1. Jim Plunkett, Stanford – New England Patriots QB: Heisman Trophy winner and the first guy picked. Plunkett played 15 seasons in the NFL with New England, then San Francisco and Oakland. Plunkett Quarterbacked the Raiders to 2 Super Bowl victories and he threw for over 25,000 career yards.
2. Archie Manning, Ole Miss – New Orleans Saints QB: Obviously, Archie is the father of Peyton and Eli Manning. Archie Manning was a fun Quarterback to watch at Ole Miss. Manning was a star Quarterback, but the Saints were always bad while he played which didn’t reflect well. But, like at Ole Miss, Manning was a fun guy to watch with excellent mobility and arm strength.
3. Dan Pastorini, Santa Clara – Houston Oilers QB: Pastorini was a gifted guy with a super strong arm, but he wound up throwing way more Interceptions than Touchdowns over his career. During his first season alone, Pastorini threw 21 picks. His best seasons in Houston came after the Oilers picked Earl Campbell in the 1978 NFL Draft. Pastorini was more famous for playing through pain and he only missed 5 games while playing in Houston. After the 1979 season, in typical Bud Adams and Oiler fashion, they traded Pastorini to Oakland for Kenny Stabler who was at the end of his career. Pastorini only lasted a year in Oakland, then Los Angeles with the Rams was a bust as well. He finished his career miserably in Philadelphia with the Eagles. After football, Pastorini was a drag racer for a while. He threw for 18,515 yards in a run oriented offense. He was a colorful character fighting with reporters and marrying a Playmate.
4. J.D. Hill, Arizona State – Buffalo Bills WR: Hill played on an 11-0 team at Arizona State as a senior while catching 58 passes. Those were big numbers for the day and earned notice by NFL teams. As the 4th pick the draft, Hill had a disappointing rookie season with the Bills, but he took off during his second season. Injuries were hard on Hill and he said later that he became addicted to drugs while playing in the NFL. Hill’s career lasted 7 years with Buffalo and then with Detroit and he was homeless for a while after football. Hill’s son, Lonzell, also played Wide Receiver in the NFL.
5. Richard Harris, Grambling – Philadelphia Eagles DE: Players like Harris went to Grambling back in those times because they couldn’t go to the Southern schools in the area. Harris was 6-5, 260 and a talent. In the NFL, he was on the All Rookie team and he played in Philadelphia for 3 seasons before being traded to the Chicago Bears before he finished up in Seattle. When he was through playing after 7 seasons, Harris got a coaching job in Canada with the Canadian Football League. He was coaching at Winnipeg before collapsing and dying of a heart attack in 2011 at the age of 63.
6. John Riggins, Kansas – New York Jets RB: A living legend, Riggins was last seen at Super Bowl 50 representing his Washington Redskins and his Super Bowl MVP. Riggins was one of the all time great power backs. At Kansas, Riggins broke the career rushing record of the great Gale Sayers and made All American and twice All Big 8. He led the Jayhawks to a rare major bowl bid where they
lost to Penn State in the Orange Bowl.
Standing 6-2, 230 and with excellent speed, Riggins ran for over 11,000 yards in the NFL with the Jets and later with the Redskins. In 1992, Riggins was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
7. Joe Profit, Louisiana Monroe – Atlanta Falcons RB: Profit was a racial pioneer in the state of Louisiana. He was one of the first black players to play college football at one of the historically white schools of the South and the state of Louisiana. At Northeast Louisiana University which is now Louisiana Monroe, Profit was a football and track star. He ran for a record 2,818 and 23 Touchdowns. Because of his good size and track speed, Profit was picked by Atlanta with the 7th choice. Profit was a total bust at Atlanta and was sent to New Orleans after that. He totaled 471 career rushing yards in the NFL. He signed with Birmingham of the World Football League and he did have success there before that league folded. After football, Profit became a successful businessman.
8. Frank Lewis, Grambling – Pittsburgh Steelers WR: Like Joe Profit, Frank Lewis grew up in Louisiana. But, he went to the powerhouse school of those years, Grambling. Lewis was a good pick at this point and he was part of 2 Super Bowl champion Steeler teams. He played 7 seasons in Pittsburgh and then was traded to the Buffalo Bills where he played 6 more years, which were his best. Lewis wound up catching 397 passes for 6,724 yards and 40 Touchdowns. Lewis was a tremendous athlete with outstanding speed having run the 100 yard dash in 9.4 back before the United States converted to 100 meters. Lewis coached briefly after football, but then got a job with Work Force Investment. Lewis is a high character guy who gave back by coaching youth football.
