Remembering When the Buccaneers Picked the Wrong Player in the 1982 NFL Draft

Remembering when the Buccaneers accidentally selected Sean Farrell instead of Booker Reese in the 1982 NFL Draft.
Remembering when the Buccaneers accidentally selected Sean Farrell instead of Booker Reese in the 1982 NFL Draft. | Focus On Sport/Getty Images

This year's NFL Draft will have a bit of an old-school feel. Instead of the extravagant public events like we've seen in Nashville and Philadelphia, the NFL will host the draft virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, we could get a repeat of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' draft blunder back in 1982.

The Buccaneers held the 17th overall pick, and were torn between Bethune-Cookman defensive end Booker Reese and Penn State offensive guard Sean Farrell. So much so, Buccaneers personnel director Ken Herock told team representatives to write down both names on a card. However, the phone connection was so bad, the individual only heard Farrell's name. Once Herock told the rep to turn in the card, he was stunned to hear Farrell's name announced...because he actually made up his mind to pick Reese.

If you thought that was crazy, brace yourselves...

Herock was such a fan of Reese, that he traded Tampa Bay's 1983 first-round selection to the Chicago Bears to move up in the second-round to take him! Yet, it was known amongst many in the league that the 1983 draft class had players much more talented than Reese. But Herock was so confident in Reese's abilities, that he was willing to take the risk.

And boy, did that ever prove to be a risk. Reese was an absolute bust in the NFL. He lasted a little over two seasons with the Buccaneers, where he tallied just two sacks and two interceptions. Reese was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 1984 in exchange for a 12th-round draft pick, and Herock was fired at the end of that season. Yikes.

As for Farrell, he turned out to be a quality guard at the NFL level, but his talent was wasted on awful Buccaneers teams. Additionally, the draft pick the Bears acquired from the Buccaneers allowed them to take wide receiver Willie Gault. If Tampa had never made that trade, they would've had the opportunity to select the likes of Dan Marino, Darrell Green, or Joey Browner.

Will NFL fans see a Booker Reese/Sean Farrell-type incident in 2020? Who knows, but NFL teams better hope their internet connections are strong on draft night.