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Throwback Tuesday: Buffalo's Draft Picks by Number (Part 2)


By Budd Bailey


(We finish this "series" written a few years ago with a look at the great sleepers in Buffalo's sports draft history - the ones taken outside the Top 40.)


No. 41 – Cordy Glenn of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 2012


The next pick: Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin is remember as the subject of harassment by Miami teammates including ex-Bills’ guard Richie Incognito. He left the team in midseason in 2013 and never played for the Dolphins again. Martin played for San Francisco in 2014. He retired in 2015, citing mental health issues as one of the reasons for the move.


Other picks in the round: Several players in that round are still active in the NFL. Some of them are tackle Mitchell Schwartz of the Browns, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery of the Bears, linebacker Bobby Wagner of the Seahawks, linebacker Zach Brown of the Titans, linebacker Levonte David of the Bucs, and defensive end Casey Hayward of the Packers.


The details: The Bills were thrilled to add Glenn to their offensive line, and he wasted little time in become a starter. He stayed there through 2017 except for some injuries in his final two seasons. Then Cordy indirectly became part of the package that the Bills used to acquire the draft choice that turned into Josh Allen. Meanwhile, Glenn was released in the middle of a four-year,, $46 million contract with Cincinnati. The two sides apparently disagreed over Glenn’s medical treatment of a concussion.


Other 41s: Robert Woods was a good receiver in his four years (2013 to 2016) in Buffalo. He’s been a very good receiver for the Rams in the four years since then, with 90 catches in each of the past two seasons. Torell Troup is remembered for the player taken after him in the draft: Rob Gronkowski. Troup, a defensive tackle, had injury issues that cut short his career after two seasons. Reggie Ragland missed his rookie season in 2016 because of an injury, and then was traded to Kansas City. He’s now a reserve with the Lions. James Hardy (2008) was supposed to be a big target in the red zone; he had 10 career catches in two years in Buffalo. Eric Richardson (1984) was only a little better with 15 catches in two years. Mike Moller never developed a scoring touch during four seasons in the Sabres’ organization, and was dealt to Edmonton as part of the Pat Hughes deal.



No. 42 – Jairus Byrd of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 2009


The next pick: Defensive end Everette Brown (Panthers) played five years in the NFL, but only started three games.


Other picks in the round: The Bills did quite well here, adding Byrd and guard Andy Levitre. The biggest star in the bunch is LeSean McCoy, who earned some of his 11,000+ yards with the Bills. Some other good picks that year were linebacker James Laurinaitis of the Cardinals, linebacker Rey Maualuga of the Bengals, defensive end Connor Barwin of the Texans, center Max Unger of the Seahawks, and defensive back Mike Mitchell of the Raiders.


The details: Byrd was a great fit for the Bills right away. He intercepted nine passes in his rookie season to lead the league, and he remained a starter for five seasons. Jarius was picked for three Pro Bowls along the way After the 2013 season, the Saints gave Byrd $54 million over six years to change teams. He only was in New Orleans for three seasons before he was cut, and he finished his career with Carolina in 2017.


Other 42s: Carwell Gardner spent seven seasons as a Bills fullback in the 1990s, but never gained more than 200 yards in a season. Chris Burkett mostly was a reserve wide receiver who split a nine-year career between the Bills and Jets. Bob Nelson was a huge disappointment as a Bills linebacker after he was drafted in 1976, but went on to start for the Raiders. Jim LeMoine played some offensive line for the Bills in 1967, but was gone a year later. Ian Llord was a tough defender for the Bandits (2008-2012). Ian was still playing in the National Lacrosse League in 2020.



No. 43 – Curtis Brown of the Sabres


Taken in Round 2 in 1994


The next pick: Jose Theodore of the Canadiens went on to win the Hart Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2001-02. It should be noted that the Sabres didn’t really need a goaltender in the summer of 1994, thanks to Dominik Hasek.


Other picks in the round: Patrik Elias of the Devils might be the star of the round, even though he went next-to-last. Patrik scored 408 goals in 1,240 games. Rhett Warrener, who spent time as a Sabres, went first in that second round. Ryan Johnson (Florida), Mathieu Dandenault (Detroit) and Richard Park (Pittsburgh) all played more than 700 games.


The details: Brown broke in with Buffalo during the 1996-97 season. He stayed through 2004, ranking as a solid two-way forward who contributed 47 points to the 1998-99 team that reached the NHL finals. Curtis was dealt to San Jose in 2004, and also played in Chicago and in Switzerland.


Other 43s: Randy Wyrozub was taken in the fourth round of the Sabres’ first draft in 1970. He played in 100 games for Buffalo, and spent part of a season in the World Hockey Association. No Bills ever have been drafted at No. 43.



No. 44 – Jake McCabe of the Sabres


Taken in Round 2 in 2012


The next pick: Goalie Anthony Stolarz is on his third NHL team, Anaheim, after he was drafted by Philadelphia and passed through Edmonton. Anthony has some good minor-league numbers when given a chance.


Other picks in the round: The story of these players hasn’t been written yet, but the list includes Damon Severson of New Jersey, Jordan Martinook of Phoenix, Chris Tierney of San Jose, Colton Sissons of Nashville, and Brock McGinn of Carolina.


The details: McCabe signed with the Sabres in the spring of 2014 after finishing his third season at the University of Wisconsin. After a year with Rochester, Jake has been a regular with the Sabres. He might have been on to his best season in Buffalo in 2020-21 when a severe knee injury ended the year after only 13 games.


