By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
Joe Ferguson of the Bills
Taken in Round 3 in 1973
Other picks in that round: Ferguson wasn’t the best quarterback taken in that round. The honor belongs to Dan Fouts, scooped up by the Chargers at No. 64. You are free to wonder what Bills history might looked like if they had taken Fouts instead of Ferguson. Nine players in that round played at least 100 NFL games, including Harvey Martin of the Cowboys and Terry Metcalf of the Cardinals.
The details: Ferguson wasted no time taking the starting job from Dennis Shaw for the start of the 1973 season. His basic job was to hand the ball to O.J. Simpson, which if nothing else gave him time to grow into the job. Joe’s passing completion percentage was 44.5 with four touchdowns and 10 interceptions. But Ferguson got better with each season, and he was a key part of some good Bills’ teams under Chuck Knox in the early 1980s. Ferguson found a second career as a backup/quarterback whisperer, playing five years with the Lions, Bucs and Colts.
Other 57s: Ferguson also handed the ball to fullback Jim Braxton, who worked well with Simpson during much of the 1970s. Jim ran for 823 yards in 1975. Frank Reich will be remembered locally as the best second-string quarterback ever, filling his role without complaint perfectly. You might remember him for a certain playoff game against the Oilers. Jim Reilly played for the Bills in 1970 and 1971 at guard, but injured his kidney and had to retire prematurely at that point. Mike Weber had a nice run of six years as a regular defenseman for six seasons. He was traded to Washington in 2016.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)