1976): The second overall pick of the franchise, DuBose had only 704 yards. In three years.

15. Demetrius DuBose (1993): DuBose looked like an all-world linebacker. As it turns out, it was the wrong world. DuBose never made it click.

16. Gordon Jones (1979): Jones started only 26 games in four seasons for Tampa Bay. He caught only 86 passes. Far too little impact for a second-round pick.

17. Sabby Piscatelli (2007): Can't you still envision Piscatelli missing a tackle? Can't you see him chasing a receiver across the goal? Can't you feel your stomach twisting all over again?

18. Lars Tate (1988): Tate never had more than 600 yards in a season and never averaged more than 3.8 yards per carry.

19. Da'Quan Bowers (2011): Bowers had been talked about as possibly the overall No. 1 draft pick, so there were high expectations despite his second round fall. Turns out, the NFL knew all along.

20. Vinny Testaverde (1987). Testeraverde ended up having a long career in the NFL, which lowers him on the list. For the Bucs, however, he was disappointing with 48 losses (two of every three starts) and 112 interceptions. Also, don't forget the team spent the overall No. 1 in 1987 for Testaverde, then traded overall No. 2 pick five years later to bring in a quarterback to split time with him.

Dishonorable mention: Greg Roberts (1979), Johnny Davis (1978), Jackie Walker (1986),  Don Smith (1987), Danny Peebles (1989) and Robert Wilson (1991)

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