Other 44s: Terry Martin was a regular for the Sabres for a couple of years in the late 1970s, but did his best work with Toronto from 1979 to 1984. Terry was an assistant coach for the Sabres in 1996. Luke Adam never could get any traction with the Sabres, playing 52 games in 2011-12 but otherwise mostly staying in the minors. Cyrus Kouandjio was the best high school lineman in the country, and went to Alabama. The Bills took him in 2014, but injuries never let him fulfill his potential.



No. 45 – Ken Jones of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 1976


The next pick: Tight end David Hills played 12 years with the Lions and Rams, and was part of two Pro Bowls.


Other picks in the round: You can never have enough Selmons, as Tampa Bay showed by taking Dewey Selmon with the last pick of the round. Brother Lee Roy is in the Hall of Fame. Sammy White spent 10 years with the Vikings, and the first six of them were quite good.


The details: The Bills did a great job of improving their offensive line in one swoop, taking Jones and Joe Devlin in the same round. Jones needed a couple of years to earn a starting job, but in 1978 he claimed the starting left tackle for nine seasons. Ken finished his career with the Jets in 1987.


Other 45s: Todd Collins sat for two years and then was given the chance to replace Jim Kelly as the Bills’ starting quarterback. Good luck with that. Collins was released after the 1997 season, and he started an odd journey as a backup quarterback. Todd played for Kansas City, Washington and Chicago, although there were years when he never got into a game. He started a total of four games after leaving Buffalo, and “won” them all.


He got away: The Braves drafted center Kim Hughes in 1974, but he signed with the New York Nets of the ABA after a year in Italy. Kim was a journeyman in the NBA through 1981, and then went back to Italy for eight more seasons.



No. 46 – Aaron Schobel of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 2001


The next pick: Jamie Winborn, a linebacker picked by the 49ers, was mostly a reserve for five teams in a 10-year career.


Other picks in the round: Plenty of other players of note went in this round besides the ones mentioned with Travis Henry at No. 58. Chad Johnson (No. 36) was a flamboyant wide receiver for the Bengals who caught 766 passes. Defensive tackle Kris Jenkins (No. 44) was picked for four Pro Bowls.


The details: The Bills couldn’t have done much better with this pick. Schobel became a starter as a rookie in 2001, and stayed in the right defensive end spot right through 2009. He didn’t miss a game in eight of his nine seasons. That was enough for Aaron; he retired at the age of 32.


Other 46s: Kiko Alonzo looked great as a rookie linebacker in 2013. He was injured the next year, and traded for LeSean McCoy in 2015. Kiko also started at linebacker for the Dolphins for three seasons. Jhonas Enroth (2006 pick) arrived with the Sabres in 2010, and stayed through 2015 – when he was traded to Dallas. The goalie spent a couple of more years in the NHL before returning to Europe, where he’s still playing.



No. 47 – Bob Corkum of the Sabres


Taken in Round 3 in 1986


The next pick: Defenseman Sean Borland, a Maple Leafs selection, never played a game in the NHL.


Other picks in the round: The Sabres took Kevin Kerr at No. 56. The right winger played 18 years in the pros in North America, but none of them took place in the NHL. Kevin did have five straight 100-point seasons with the Flint Generals. Jyrki Lumme of the Canadiens (No. 57) leads the players from that round with 985 games.


The details: It took Corkum three seasons to become a regular with the Sabres, but he reached that goal in the 1992-93 season. Then he was taken by Anaheim in the expansion draft. Bob went on to suit up fro Philadelphia, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New Jersey and Atlanta before he returned to Buffalo in March 2002 in a deadline deal.


Other 47s: Norm Milley looked like a great scorer in junior hockey for Sudbury when the Sabres drafted him in 1998. He couldn’t make the jump to the next level, playing 15 games for Buffalo. The Bandits drafted Jimmy Purves in the fifth round in 2010. He was on the roster by 2011, and played in 21 games over three years. Jimmy wore No. 98. No Bills have ever been drafted at No. 47.



No. 48 – Chris Kelsay of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 2003


The next pick: Linebacker Eddie Moore of the Dolphins only played in 18 games, starting three of them.


Other picks in the round: Drayton Florence spent three years as a Bills’ starting cornerback (2009 to 2011). Brian Scott was a backup safety and linebacker for six years as a Bill. The Cardinals got a steal at No 54 in Anquan Bolden who spent 14 years in the NFL and caught 1,076 passes for 13,779 yards. Defensive back Charles Tillman (No.35) spent 12 seasons with the Bears, mostly as a starter.


The details: Kelsey wasn’t too flashy, but he was hard to move out of the starting lineup once he earned a job. The defensive end/linebacker was a regular for eight straight seasons in a 10-year career, all spent in Buffalo. He finished with 32.5 sacks and three interceptions.


Other 48s: Henrik Tallinder has an argument as the best ever pick in the spot. He was drafted in 1997, and arrived four years later. After a season in Rochester, the defenseman moved up to the varsity and more or less stayed there through 2010. Aftter leaving for New Jersey, Tallinder came back for one final hurrah in 2013-14. Matt Kofler was Buffalo’s backup quarterback in 1982-1984. Bucky Brooks returned nine kickoffs in 1994 for the Bills; he resurfaced with four NFL teams later in the decade.


