Back to the future with Buccaneer’s drafting of quarterbacks


Several excellent articles have been recently published on cover32 regarding the Quarterback position for the Buccaneers. With the seventh pick in the first round, the Bucs might have one of the “Top 3” quarterbacks available to them. Since I have followed the Bucs since their very first draft, I’d like to take this opportunity to share a little Buccaneer quarterback drafting history.

Do you remember the first quarterback drafted by Tampa Bay in 1976? How many quarterbacks have the Bucs drafted in the first round? How have the Bucs’ first round quarterback picks panned out? Who was the best quarterback ever drafted by the Buccaneers? Of these 20 quarterbacks who had the best season as a rookie?

Since the Bucs’ inaugural 1976 NFL Draft, 20 quarterbacks have been selected. The first was Parnell Dickinson from Mississippi Valley State with the 183rd pick in the seventh round. Dickinson lasted one season with Tampa Bay and the NFL with one start. He threw one touchdown pass and five interceptions.

The Bucs drafted a quarterback in the first round only four times. Doug Williams from Grambling selected with the 17th pick in 1978, Vinny Testeverde out of Miami selected number one overall in 1987, Trent Dilfer from Fresno State was selected with the sixth pick in 1994 and Josh Freeman, the Kansas State product selected with the 17th pick in 2009. Williams was a key contributor to the Bucs short lived rise out of the NFL basement lasting 5 seasons before moving on the Super Bowl glory with the Washington Redskins. Testeverde lasted six seasons with the Bucs but demonstrated great durability playing in 21 NFL seasons. Dilfer also lasted six seasons in Tampa Bay. He never played well enough to lead the Bucs to the next level but did lead the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl victory his first season away from the Big Sombrero. Freeman lasted five seasons with Tampa Bay until Greg Schiano ignominiously released him last season. Of these first round draft picks, only Doug Williams led the Bucs as far as a NFC Title Game losing to the Los Angeles Rams in 1979. Testeverde still holds the Bucs all-time passing yardage record with 14,820 yards.

In the Supplemental draft of 1984, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted their best quarterback by far. The Bucs never knew what they had in him by trading him two seasons later to the San Francisco 49ers for a second and fourth round pick to make room for their recently signed number one pick Vinny Testeverde. So the Bucs got Vinny and the 49ers got Steve Young. Hall of Fame, Super Bowl champion Steve Young.

In terms of accomplishment, the finest season by a rookie quarterback in a Bucs uniform goes to Shaun King. As a rookie, he led the defensively loaded Bucs to the NFC Title game against the St. Louis Rams. The Bucs lost 11-6 to the high powered Rams despite an epic defensive performance. In terms of performance, the finest season by a Tampa Bay rookie quarterback was Mike Glennon last year. In 13 games last season, Glennon’s 247 completions in 416 attempts with a 59.4 completion percentage for 2608 yards and 19 touchdown passes along with 9 interceptions for an 83.9 quarterback rating is now the standard for Bucs rookie quarterbacks.

Tampa Bay has never drafted a franchise quarterback who lasted long enough to make a lasting contribution to consistent winning. After 38 seasons in the NFL, the next franchise quarterback drafted by Tampa Bay will be their first.

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