By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 81: May 29, 1986 – The Bills trade a second-round draft choice in 1986 (Garry James) and a third-round draft choice in 1986 (Tom Rathman) to San Francisco for a first-round draft choice in 1986 (Will Wolford) and a 10th-round draft choice in 1987 (Jim Ellis).
It’s always a gamble to trade into the first round, but the Bills rolled the dice on Draft Day in 1986 because they thought they saw somehow who could become a key piece of the team. They were right.
Will Wolford of Vanderbilt was the target. The offensive tackle cost the Bills a second-round pick and a third-round choice, but he was worth it. Wolford was in Buffalo for seven years, made two Pro Bowls, and was part of the team’s Glory Years in the early 1990s. Then he left for Indianapolis as a free agent, and continued a career that lasted six more years. Wolford never played in an NFL game he didn’t start (191).
San Francisco shipped the second-round pick to Detroit, who used it on Garry James – a running back who spent three years as a Lion. The 49ers kept Tom Rathman, an excellent receiver coming out of the backfield (320 catches in a nine-year career).
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