He got away: Wide receiver Lance Rentzel signed with the Vikings instead of the Bills in 1965. Rentzel supplied a valuable deep threat to some very good Cowboys teams in the late 1960s.



No. 49 – Rob McClanahan of the Sabres


Taken in Round 3 in 1978


The next pick: Defenseman Glen Cochrane was a much different player than McClanahan. The Flyers’ selection finished with 1,556 penalty minutes in 411 games.


Other pick in the round: Stan Smyl might have been the best player in the bunch. The Vancouver winger had 262 goals in 896 career NHL games.


The details: McClanahan had an impact on the Sabres just by walking through the locker room door for the first time. He was fresh off winning a gold medal in the Olympics in Lake Placid, and was added to a 1980 Sabre team that had a chance of making some noise in the playoffs. Rob helped Buffalo reach the semifinals that season, and then spent most of 1980-81 in Buffalo. But Hartford claimed him on waivers the following autumn. McClanahan’s peak came in 1982-83 (22 goals, 26 assists) with the Rangers and Olympic coach Herb Brooks, yet he was out of hockey by 1984.


Other 49s: Chris Williams had an odd stay with the Bills. He didn’t play at all in 1981, and only took part in five games in 1982. The free safety did play in all 16 games in 1983, starting five and making three interceptions. But that was it for his career.



No. 50 – Ronald Darby of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 2015


The next pick: The Browns took linebacker Nate Orchard at No. 51. He’s had trouble sticking with one team, and even passed through Buffalo in 2018.


Other picks in the round: The choice before Darby belonged to Kansas City, and the Chiefs took future Bills center Mitch Morse. While on the subject of the Bills, T.J. Yeldon went at No. 36 to Jacksonville, and Jordan Phillips was taken at No. 52 by Miami. Eric Kendricks (No. 45) has been a good fit at linebacker for six years with the Vikings.


The details: Darby moved right into the Bills’ starting lineup for two seasons, and then was traded to the Eagles for wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Darby has had some injury problems, but he started 16 games for Washington in 2020.


Other 50s: Byron Franklin broke through in his third season in 1984 to catch 69 passes. Then he went to Seattle, and was a reserve for three more years. Chris Thorburn played a lot of pro hockey, but little of it was with the Sabres. He moved on to Pittsburgh in 2006, but the next year the defenseman found a home with Atlanta/Winnipeg. Chris finished his career with St. Louis in 2019.



No. 51 – Jim Haslett of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 1979


Other picks in the round: It’s interesting that every single draft choice in that group played at least 20 games in the NFL, and 27 of 28 of them reached 32 in career games. Jets defensive lineman Mark Gastineau probably was the most famous player in the bunch. Dan Ross (Bengals) and Earnest Gray (Giants) were the best receivers taken in the round.


The details: Coming out of Indiana (Pa.), Haslett might have been the most unknown player in the round. Yet he moved right into the starting lineup with fellow draftee Fred Smerlas, and the two of them specialized in football mayhem on the field and comedy off of it. Haslett had seven good seasons in Buffalo, and then went into coaching. He guided the Saints and Cardinals for a total of seven years.


Other 51s: Andy Levitre was a good choice by the Bills in 2009. He was a starter for four years in Buffalo, and then received a huge offer as a free agent to jump to Tennessee. Levitre took it, and finished a 10-year career. He started every game he played – 143 of them. The Sabres thought Brendan Guhle was a good prospect on defense, but traded him with a first-round pick in 2019 to Anaheim for Brandon Montour. Guhle remains stuck between the minors and the NHL.



No. 52 – Joe Devlin of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 1976


Other picks in the round: Chris Bahr (No. 51) led everyone in the round in career NFL games at 210 games, but he was a kicker. Devlin was second. Tony Galbreath had some good moments at running back with the Saints, Don Macek (No. 31 to Washington) and Randy Cross (No. 42 to San Francisco) also had long careers on the offensive line.


The details: Devlin saw a lot of bad times and a few good times with the Bills, but missed the great times. Joe needed a year to reach the starting lineup as an offensive tackle in 1977, and stayed there all the way through 1989. Devlin missed four games in his entire career. He only played on four winning teams, which is probably why he never popped up in the Pro Bowl. So consider him a very underrated player.


Other 52s: Al Bemiller was a part of the Bills’ offensive line from 1961 to 1969. After retirement, he stayed in Buffalo to work in the school system. It took until Year Four for Marcellus Wiley to become a starter for the Bills. Then he jumped to San Diego (six years, $40 million) as a free agent. The defensive end had one good season in 2001, but his production feel off from there.


He got away: Jim Kanicki signed with the Browns in 1963 instead of the Bills, and had seven good years with Cleveland. Then he was traded to the Giants, and spent most of 1970 and 1971 as a starter in New York.



No. 53 – Peerless Price of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 1999


Other picks in that round: Mike Peterson (No. 36 to the Vikings) played 198 games at linebacker after he was drafted the Colts. New England grabbed running back Kevin Faulk at No. 46. The Browns took wide receiver Kevin Johnson at wide receiver to start the second round.


The details: Price got better and better during his first stay with the Bills. He moved into the starting lineup in 2000, and started every game through 2002. Price peaked in that final year, when he caught 94 passes for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns. That caught Atlanta’s attention, and the Falcons gave up a first-round choice for him – and then handed the veteran a seven-year deal worth $42 million. Price only spent two seasons with Atlanta, and he spent one year in Dallas before returning to Buffalo for his two final seasons.


