The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a lot of first overall picks over the years. Five, to be precise, with three of those coming in the 1980s. And while those picks were mostly made when the Bucs were terrible and none of them really solved their problems, none of them ranked as the worst players to be drafted first overall, either.
At least, not if we can go by Elliott Harrison’s NFL.com list. In fact, the lowest-ranked first overall pick by the Bucs is....Jameis Winston at number 35. Mostly because he has many more years to climb the ladder (or fall down, but hopefully not that).
Beyond that it gets somewhat interesting. 1977 first overall pick Ricky Bell is listed 32nd overall. Bell had just one good season with the Bucs, so that’s fair, but it’s also somewhat tragic given that he had a chronic illness that severely limited him in the NFL and would eventually take his life.
Bo Jackson, who the Bucs picked first overall in 1986, is ranked 29th overall—which is fair for his production, none of which came with the Bucs. Because Jackson refused to play for Tampa Bay, in retaliation for Hugh Culverhouse, strong contender for the title of Worst NFL Owner Ever, ended Jackson’s college baseball career with some shenanigans.
Number 22, then: Vinny Testaverde, famous for being colorblinded and throwing 35 interceptions in a single season with the Bucs. Testaverde played until he was 44 and had some pretty good years for some pretty good teams. Just not with the Bucs.
Finally, there’s Lee Roy Selmon. Ranked ninth overall, which is not quite high enough if you ask me. The late Selmon is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and remains the most dominant defensive lineman I’ve ever seen play (possible exception: J.J. Watt). Just an amazing player.
One player missing here: Steve Young, who the Bucs picked first overall in the 1984 supplemental draft which brought USFL players into the NFL. And then he was terrible with the Bucs, got traded to the San Francisco 49ers and turned into a Hall of Famer. Oops.
This is not the worst list of first overall picks, to be honest. The Browns have a much worse list (Courtney Brown and Tim Couch), for instance. That list would look a whole lot better if Jameis Winston continued to play and improve, the way he has been so far. So let’s hope that happens.