The 1977 Buccaneer draft review
By going winless in their expansion season, the Bucs wound up with the first overall selection for the second straight year. Additional 6th and 9th round picks were
gained from the Raiders for S Cedric Brown and the 6th was then sent to Oakland as part of the Mike Rae trade. The additional 10th round pick came from trading G
John Miller to the San Francisco 49ers in January 1977. The 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th round picks were traded as detailed below.
DRAFT ANALYSIS: Any review of this draft is going to weigh up whether the Bucs should have taken Tony Dorsett over Ricky Bell with the first overall selection.
For John McKay, it was a no-brainer as Bell had been his tailback at USC. Whether Dorsett would have been as successful with the Bucs as he was with the
Cowboys will of course remain a mystery. Lewis and Hannah were great selections and the trade for Richard Wood was simply outstanding. GRADE: B
Click here to review every pick made in the 1977 NFL draft
1 - RB - Ricky Bell - USC
The Bucs declined to select Tony Dorsett (who wound up with the Cowboys) and stuck with Ricky Bell who had played for John McKay at USC. Bell played five seasons
with the Bucs and had a 1,000-yard season in 1979 as the team progressed to the NFC Championship Game, but never lived up to the No.1 overall billing. After an
abortive attempt to continue his career with the Chargers, he retired and subsequently died of heart-related illness in 1984.
2 - LB - David Lewis - USC
One of the mainstays of the 1979 NFL-best defense and a great linebacker. Started for most of his five seasons in Tampa and went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate in
3 - DE - Charley Hannah - Alabama
Converted to the offensive line early in his NFL career and started for four seasons on the Bucs' offensive line. Was traded to the Raiders and won a Super Bowl ring with them in 1983.
4 - traded to Cincinnati for RB Charlie Davis
Played in eight games in the expansion season of 1976 and averaged little over 2.5 yards per carry. Was cut in camp the following season.
5 - traded to Miami for LB Ray Nettles
Never played a down for the Bucs. His rights were owned by the Dolphins but he had spent the previous five seasons in the CFL with the British Columbia Lions. He remained in Canada played four further seasons there.
6 - traded to Chicago for QB Gary Huff
Started six games and played in another eight in 1977 and 1978 for the Bucs, the starts all coming after Doug Williams was injured. Never a great QB but an experienced back-up for a new NFL franchise.
7 - traded to N.Y. Jets for LB Richard Wood
Played in 132 games for the Bucs in their first nine seasons and started nearly 100. Known as the Batman, Wood was one of the mainstays of the great defenses John McKay built in Tampa.
8 - QB - Randy Hedberg - Minot State
Had a great pre-season in 1977 and became the team's starting QB for the first four games. Then threw 10 interceptions, no TDs, completed less than 30% of his passes, and remains the lowest-ranked QB in team history.
9 - LB - Byron Hemingway - Boston College
Never played football in the NFL at all. Was named All-East defensive end in his senior year, but at only 6-4 and 205, was converted to linebacker by the Bucs before being cut in camp.
9 - WR - Larry Mucker - Arizona State
Played four seasons with the Bucs as a back-up receiver but also managed to start 11 in the process too. Had the famous nickname of "Six or nothing" for his propensity to score in 1979.
10 - FB - Robert Morgan - Florida
Never played football in the NFL at all. Had been a back-up to fellow Buc Jimmy DuBose for most of his college career with the Gators and finished his collegiate career with 731 yards on 174 carries.
10 - LB - Aaron Ball - Cal St.-Fullerton
Never played a down for the Buccaneers. Had played all four years at college and called the defensive signals for the Titans in his senior year, also being named the league's Outstanding Defensive Player. Not outstanding enough
to make the Bucs however.
11 - DB - Chuck Rodgers - North Dakota State
Never played football in the NFL at all. Born in West Germany, Rodgers was known for his kick and punt return skills at college as much for his ability to play defensive back.
12 - WR - Chip Sheffield - Lenoir Rhyne
Never played football in the NFL at all.Held most of the receiving records at his college before being drafted. Then again, how many great NFL receivers went to Lenoir Rhyne?