DURING THE INFANCY of the televised version of the NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off one of the biggest blunders in draft history and then went on to make matters a thousand times worse.
The Bucs had the 17th pick in the 1982 draft and had fallen in love with defensive end Booker Reese, 6-6, 260-pound defensive end from Bethune-Cookman.
Pat Marcuccillo, the Bucs' equipment manager, was given the task of relaying the pick to commissioner Pete Rozelle. According to Ken Herock, the Bucs' director of player personnel, he gave two names to Marcuccillo: Sean Farrell and Booker Reese. In all the confusion and all the background noise being generated by New York Giants fans, whose team had the 18th pick, Marcuccillo, on ther phone, thought he heard "Farrell" and went with it.
The Tampa Bay brass was just as surprised with the pick as Farrell, the star offensive lineman out of Penn State, was. He had been told earlier in the day by Bucs line coach Bill "Tiger" Johnson that the team was going in another direction.
You would figure that Tampa would be satisfied with Farrell, lick its wounds, and make the best of it. Wrong!
With Reese still there in the second round, and without a second-round pick, Tampa Bay traded its 1983 first-round pick for Reese.
As you might recall, 1983 was the great quarterback class and the Bucs would lose star quarterback Doug Williams in a salary dispute to the USFL in between drafts. So instead of a shot at Dan Marino, they had no pick and were stuck with Reese.
Farrell appeared in four Pro Bowls. Reese played just 4 years total, with two sacks and two interceptions. He was traded to the Rams in 1984 for a 12th-round pick and was out of the NFL by 1985, having been released by the 49ers after a second failed drug test.
And in 1983, we thought Michael Haddix was a bad pick. Could have been worse.