Other 53s: Bruce Jarvis played four years at center for the Bills during the early 1970s, which means the offensive lineman did some blocking for O.J. Simpson during that fabulous 1973 season. Gabe Northern started at linebacker in 1998 and 1999, went to Minnesota, and was out of football after 2000. Julian Nunamaker was a backup defensive lineman in 1969 and 1970. Gary McAdam was a regular for a couple of years for the Sabres, and then was traded to Pittsburgh for famous tough guy Dave Schultz. Gary kept playing through 1986.



No. 54 – Phil Hansen of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 1991


Other picks in that round: The name of Brett Favre stands out in this list. He went No. 35 to the Atlanta Falcons, but was traded to the Packers. You know the rest of the story. By the way, the Jets took quarterback Browning Nagle with the next pick. Linebacker Roman Pfifer spent 15 years in the NFL. Ricky Watters was a very good running back for three teams, piling up more than 10,000 yards rushing. Jeff Graham played for five teams in 11 years, and caught passes (542) at every stop.


The details: Hansen jumped into the starting lineup as a rookie in 1991, and more or less stayed there for the rst of his 11-year career. Phil finished with 61.5 sacks in 156 games. The classy veteran saw his name go on the Wall of Fame in 2011.


Other 54s: A.J. Epenesa was Buffalo’s first selection in 2020, as the Bills traded their top pick away. We’ll wait and see how he does in the future.



No. 55 – Jason Pominville of the Sabres


Taken in Round 2 in 2001


Other picks in that round: No one else in that round played more than Pominville’s 1,060 NHL games. There were some good players, though – Fedor Tyutin, Mike Cammalleri, Chris Thorburn, Jay McClement and future Sabre Nathan Paetsch, who didn’t sign with the Capitals and went back into the draft pool in 2003.


The details: This is a story of something of a love affair between a town and a player. Pominville arrived in Buffalo during the 2005-06 season, and was an instant contributor. In his first full season, Jason scored a career-high 34 goals. Pominville was one of the team’s top scorers during some good times in those mid-to-late 2000s. He was traded to Minnesota in 2013 as Buffalo tried to rebuild, but came back as part of a 2017 transaction. Jason played two more seasons in Buffalo, where he was a reminder of better times.


Other 55s: Jacques Cloutier did a lot of commuting in the 1980s between Buffalo and Rochester, but he was a decent reserve goalie when given the chance. Always popular, Jacques was traded to Chicago in 1989 and finished his career with Quebec. Darcy Loewen and Doug Janik had brief stops with the Sabres. Roscoe Parrish spent seven years with the Bills, and he led the NFL in average yardage per punt return in two of those seasons. John Parrella (1993) only played one season in Buffalo, but went on to become a starter for the Chargers and Raiders for most of the next 11 seasons through 2004.



No. 56 – Sean McKenna of the Sabres


Taken in Round 3 in 1980


Other picks in that round: Eleven players in this group reached 100 NHL games played, led by Craig Ludwig (1,256) and Mark Osbourne (919). Some of the other names were Troy Murray, taken right after McKenna, Steve Bozek, Randy Velischek, and Tom Fergus.


The details: McKenna looked like a great pick right after he was taken. The winger scored 57 goals in his final two junior seasons, and was called up for a few games early in 1982. Sean had a pair of 20-goal seasons for Buffalo, but never developed past that point. He was traded to Los Angeles as part of a package that brought Brian Engblom and Doug Smith to Buffalo.


Other 56s: Marty Schottenheimer spent four seasons as a Bill as a reserve linebacker. As you probably know, he did his best work as a coach. Scott Thomas, a graduate of Nichols High School in Buffalo, was drafted in 1989 and played 39 games with the Sabres. Keith Gretzky (1985) had an impossible act to follow in brother Wayne. He spent parts of two seasons in Rochester before bouncing around the minors and European leagues.



No. 57 – 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.


No. 58 – Travis Henry of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 2001


Other picks in that round: The group started with the selection of Drew Brees. The just-retired quarterback will be headed to Canton for a Hall of Fame induction soon. Center Dominic Raiola played more than 200 games in the NFL, all with the Detroit Lions.


The details: The Bills had used a committee approach to running back in 2000, featuring Shawn Bryson, Antowain Smith and Sammy Morris. That didn’t work too well, so Buffalo grabbed Henry in the hopes he could become the featured running back. He soon grabbed a starting job as a rookie and led the team in rushing. Henry ran for more than 1,300 yards in his next two seasons. However, he lost his starting job and demanded a trade. Travis ended up in Tennessee, where he had one more big season in 2006 (1,211 yards) before finishing his career in 2007 in Denver. Henry has had some personal issues along the way, including drug-related problems that resulted in prison time.


Other 58s: Travares Tillman was a backup safety for two years after the Bills drafted him in 2001. He filled that same role for five more seasons with Carolina and Miami.



No. 59 – Curtis Brown of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 1977


Other picks in that round: It was a good round for running backs, as Wendell Tyler, Terdell Middleton and Rob Carpenter were selected. Tony Hill was an explosive wide receiver for the Cowboys.


The details: Brown arrived just in time to see O.J. Simpson play his last year with the Bills. Simpson’s trade opened up some playing time for Brown, a 5-foot-10, 203-pound fireplug of a runner. He had three straight seasons where he ran for more than 500 yards. Curtis finished his career in Houston in 1983.


