What is a bust? We judge a player a bust by their lack of production on the field and, in some cases, lack of even showing up. We’re not hating on anyone, but you’ve got to admit these players didn’t exactly work out the way the team or fans wanted… with all that in mind, here’s our top 5 biggest busts in Tampa Bay Buccaneer history!
5. Vinny Testaverde, QB (1987, 1st rd, 1st overall)
Vinny Testaverde amassed 77 TDs and 112 INT in six seasons with the Bucs. His worst seasons with the team included a 35 INT campaign in 1988 and a 22 INT season 1989. While you have to give him some credit for surviving in the NFL until 2007, his time playing in Tampa Bay was dismal. The word “bust” might be harsh given the talent Testaverde was surrounded with, but he never became the symbol of a Bucs turnaround fans thought was on the horizon.
4. Keith McCants, LB (1990, 1st rd, 4th overall)
McCants was drafted at LB but his time in the position was short-lived. After starting only four games as a rookie, he was converted to a DE before the 1991 season. McCants struggled in the NFL after a standout college sareeer. In 3 seasons with Tampa Bay, he finished with 156 tackles and 12 sacks. He would become a journeyman before his NFL career faded out following the 1995 season. In one of the biggest ‘could have’ twists of fate, the folly of taking of McCants 4th overall (Alabama) in 1990 was compounded by the fact that Junior Seau was selected by the San Diego Chargers one pick later… Bucs fans were not happy.
3. Gaines Adams, DE, (2007, 1st rd, 4th OVERALL)
Gaines Adams was projected to be a nightmare for opposing QBs, but he wound up a mere disappointment for the Bucs fans. Adams totaled a mere 6 sacks as a rookie, and then only accumulate a combined 7.5 sacks over the rest of his NFL career (including part of the 2009 season with the Chicago Bears), which came to an end tragically when he died of cardiac arrest at the young age of 26 in January, 2010.
2. Dexter Jackson, WR, (2008, 2nd rd, 58th overall)
What if the Bucs had drafted DeSean Jackson in 2008? They could have, but instead they wound up with Dexter Jackson, who made little to no impact in his one season with them. Tampa Bay traded down with the Jaguars in the second round of 2008’s draft, only to see the Eagles land eventual pro-bowler DeSean Jackson. Dexter Jackson, meanwhile, had 20 punt returns for 97 yards and 14 kick returns for 327 yards. He had no catches all season while fans and coaches alike criticized the young WR from Appalachian State for playing scared and he was cut by the team before the next season.
1. Bo Jackson, RB (1986, 1st rd, 1st overall)
The Bucs made Heisman Trophy winner Jackson picked between football and baseball. In the end, Jackson chose baseball, basically because after a trip to Tampa on team owner Hugh Culverhouse’s airplane, the NCAA ruled Jackson ineligible for the rest of his college baseball career at Auburn.
Jackson told the Bucs not to pick him, but they did it anyway and in the end, he stuck to his guns and refused to sign with Tampa Bay. He waited a year to enter the NFL, where he was selected 183rd overall in the 1987 draft by the Raiders. Jackson rocketed to stardom as a two-sport athlete and media darling… not exactly what the Bucs in had in mind when they selected him.
A great player in his brief career with the Raiders, we rate Jackson the biggest bust in Bucs history – simply because he never reported for duty!