By Budd Bailey
Dennis Shaw of the Bills
Taken in Round 2 in 1970
The next pick: The Oilers grabbed Lee Brooks, a defensive tackle from Texas. He played 79 games in Houston and St. Louis, and started about half of them.
Other picks in that round: A couple of tight ends jump out: Jim Mandich (No. 29) for Miami, and Rich Caster (No. 46) for the Jets. The Browns added a couple of good defensive linemen in Joe Jones (No. 36) and Jerry Sherk (No. 47). Everyone missed the first pick in the third round – Hall of Fame defensive back Mel Blount, who was selected by Pittsburgh.
The details: With Jack Kemp retired and off to Congress, the quarterback job of the Bills was wide open. Shaw ended up winning the job as a rookie in 1970, and did well enough to give the team hope for the future at the position. But he suffered from the sophomore jinx in 1971, throwing a league-leading 26 interceptions. Shaw didn’t improve in 1972, so rookie Joe Ferguson took the job away from him the next year. Dennis finished his career as a reserve in St. Louis.
Other 30s: It’s a slim list. Jens Johansson, in fact, is it. He was a defenseman taken by the Sabres in 1982. He opted to stay in Sweden, and never played for the Sabres. We’ll see how Greg Rousseau (2021) does on the Bills’ offensive line.
He got away: This is complicated. Spencer Haywood played for the U.S. Olympic team in 1968, and then jumped as an underclassman to Denver of the American Basketball Association in 1969. Then Haywood challenged the rule that was keeping him out of the NBA because he wasn’t old enough, and won that court fight to play for Seattle. The Braves, who had three second-round picks in 1971, decided to use the last of them on Haywood in case the rules were changed. It didn’t work; he never played here.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)