|The 1978 Buccaneer draft review|
The Bucs had the first overall selection for the third straight season and became involved in a monster trade with the Houston Oilers. In return for the first choice that netted the Oilers Earl Campbell, the Bucs gained TE Jimmie Giles, Houston's first and second round picks, and then 3rd and 5th round picks in 1979.
1 - QB - Doug Williams - Grambling - Excellent pick
There is little doubt that Williams was the QB that the Bucs needed so badly. In the five seasons he spent in Tampa, Williams only missed six games, all of which came as a result of a broken jaw. Never known for his accuracy, Williams was almost impossible to sack, once going through an entire season only being downed nine times. Time has told that allowing him to bolt to the USFL was a terrible decision for the franchise, and one can only speculate how the Bucs might have performed in the W-L column through the mid 1980s with Doug at the helm.
2 - RB - Johnny Davis - Alabama - Poor pick
Drafted to serve as a blocker and full-back for Ricky Bell but never really excelled at either during three seasons in Tampa Bay. Was eventually traded to the 49ers for James Owens who was a lot more successful in the role.
2 - G - Brett Moritz - Nebraska - Terrible pick
Only played six games in his career for the Bucs having sustained a back injury during his rookie season and did not make the 1979 team at all.
3 - traded to Oakland for G Dan Medlin - OK trade
Played two seasons for the Bucs on the offensive line in a necessary trade to bring some form of offensive line experience in front of rookie Doug Williams
4 - traded to Oakland for T Jeff Winans - OK trade
Another trade with the Raiders for an offensive lineman. Played most of one season as a starter in Tampa before picking up an injury that would prove to be the end of his NFL career.
5 - traded to Miami for CB Jeris White - Great trade
Started for three seasons at cornerback for the Bucs as Tampa began its ascent to the top-ranked defense in the NFL. Went on to win a Super Bowl ring with the Redskins of Riggins and Theismann.
6 - WR - Elijah Marshall - North Carolina State - Wasted pick
Never played a down for the Buccaneers. Four-year player in college with great speed but only had 65 receptions his entire career with the Wolfpack. Had the legs but not the hands to play pro football. Never played football in the NFL at all.
7 - traded to Atlanta for PK Allan Leavitt - OK trade
The Bucs needed a kicker in 1977 and traded for Leavitt during that season. He only played one season and thanks to the pitiful offense that the Bucs had that year, managed to lead the team in scoring with a mere 20 points. Went on to a long and successful career with IBM.
8 - LB - John McGriff - Miami - Wasted pick
Never played a down for the Buccaneers - had one successful year in college recording 87 tackles and five sacks but could not repeat the performance in camp for the Bucs. Never played football in the NFL at all.
9 - WR - Willie Taylor - Pittsburgh - Wasted pick
Never played a down for the Buccaneers . Started for two seasons in college including Pitt's 1976 national championship team but did not make it out of camp in the NFL with the Bucs.
10 - LB - Aaron Brown - Ohio State - Good pick
Any time a late round pick remains on a roster for a season or two, it was a worthwhile selection and Aaron Brown played three seasons with the Bucs. Never more than a special teamer and back-up linebacker, he did go on to success in the Canadian Football League after leaving Tampa Bay.
11 - traded to Pittsburgh for Ernie Holmes - bad trade
Had played seven seasons with the Steel Curtain defense in Pittsburgh and had won two Super Bowl rings with Chuck Noll, and looked to be a steal for the Bucs when obtained in May 1978 for a 10th and 11th round picks. But there was a reason Holmes was traded and that was because he simply wasn't good enough any more. He didn't make it past camp and never played for the Bucs.
12 - RB - Kevin McLee - Georgia - Wasted pick
Never played a down for the Buccaneers - ended his college career as the Georgia Bulldogs' all-time leading rusher and was a first-team SEC in his junior year. Never played football in the NFL at all.
Summing up 1978|
The Bucs had the No.1 overall pick again but just didn't need Earl Campbell with Ricky Bell having been drafted No.1 overall the previous year. Hence the trade with the Oilers brought Doug Williams, Jimmie Giles and two high picks and probably is a good one with hindsight. But the selections of Davis and particularly Moritz with the two No.2 picks were downright terrible and drag the overall rating of this draft down to below average.