The case of the unknown draft pick
"Tell me Watson," said Sherlock Holmes, putting down his pipe next to his deerstalker hat and copy of the NFL Encylopedia. "How come the Buccaneers seemed to have lost a draft pick back in their early days?"
Aside from the Arthur Conan Doyle impersonations, this really is a true story. I have been tying up every trade and draft pick in Buccaneer history, but this missing 10th rounder really had beaten me. I knew the Raiders had used it and we had sent it Oakland's way, but how and why we had it really had beaten me.
Scott Smith really did do wonders tracking this one down and probably opened a Pandora's box of queries on franchise history for himself too in doing so, but we got the answer all the same. Lon Boyett never played a down for the Bucs but appears on the all-time roster as he was active for at least one game in the 1978 season. But I had always believed he was merely released after the season ended.
Now we know. Ironically, Boyett never played for the Raiders either, but did appear in three games for the 49ers in 1978 without making a reception and then disappeared from the NFL for good.
Now to tell Scott about the four other trades that I have discovered the Buccaneers made in their early days that are not in the media guide either, and also the case of the missing 1980 4th round pick to San Diego and the 1981 5th rounder to Baltimore that I think I might have solved myself.
Watson sighed, put down his copy of "Rush to Judgement" by Simeon Rice, and realised that another mystery involving the personnel moves of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was about to begin. "Which year and player this time Holmes?" he asked wearily.
"1978, Watson. The Bucs traded a 10th and 11th round pick to the Steelers for a nose tackle named Ernie Holmes. But they used their own 10th round pick on Aaron Brown, a linebacker from Ohio State, so where did the other 10th rounder come from?"
"I'll check the Buccaneers' media guide" replied Watson, hoping for a quick answer and a chance to return to his own book. He thumbed the pages and a frown appeared beneath his moustache. "That's odd" he commented. "There is nothing in the trade history for this pick except that the Bucs gave it up. Nothing at all for how it was obtained."
"Only one thing for it" said Holmes, Sherlock that is, not Ernie. "We'll have to call Inspector L'Estrange of New Scotland Yard, aka Scott Smith of the Buccaneers. He's been around since the days when this website was just a monthly printed magazine. I'm sure he can help."
A day later, and the famous detective couple were back ensconced in their favourite armchairs and a waft of pipe tobacco smoke obscured the screen and the umpteenth showing of SuperBowl XXXVII. "Marvellous work from L'Estrange wasn't it?" commented Watson.
"Elementary" said Sherlock Holmes. "L'Estrange discovered that buried in the deepest archives of the Yard, the Buccaneers had actually traded a long-forgotten tight end named Lon Boyett to the Raiders for an undisclosed draft pick. Simple deduction tells us it must have been the missing 10th rounder."
"Ironic though isn't it" said Watson. "That Boyett never actually played a game for the Buccaneers or Raiders, and Ernie Holmes was cut in camp in 1978 without playing a game either?"
"Sometimes that's how it is in the detective world," replied Holmes, taking another drag on his pipe. "But it's the investigation that is important, not the impact the result might have."
Paul Stewart, March 2005