Other 59s: Eugene Marve had a similar career to Brown, but at a different position. He spent six seasons in Buffalo, and was a starter for four of them. Unluckily for him, Eugene played on some bad teams in the mid-1980s. Ondrej Steine was a third-round pick of the Sabres in 1992. He has played a lot of hockey since then, but all of it was an ocean away in Europe.



No. 60 – Ray Sheppard of the Sabres


Taken in Round 3 in 1984


Other picks in that round: The standout of the group was Canadiens’ goalie Patrick Roy, a third-round choice (No. 51) who is one of the all-time greats. Second to Sheppard in goals among players taken in the round is Michal Pivonka of the Caps, while Jeff Norton, Steven Finn and Trent Yawney also had good-sized careers.


The details: Ray’s hockey career had quite a ride. He started with a 38-goal season with the Sabres. In two years, Buffalo didn’t want him playing on its roster or in Rochester, and the team essentially gave him to the Rangers in the summer of 1990. Ray had a good year in New York, and then went to Detroit where he scored 150 goals in the next four seasons (including 52 in 1993-94). Sheppard bounced to San Jose, Florida and Carolina before finishing his career with 357 goals.


Other 60s: It’s a weak group. Paul White (1962) and Chuck Linning (1961) never played a game for the Bills. Matt Friedman (2010) was a lacrosse standout for Canisius, but never played for the Bandits.



No. 61 – Ryan Denney of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 2002


Other picks in that round: The player taken after Denney was Antwaan Randle El of the Steelers, who caught 370 passes in his career. The next player was Antonio Bryant of the Cowboys, who had two more catches. Two picks later, Deion Branch (6,644 yards) went to the Patriots. Running back Clinton Portis of the Broncos ran for almost 10,000 yards. Wide receiver Andre’ Davis spent a year in Buffalo after starting with the Browns, while Larry Tripplett went from the Colts to the Bills.


The details: Denney wasn’t a starter very often during his eight years in Buffalo, but he played in 113 games during that era (2002 to 2009). In six of those seasons, he played in all 16 games. Ryan was released after the 2009 season, and played two games with Houston in 2010.


Other 61s: Lonnie Johnson (1994) is a very underrated tight end from the 1990s. He had at least 40 catches in 1995, 1996 and 1997 for Buffalo, and he started for four of his five seasons here. Lonnie finished up his career in 1999 as a reserve for the Chiefs. Hopes are high for Carlos Basham Jr. (2021), a defensive end from Wake Forest. Jonas Johansson (2014) popped up on the radar during the 2019-20 season of the Sabres. The goal went 1-3-1 in six games here. Then in 2021, he played in seven more games for the Sabres (0-5-1) before he was traded to Colorado for a draft choice. Speaking of goalies, Scott Komer (1998) played 157 minutes for the Bandits in 2001. Then 12 years later, he served as something of an emergency backup goalie for a Bandits’ game in Rochester.



No. 62 – Jon Borchardt of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 1979


Other picks in that round: Every team in the league had a chance to grab the player who was taken No. 82 overall and last in the third round. San Francisco thought Joe Montana was worth a selection at that point. He merely became one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. You might remember Doug Cosbie of the Cowboys and William Andrews of the Falcones from that group.


The details: Borchardt came out of Montana State, and needed a little time to get used to the NFL. He moved into the Bills’ starting lineup in 1981, and stayed there through 1984. Then he moved to the Seattle Seahawks in 1985, and only started five games in three years.


Other 62s: Borchardt doesn’t have much competition. The Sabres’ only No. 62 pick is Jay North, a high school center from Minnesota in 1980. He played four years at Harvard University, so we can assume his life turned out fine even if he didn’t show up in Buffalo for hockey.



No. 63 – Dion Dawkins of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 2017


Other picks in that round: There’s still time to judge these picks, of course. Dalvin Cook looks like the star of the group, as he has been named to the last two Pro Bowls. Joe Mixon of the Bengals has piled up some yardage, while Curtis Samuel’s pass receiving yardage has improved each year for Carolina.


The details: Dawkins has become a valuable player for the Bills, who showed their appreciation with a four-year deal worth $60 million. Dion moved into the starting lineup as a rookie, and has become a fixture at left offensive tackle. Dawkins also provides plenty of personality and has become a media favorite.


Other 63s: Hal Garner was a reserve linebacker for the Bills from 1985 to 1991. Wide receiver Richard Trapp was one of the unlucky Bills to be on the 1968 (1-12-1) roster, catching 24 passes. Bernie Harris was the 12th man on the Braves roster for a while in 1974-75, and scored five points.



No. 64 – Sam Rogers of the Bills


Taken in Round 2 in 1994


Other picks in the round: Buffalo native Vaughn Parker was taken by the Chargers at No. 63 – a spot before Rogers. The round produced three Hall of Famers: Isaac Bruce, Kevin Maewe and Larry Allen, In all, 15 players from Round 2 played at least 100 games in the NFL.


The details: Rogers missed all of the fun of the Super Bowl years in Buffalo. Even so, he played on some good Bills teams during the rest of the 1990s. He took over a starting role in 1995, and held it until after his departure in 2000. Then it was on to San Diego and Atlanta before leaving the game after the 2003 season.


