By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 41: April 28, 1987 – The Bills trade a first-round draft choice in 1987 (Alonzo Highsmith) to Houston for a first-round draft choice in 1987 (Shane Conlan) and a second-round draft choice in 1987.
The 1987 NFL Draft featured two top prospects right at the top. Quarterback Vinny Testaverde and linebacker Cornelius Bennett went one-two, as expected. That left the Bills with the third pick. The Oilers had their eye on Alonzo Highsmith, and completed a trade to move up in the first round. The Bills slipped to No. 8 in the first round, and picked up a second-round choice in the transaction.
Buffalo was happy about how that transaction turned out. Still waiting at No. 8 was Shane Conlan, a linebacker from Penn State who grew up in the Western New York village of Frewsburg. The Bills knew they wanted Conlan, but figured he’d still be available later in the first round. Plan B was to take defensive back Rod Woodson, who ended up in the Hall of Fame.
It all worked out well for Buffalo. Highsmith did little in the NFL, struggling in his three years with the Oilers. Conlan was a good fit for Buffalo, participating in three Pro Bowls in six seasons here. The other draft pick was part of a package that led to the Bills’ selection of Nate Odomes, who helped as well.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)