Dave Ford

The Top Five Biggest Busts In Bucs History

Created on Jun. 07, 2013 9:55 PM EST

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a checkered history filled mostly with losing, disappointment, some near misses and a few terrible head coaches. But about the same time the franchise decided to reinvent its color scheme and helmet logo in 1997, things began to turn around for the famed lovable losers.

Long before they finally hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in 2003 on the strength of a defense built meticulously through the NFL draft, the Bucs and their fans suffered for many years with high picks that transferred to low output on the field. Coinciding with the summer heat Tampa fans are more than familiar with, here are the five biggest draft busts in Buccaneer history that made pirate loyalists sweat profusely.

1.       Charles McCrae/OT/Tennessee: The mammoth 6-7, 305-pound offensive lineman was selected in 1991 with the seventh pick of the first round. He played in just 36 games for the Bucs before heading to Oakland for the 1996 season, his last in the NFL.

2.       Keith McCants/LB/DE/Alabama: A linebacker ahead of his time standing 6-3 and weighing in at 260 pounds, the much-heralded defender from Alabama was taken with the fourth overall pick of the 1990 draft. He lasted just three seasons with the Bucs and finished his career with 184 tackles, 13.5 sacks and two touchdowns.

3.       Vinny Testaverde/QB/Miami: The 1986 Heisman Trophy winner was chosen first overall by the Bucs in 1987, which turned out to be the first and only time fans and the media alike were optimistic about the future. The once glorified college superstar threw 35 picks to just 13 TDs as a rookie. The pseudo savior endured six tumultuous seasons under relentless scrutiny tied to color blindness and turf toe.

4.       Broderick Thomas/DE/LB/Nebraska: The big and fast defender out of Nebraska was the epitome of wasted draft picks for the franchise heading into the 1990s. Taken with the sixth pick of the first round, Thomas enjoyed his best production with Dallas at the end of his career. Somehow, he was voted as the 36th greatest Buc of all-time.

5.       Jacquez Green/WR/Florida: The diminutive speedster out of Florida was hyped as the franchise’s first player who would field a kickoff and return it for a touchdown. That never happened. Green was selected in 1998 with the 34th overall pick in the second round and played a small role for the team until 2001. In total, he played in just 66 games for three teams, caught 162 balls for 2,311 yards, scored seven TDs and racked up 832 punt return yards.

While the NFL draft is never a guarantee to build a winner, much less a champion, it remains the most important tool on the road to the Super Bowl. Just ask future Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, the man who constructed the Tampa Bay defense with the formidable likes of Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, future Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and Ronde Barber.

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