Other 64s: Mike Zigomanis (1999) will always be associated with the Sabres’ fax machine. He signed with Buffalo just before the deadline on June 1, 2001. The terms were sent to the league office, and then it was discovered that there was a typographical error in the contract that nullified the transaction. Zigomanis went back into the draft, and was taken by Carolina. He was something of an NHL/AHL tweener, playing 197 games in the big leagues. Zigomanis played his last season in Rochester.



No. 65 – Paul McIntosh of the Sabres


Taken in Round 4 in 1974


Other picks in the round: Harold Snepsts (No. 59) was taken by Vancouver and went on to compile more than 1,000 games played and 2,000 penalty minutes. Terry Ruskowski (1974) signed with Houston of the World Hockey Association, but arrived in the NHL in 1979. He stayed for almost a decade, including three-plus with Chicago – the NHL team that drafted him.


The details: McIntosh was taken in the first round, eighth overall, by the Chicago Cougars of the WHA. That was one pick after Clark Gillies. Paul opted to sign with the Sabres instead. McIntosh played 48 games for the Sabres from 1974 to 1976, and retired from the game in 1980.


Other 65s: Bernard Ford (1988) suffered a preseason injury, missed all of his rookie season, and then was waived by the Bills. The wide receiver did a little work for the Cowboys and Oilers, and was a starter for the London Monarchs of the World League. The memorably nicknamed Danny “Steam Machine” Fulton (1979) caught two passes for the Bills as a rookie, and moved on for two years with the Browns. Branislav Fabry (2003) never did come over to play the Sabres, staying in Slovakia for most of his career. Gene Tundo Jr., taken by the Bandits in 2005, is the son of the Orchard Park lacrosse coach.



No. 66 – Brayden McNabb of the Sabres


Taken in Round 3 in 2009


Other picks in the round: The leader from this group in NHL games played now is a familiar name: Cody Eakin, who joined the Sabres as a free agent. Reilly Smith (Dallas) and Tyson Barrie (Colorado) also turned out to be solid choices.


The details: McNabb had to get out of the Sabres’ organization to find success. The defenseman mostly played in Rochester from 2011 to 2014. Then Buffalo dealt him to the Kings in a package for Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers. He spent three years in Los Angeles as a regular, and is on his fourth year with the Vegas Golden Knights.


Other 66s: You’d think someone would have been taken by the Bills at No. 66, but it’s never fallen properly. The cupboard is empty for the Sabres too. Mike Gazdic went to the Sabres in 1978, but spent one year in Milwaukee in the International Hockey League and headed to college.



No. 67 – Mark Brammer of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 1980


Other picks in the round: Steve McMichael (No. 73) went to the Patriots at first, but found a home at defensive tackle for the Bears. He was part of the 1985 Chicago defense, one of the greatest in league history. Steve stayed in the NFL through 1994. Defensive back LeRoy Irvin (No. 70) and linebacker Cliff Odom (No. 72) both had long careers.


The details: Brammer split the tight end job with Reuben Gant in Mark’s rookie season, remembered as the year the Bills won the AFC East under Chuck Knox. Brammer was a good possession receiver during his career, which ran through 1984. He also was a friendly, willing interview subject – which is a way to help you be remembered.


Other 67s: Erik Portillo of Sweden (2019) played at the University of Michigan this past season, and remains a Sabres prospect. Glenn Alexander did some return and receiving work for the Bills in 1970.



No. 68 – Kelvin Sheppard of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 2011


Other picks in the round: Justin Houston (No. 70) has had a solid career with the Chiefs and Colts. DeMarco Murray (No. 71) ran for 1,845 yards for Dallas in 2014.


The details: The linebacker got off to a good start in Buffalo, earning a starting job in his rookie year and holding it for another season. Then he was traded to the Colts for Jerry Hughes, a deal that worked out well for the Bills. Sheppard played six more seasons in the NFL with four different teams.


Other 68s: Robert Hicks had a three-year NFL career as an offensive tackle, and was a starter for the Bills in 1999. Bill Stewart was a regular for the Sabres in 1978-79, but spent the next seven years bouncing between the NHL and the minors when a parent team need someone to fill in on defense. Bill finished his playing career in 1996 in Italy. Timo Jutila (1982) played 10 games with the Sabres in 1984-85 after coming over from Finland. Apparently that was enough; he went back to Europe and played through 1999.


They got away: The Bills took Larry Stallings in the ninth round in 1963, but lost him to the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals. The linebacker was a regular for 14 seasons there. Bill Saul (1962) spent eight seasons in the NFL at middle linebacker.



No. 69 – Maxim Afinogenov of the Sabres


Taken in Round 3 in 1997


Other picks in the round: The Sabres clearly took the most valuable player of the round. No one else scored even a third of Afinogenov’s career goal total. Ville Nieminen (Colorado) did take part in 385 NHL games. Jeff Farkas of Williamsville went at No. 57 to Toronto, and played in ll career NHL cames.


The details: Only a handful of Sabre players had more talent than Afinogenov, who at times was a treat to watch. He spent nine seasons in Buffalo, with a career-high of 73 points in 2005-06. Maxim was a part of the fine Sabre teams in the middle of the 2000s. Afinogenov jumped to the Thrashers in 2009 for a season, and then crossed the ocean and returned to Russia in the Kontinental League. He played for the Moscow Dynamo as late as 2019-20.