9. John Brockington, Ohio State – Green Bay Packers RB: Brockington was a member of the famous Super Sophomore class at Ohio State which included Rex Kern, Jack Tatum and many others. I wrote about them previously here: http://collegefootballcrazy.com/814/
Brockington was a powerful runner at 6-1, 225 and he ran for 1,663 yards and 24 Touchdowns. Most of those yards came during his senior season because he shared time with Jim Otis. The Buckeyes won the national championship in 1968 and just lost 2 games in 3 seasons back when freshmen weren’t eligible. At Green Bay, Brockington crossed the 1,000 yard barrier in each of his first 3
seasons before his yardage totals started dropping off. He was the Rookie of the year in 1971 and he made All Pro his first 3 seasons in the league. Brockington was the first player ever to run for over 1,000 yards in his first 3 seasons. After his initial success, Brockington only wound up with 5,185 career yards and 30 Touchdowns with 7 years in the NFL. Brockington had his kidney replaced in the early 2000s and is married and a financial adviser in San Diego.
10. Isiah Robertson, Southern – Los Angeles Rams LB: Another Louisiana native that was forced to go to a traditional black school due to segregation and racism. The New Orleans native played at Southern where he made Small College All American team after having an incredible career. This was a really good pick for the Rams with Robertson earning 6 Pro Bowl selections. Although Robertson played 12 years in the NFL and Intercepted 25 passes, he is perhaps most well known for getting run over by Earl Campbell of the Houston Oilers during his rookie season. Robertson was a little before his time and was an incredible athlete at 6-3, 225 and running a 4.6 40. Robertson finished his illustrious career with the Buffalo Bills.
11. Joe Moore, Missouri – Chicago Bears RB: Moore grew up in St Louis where he was a high school star before signing with the Missouri Tigers. At Missouri, he had a modest sophomore season before cranking it up to 1,312 yards rushing as a junior in 1969. Moore helped lead his Tiger teammates to an Orange Bowl berth against Penn State. Moore only ran for 610 yards as a senior, but the Chicago Bears still took him with the 11th pick. At Chicago, Joe Moore was a total bust partly because of injury. He was only in the NFL for 2 years and rushed for only 281 career yards. After football, he got into coaching back in Missouri.
12. Marv Montgomery, USC – Denver Broncos OT: Montgomery was a giant in his time at 6-6, 255 and another in a long line of USC star Offensive Linemen. Montgomery played 8 years in the NFL and never was quite the star that was expected. But, not all of that was Montgomery’s fault with injuries and bad coaching. Montgomery went into real estate and insurance after football and still lives in the Denver area.
13. Leon Burns, Long Beach State – San Diego Chargers RB: The 6-2, 230 Running Back was a native of Oakland that played college football at Long Beach State. He was big and fast and impressive enough to encourage the Chargers to use a first round pick on him. Burns was another huge bust that only played 2 seasons in the NFL. His rookie year, he ran for 223 yards. The following season Burns was playing for the Cardinals of St Louis which was also a disaster. Tragically, Leon Burns was shot and killed in 1984 in a case that has never been solved.
14. Clarence Scott, Kansas State – Cleveland Browns DB: Playing at Kansas State back in the years that they were awful, Clarence Scott made All American in 1970. Scott was a good choice by the Browns and he played for them for 13 seasons. His first 8 seasons were at Cornerback, before finishing his career as a Safety. He finished with 39 career Interceptions. Even though Scott was a good player, he only made All Pro one season. In 2015, the Kansas State Wildcats added Darren Sproles, Michael Bishop, Jordy Nelson and Clarence Scott to it’s ring of honor.
15. Vern Holland, Tennessee State – Cincinnati Bengals OT: The native of Sherman, Texas went to Tennessee State to play college football. At 6-5, 268, Holland was in demand by NFL teams and the Bengals picked him with their first pick in 1971. Holland played 9 years for Cincinnati and started most of their games. He was cut in 1980 and he played briefly for the Detroit Lions and the New York Giants. After football, Holland lived in Nashville, Tennessee where he died of a heart attack in 1998.
16. Elmo Wright, Houston – Kansas City Chiefs WR: If you don’t like End Zone celebrations you probably shouldn’t like Elmo Wright. He is credited as being the guy that started the trends while he was at the University of Houston. Like so many other black football players in the South at this time, Wright was limited as to which schools he could attend. But, the Houston Cougars and head coach
Bill Yeoman were ahead of their time and they recruited Wright from nearby Sweeny, Texas. Wright was a big time receiver at Houston making All American while catching 153 passes for 3,347 yards and 34 Touchdowns. In spite of his fame, Elmo Wright really didn’t do that much in the NFL playing only 5 seasons and catching only 70 passes. After football, Wright returned to Houston where he worked until retirement.
17. Norm Thompson, Utah – St Louis Cardinals DB: My biggest dislike with the NFL today is free agency and Norm Thompson was the very first free agent in the NFL back in 1977. Thompson was a starter for the Cardinals for 6 seasons before signing a free agent contract with the Baltimore Colts in 1977 and finishing up his career with the Colts. Overall, he played 9 seasons and picked off 33 passes in the NFL.
