By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Jeff Nixon of the Bills

Taken in Round 4 in 1979

Other picks in that round: The Bills had their choice of a couple of good players in the No. 87 spot. Roy Green was a dynamic wide receiver for the Cardinals in the 1980s, with two Pro Bowl seasons. Don Warren spent 14 years with Washington. He mostly was known was an excellent blocker, but he could catch the ball when needed.

The details: Nixon always had an eye for the ball. He had 23 interceptions in college while playing at Richmond, and that helped make him a first-team All-American. Then he came to the Bills, and as a rookie safety he led the team in picks with six. Jeff picked right up the next season, as he had three interceptions and a fumble recovery in the opening day win over Miami. Nixon was leading the league in interceptions a few weeks later when he suffered a knee injury against the Chargers. He suffered another one a year later, and what looked like a fabulous career ended prematurely after the 1982 season.

Other 87s: Donnie Walker was a good punt returner for the Bills in 1973 and 1974. Matt Stevens played a lot of football as a rookie in 1996, and then bounced around to four othr teams during an eight-year career. Marc-Andre Gragnani’s only significant season with the Sabres came in 2011-12, when he played in 44 games. The defenseman had a few other stops in the NHL before going to Europe, where he’s played in such cities as Prague and Minsk.

(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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