Other 69s: Glenn Parker spent seven seasons with the Bills, and was a starter for most of that time. That included the Super Bowl era of the early 1990s. T.J. Graham (2012) saw some action at wide receiver for two years. Rumun Ndur (1994) spent small parts of three seasons with the Sabres before playing for more than 10 years on both sides of the Atlantic. Cliff Pu was the only actual player to go from Buffalo to Carolina in the Jeff Skinner trade; Pu hasn’t reached the NHL as of this writing.


They got away: Books could be written about Gilles Gratton, a goaltender with a unique personality. In fact, he wrote one himself. Gratton signed with Ottawa of the WHA after he was drafted by the Sabres in 1972. Paul Martha was a first-round pick of the Steelers in 1964, while the Bills selected him in the ninth round. Martha signed with Pittsburgh and played seven years in the NFL.


No. 70 – Gary Marangi of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 1970


Other picks in the round: Marangi was one of three quarterbacks who were selected in that round. Danny White (No. 53) had the difficult chore of replacing Roger Staubach as the starter in Dallas, and did it reasonably well. Kim McQuilken had less success than Marangi. Other names from that round were Mark van Eeagen of the Raiders, Nat Moore of the Dolphins, and Dave Lapham of the Bengals.


The details: Marangi served as Joe Ferguson’s backup from 1974 to 1976. He played just a little in the first two years, but moved up when Ferguson was lost to injury in 1976. Marangi started seven games, and the Bills – who were crumbling at that point – lost all seven. He completed three touchdowns and threw 16 interceptions while completing 35 percent of his passes. There’s no sign in the record books of who was the next quarterback on the depth chart, because he never played. As for Marangi, his career ended after the 1976 season.


Other 70s: Ashton Youboty (2006) spent five seasons as a reserve defensive back for the Bills. He had one career interception.



No. 71 – Andrej Sekera of the Sabres


Taken in Round 3 in 2004


Other picks in the round: Sekera wound up second in games played in the NHL that round to Alexander Edler, taken by Vancouver at No. 91. Johan Franzen, No. 97 to the Red Wings, led the round in goals with 187.


The details: Sekera needed a year and a half in Rochester, but came up for good to the Sabres in 2007-08. He stayed as a regular in Buffalo through 2012-13. Then Andrej was dealt to Carolina for Jamie McBain and a draft choice. Sekera continues to play in the NHL as of this writing for Dallas, having gone through the Oilers and Kings as well.


Other 71s: John Schmeding was an offensive lineman taken by the Bills from Boston College in 1980. He never did play a game in the NFL, but went on to become a high school football coach in New Jersey. Greg Neeld is remembered as a junior hockey player who lost an eye in an on-ice accident in 1973. He wore a face shield – the first player to do so – and was drafted by the Sabres in 1975. Greg wasn’t allowed to play in the NHL, but he did suit up in the World Hockey Association and in the minors.



No. 72 – Alex Carrington of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 2010


Other picks in the round: Remember Andre Roberts, the Bills’ return specialist who has since departed? He went to Arizona at No. 88 that year. Tight end Jimmy Graham, who went at No. 95 to New Orleans, is the biggest name on the list.


The details: The defensive end played college football for Arkansas State. He only started 10 games over five seasons as a member of the Bills. Memorably, in 2012 he blocked three field goals and an extra point to set a team record. Alex’s time in the NFL ended after a brief return to the Bills in 2015.


Other 72s: Chris Ellis (2008 draft) spent three seasons as a reserve defensive lineman here. Peter Ambroziak turned up on the Sabres’ roster in 1995. He bounced around the minors after leaving the Buffalo organization, but found a home as he spent his last six years as a member of the New Mexico Scorpions of the Central Hockey League.


He got away: The Eagles outbid the Bills for the chance to sign defensive back Al Nelson in 1965. Nelson was a starter for most of his nine seasons in Philadelphia.



No. 73 – Paul Guidry of the Bills


Taken in Round 8 in 1966.


Other picks in the round: Doug Buffone went in the pick before Guidry at No. 73 to the Chargers. The linebacker signed with the Bears, and 186 games in the pros. Pete Lammons was a tight end for the Jets in their Super Bowl championship team of 1968.


The details: Guidry sadly got to see a lot of losing football. He arrived in 1966, when he had a reserve role at linebacker on a team that reached the AFL championship game. But the Bills went straight downhill after that. Paul was a starter in Buffalo through 1972, and finished his career in Houston the following year.


Other 73s: Preston Brown moved right into the Bills starting lineup in 2014 and stayed there for four seasons. Then he moved on to Cincinnati and Oakland in 2018-19. John Kimbrough (1977) only lasted one season in Buffalo, catching 16 passes.



No. 74 – Daren Puppa of the Sabres


Taken in Round 4 in 1983


Other picks in the round: Esa Tikkanen was the biggest start in this round. The Oilers took him at No. 80, and he played 877 games in the NHL. Future Sabres Mikko Makela and Bob Essensa joined Puppa on this fourth-round list.


The details: When Puppa arrived on the scene in 1985-86, Tom Barrasso was installed as the No. 1 goalie of the Sabres. Puppa, therefore, had to wait his turn. When Barrasso was traded to Pittsburgh, Puppa moved up – and stayed through 1993. That’s when he and Dave Andreychuk went to Toronto for Grant Fuhr. However, Puppa did his best work for Tampa Bay later in the 1990s, with six straight seasons of sub-3.00 GAAs to his credit.


