By Budd Bailey

John Pitts of the Bills

Taken in Round 1 in 1967

The next pick: Tom Regner was an All-American guard for Notre Dame, and the Oilers thought he could be a part of the offensive line for years to come. Regner was a starter for the 1968 and 1969, but it looks if injuries cut short his career after six seasons.

Other picks in the round: Let’s start with the Hall of Famers: Bob Griese (No. 4 to Miami), Floyd Little (No. 6 to Denver), Alan Page (No. 15 to Minnesota) and Gene Upshaw (No. 17) to Oakland. The first pick belong to the Colts, who took defensive end Bubba Smith of Michigan State. Steve Spurrier (No. 3 to San Francisco) had much more success as a college coach than as a player. George Webster’s career (No. 5 to Houston) started with three straight Pro Bowl appearances, but he had trouble staying on the field after that.

The details: Pitts was the Bills’ first pick in a draft after the merger between the AFL and NFL. He was a strong safety, and he probably thought he was joining a very good team. After all, the Bills had lost in the AFL championship game that winter. Pitts spent six-plus seasons in Buffalo, just went the Bills were crashing. John moved on to Denver in 1973 – missing some fun here, and finished his career in Cleveland in 1975.

Other 22s: The Bills gave up a future first-round pick to take J.P. Losman, who they hoped would slide into the job held by Drew Bledsoe. Losman was merely OK in 2006 when he started all 16 games. Then Trent Edwards grabbed the starting job, and Losman’s days were numbered. Jiri Novotny (2001) needed almost four seasons in Rochester before getting a shot in Buffalo. The chance lasted a little more than a year before he was traded. Brad Miller was the pick after Pierre Turgeon by the Sabres; he saw a lot of the Thruway driving between Buffalo and Rochester. Kevin Brownell has spent eight seasons with the Bandits as a transition player; he’s quietly put together a good career here.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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