18. Rocky Thompson, West Texas State – New York Giants RB: This tiny Texas Panhandle school had a stretch of top Running Backs with Mercury Morris, Duane Thomas and then Rocky Thompson. Morris was a great player for the Miami Dolphins and Thomas would have been but he was a head case. Thompson was from Bermuda and had incredible speed. He ran a 10.1 100 meters while running for the Bermuda national team. But, all of that speed didn’t help Thompson with the Giants that much. Thompson played 3 seasons and only ran for 217 career yards.
19. Jack Tatum, Ohio State – Oakland Raiders DB: The Assassin is either loved or hated depending on which teams you pulled for. He was another member of Ohio State’s Super Sophomores and a great player on every level. Woody Hayes recruited Tatum as a Running Back but moved him to Defensive Back when he was a sophomore and the rest is history. Tatum played 9 seasons for the Raiders and was part of their mystique back in those times. He made numerous Pro Bowls and the Raiders won the Super Bowl while he was there with John Madden as their coach. Tatum is probably most famous for his hit on the Patriot’s Darryl Stingley that left Stingley paralyzed. The Raiders
traded Tatum to the Houston Oilers where he played one last season before retiring. After retirement, Tatum got into real estate development. He died in 2010 from a heart attack but had suffered with diabetes for a while.
20. Jack Youngblood, Florida – Los Angeles Rams RB: Pro Football Hall of Fame Member, Jack Youngblood was one of the game’s greats. He was always a little undersized and especially by today’s standards, but he was super quick off of the edge. The NFL didn’t start keeping defensive records other than Interceptions until he was late in his career so he is only credited with 24 sacks, but he had a bunch of them earlier. Youngblood grew up in the Jacksonville, Florida area and played 4 years on the varsity in football. In 2007, Youngblood was named one of Florida’s best 33 all time high school football players. He made All State as a senior and then signed with the nearby Florida Gators. At Florida, he made All American in 1970. The Rams took him with the 20th pick and he played 14 seasons in the NFL. After retiring, Youngblood worked for the Rams’ front office for a number of years. He was also into acting and broadcasting.
21. Bob Bell, Cincinnati – Detroit Lions DT: Bell was from West Philadelphia and played college football at Cincinnati. He was a bit undersized for a Defensive Tackle even in those days at 6-4, 250. But, he managed to last 8 years in the NFL and moved to Defensive End where his size was not a disadvantage. He played 3 years at Defensive Tackle for the Lions and then 5 seasons for the St Louis Cardinals at Defensive End.
22. Don McCauley, North Carolina – Baltimore Colts RB: I blogged about Don McCauley here previously: North Carolina Legend McCauley grew up in New York before heading to North Carolina to play his college football. In the 1970 season, McCauley ran for 1,720 yards which led the nation. Over his 3 year college career, McCauley ran for 3,315 yards and 32 Touchdowns.
With the Colts, McCauley was rarely the primary back, but he was mostly the 3rd down back and was awesome coming out of the backfield as a receiver. He played 11 seasons in the NFL and ran for 2,627 yards and 40 Touchdowns. He also caught 333 passes for 3,026 yards and 17 Touchdowns. He also returned punts and kicks. After retiring in 1982, McCauley went back to Chapel Hill to work for the school.
23. William Anderson, Ohio State – San Francisco 49ers DB: Another member of the famed Super Sophomores of Ohio State. He was a quality Defensive Back for the Buckeyes and was a good mixture of size and speed at 6-0, 205. But, for whatever reason, he was a bust in the NFL. He played for the 49ers for one season and then the Buffalo Bills for one last season and then was out of football. He played under the name of Tim Anderson.
24. Leo Hayden, Ohio State – Minnesota Vikings RB: Yet still another Super Sophomore from Ohio State. Hayden ran for 1,395 yards and 7 Touchdowns as a Buckeye. Even though Hayden was a good player for the Buckeyes, he was a total bust in the NFL. He only stayed one year in Minnesota and then went to the St Louis Cardinals for 2 years and was out of football after rushing for 11 total yards. After football, Hayden founded a program to help prevent urban violence.
25. Tody Smith, USC – Dallas Cowboys DE: The little brother of the famous Bubba Smith. The younger Smith followed his All American brother to Michigan State, but then he transferred to USC. Tody was much smaller than Bubba, but still a good college player. The Cowboys took him in the first round and he was a reserve there for 2 seasons mostly. They traded him to the Houston Oilers and Smith started there for 3 seasons. The Oilers cut him after an injury and he signed with Buffalo where he was let go after a few games. Smith died strangely in his sleep back in 1999.
26. Lenny Dunlap, North Texas – Baltimore Colts DB: The North Texas Eagles who are now the Mean Green had a few 1st round picks back in the day thanks to racism in the South. Dunlap played Cornerback for the Colts for a season and then was traded to San Diego where he played 3 years. He finished up his career after a season in Detroit for the Lions. He certainly didn’t have a great career for a first round pick.
Other notables after the 1st round.
Round 2 pick 34: Jack Ham, Penn State – Pittsburgh Steelers LB: Pro Football Hall of Fame
Round 2 pick 43 Dan Dierdorf, Michigan – St Louis Cardinals OG: Hall of Fame.