clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Buccaneer Flashback: The Worst Draft pick in Tampa Bay History - Booker Reese

As we steamroll toward the 2012 NFL draft, we take a brief look back into the annals of Buccaneer history to provide you the best and worst of the previous Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafts. These opinions are of the article's author and not intended to represent the consensus of all the staff of Buc Nation.

Throughout the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there have been just some terrible misses in the NFL draft. Many of these occurred between 1980-94 when the franchise was mired in one of the worst runs in sports history. A lot of them occurred in the 2nd or 3rd round - which is as far back in the draft as we wanted to go to consider a bust (after all, if a 5th round pick doesn't amount to much, it's not really a bust - just a waste).

Of all of these bad apples, these are the ten I feel have been the worst picks in Franchise history.

List: 10 Worst Draft picks in Buccaneers History

Previously Listed:

10. Kenyatta Walker, 1st round, pick 14, 2001

9. Dexter Jackson, WR, 2nd round, pick 27, 2008

8. Dan Sileo, DT, 3rd Round, Supplemental, 1987

7. Charles McRae, T, 1st round, pick 7, 1991

6. Rod Jones, CB, 1st Round, pick 25, 1986

5. Gaines Adams, 1st round, pick 4, 2007

4. Bo Jackson, RB, 1st Round, 1st Overall, 1986

3. Eric Curry, DE, 1st Round, pick 6, 1993

2. Keith McCants, LB, 1st round, pick 4, 1990

Player: Booker Reese

Position: DE


Draft: 2nd round, pick 5, 1982

Oh the tantalizing, amazing story of Booker Reese. First, you have the war room fiasco. Personnell director Ken Herock told the representatives at the draft to write down two names - Sean Farrell and Booker Reese. The connection along the phone line was bad, so the representative just wrote down Farrell's name. After some debate, Herock decided to pick Reese, but again the connection was bad - so all the Bucs rep heard was "turn in the card."

When the Bucs made Farrell the 17th overall selection, the entire draft room erupted in shock. Owner Hugh Culverhouse screamed angrily, "If this ever gets out of this room - you're all fired!"

The Bucs went scrambling to rectify their mistake, trading their 1983 first round draft pick to Chicago for the fourth pick of the second round to take Reese.

After the draft, Herock said, "We don't think next year's (1983) draft will produce this kind of player for us. We don't believe it's risky. We have a whole year to develop Booker and we believe he'll be Pro Bowl level. He's got great potential."

When Reese got to Tampa Bay...well, let's just say he may have scored a negative number on the Wonderlic. As one story goes, Reese took his first NFL paycheck to a car dealer and handed it to a saleman. The salesman replied, "Um, Mr. Reese - this is way too much money."

Booker replied, "Just give me the change."

The Bucs desperately tried to develop Booker but Reese couldn't beat out veteran Dave Stalls. The next season, 3rd round pick John Cannon put Booker on the bench. In his final season in Tampa Bay, the Bucs briefly moved Booker to DT while David Logan held out. As soon as Logan returned, Reese was back on the bench - now third string behind Cannon and someone named Brinson Manor.

The problem for Reese is he simply failed to understand the intricacies of the pro game. At Bethune-Cookman, he could charge the quarterback like a rhino but in the NFL you had to read what the offense was doing and react. Booker couldn't do that. As the pressure mounted on him to produce as "The next Lee Roy", Reese developed a cocaine habit.

Reese would eventually be traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 1984 for a 12th round draft choice.

Oh that first round pick that went to the Bears? They selected Willie Gault. Also on the board when Gault was selected were six time Pro Bowl safety Joey Browner as well as Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Darrell Green.

Herock would be fired that year after head coach John McKay pointed the finger at him for the Reese shibacle.

Booker is without question the worst draft choice in Tampa Bay Buccaneer history.