Other 74s: Gilles Hamel was a decent forward for the Sabres in the mid-1980s, and was traded for a similar player in Scott Arniel in 1986. Clarke MacArthur never bloomed for the Sabres in the 2000s, but he did have 62 points for the Maple Leafs in 2010-11. Devin Singletary has had two good years at running back for the Bills since arriving in 2019. Tim Anderson started 12 games at defensive tackle for the Bills in 2005, the highlight of his four seasons here.



No. 75 – Kevin Sundher of the Sabres


Taken in Round 3 in 2010


Other picks in the round: The Sabres also took Matt MacKenzie, a defenseman from Calgary, in that round. Radko Gudas leads that round’s players with more than 500 NHL games to his credit.


The details: Sundher looked like he might develop into a good forward in junior hockey, but never even became established in two-plus years in Rochester. He mostly stayed in the Northeast after that (Elmira, Reading, Lehigh Valley), but did play in the Czech Republic later on.


Other 75s: Jeff Martin, a pick by the Sabres in 1997, is it. He had 40 goals in 65 games in junior hockey in 1997-98, but didn’t play as well a year later. It was on to college hockey instead of the pros, as he played at the University of Western Ontario for four seasons.



No. 76 – Ron Edwards of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 2001


Other pick in the round: Wide receiver Steve Smith is the star of the group after the wide receiver was taken by Carolina at No. 74. Safety Adrian Wilson (No. 64) made five Pro Bowls as a safety for the Cardinals.


The details: Edwards spent five seasons with the Bills, but only was a starter in 2002. But once he got to Kansas City, he grabbed a regular job for most of the next five years. Edwards finished his career in Carolina in 2012.


Other 76s: Keith Carney had a very long and productive career, but not enough of it was in Buffalo. He was traded for Craig Muni in 1993, and wasn’t done with the NHL until 2008. Marlon Kerner spent four years as a backup cornerback with the Bills in the 1990s. Mike Mosley caught 27 passes in three years as a Bills’ wide receiver in the 1980s. Daniel Sams is the Bandits’ all-time leader in goals-against average and save percentage among goalies, although he only played in five games in 2007.


He got away: Ron Snidow was drafted by the Bills in 1963. The defensive end signed with Washington, and split 10 years of play between there and Cleveland.



No. 77 – Rodney Bellinger of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 1984


Other pick in the round: Terry Hoage went to the Saints at No. 68. He was the last defensive back taken before Bellinger, and spent 12 years with several teams during a fine career.


The details: Bellinger came out of Miami (Fla.), where he was a cornerback for the Hurricanes’ national championship team in 1983. Rodney’s career never had much traction in the pros. He finished with 42 games played with the Bills, starting 11 of them.


Other 77s: Leonard Burton, an offensive lineman, was taken by the Bills in 1986. He spent four seasons as a backup, only starting seven games. Mike Pandolfo was the No. 77 choice in the 1998 draft. He attended Boston University for four years and then was traded to Columbus in 2002 as part of an exchange in draft choice. Mike played three games for the Blue Jackets.



No. 78 – Ben Williams of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 1976


Other picks in the round: The best choice was Jackie Slater, who went to the Rams. The offensive tackle had a Hall of Fame career. Many other veterans came out of the round, including Reggie Williams of the Bengals, Gary Barbaro of the Chiefs, and Greg Buttle of the Chiefs.


The details: Williams is remembered at the University of Mississippi as the first African American to play football there. He arrived in Buffalo in 1976 – just in time to see the team collapse, even though it wasn’t his fault. Ben stayed for 10 years, and remained a very good player throughout that span.


Other 78s: Marquise Goodwin was a world-class long jumper when he came to the Bills in 2013. His speed wasn’t helpful when he was on the sidelines with injuries, which was his biggest problem in his four years in Buffalo. Jamie Mueller came out of Benedictine in 1987 to play four seasons at running back in Buffalo.



No. 79 – Sean McNanie of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 1984


Other picks in the round: Jeff Hostetler went to the Giants at No. 59. He went on to play a role in Bills history during Super Bowl XXV. Linebacker Kyle Clifton played 204 NFL games after he was taken by the Jets at No. 64.


The details: McNanie’s timing was all wrong. He was one of the Bills’ trio of third-round picks in 1984 – just when Chuck Knox was leaving and the team as about to crumble. Sean was a reserve for two years and then started at defensive end in 1986 and 1987. Just as the Bills were starting to rebuild under Marv Levy and Jim Kelly, McNanie left for Phoenix for a season. He finished his career with Arizona.


Other 79s: The Sabres’ only No. 79 was Jeff Hamilton (1982), a forward who spent two years in Rochester in the mid-1980s.


He got away: Chuck Mercein was drafted by the Bills in 1965 out of Yale, but the Giants signed him. Mercein is best remembered for playing for the Packers against Dallas in the “Freezer Bowl” – the NFL Championship Game on Dec. 31, 1966.



No. 80 – Adolphus Washington of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 2016


Other picks in the round: Every single player in that round has played at least one game in the NFL. We’ll salute the leaders in games played with 80: Kevin Byard of the Titans, and Joe Thuney of the Giants. Tight end Austin Hooper of the Falcons leads in receiving yards.


The details: Washington was a high school All-American in both football and basketball and went to Ohio State. At 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, he was difficult to contain at that level, and the Bills hoped he could help their defensive line. Adolphus did grab a starting spot at defensive end as a rookie, and stayed for two seasons. But the Bills waived him after one game in 2018, and he spent four games with the Bengals before his career apparently ended.


Other 80s: The Sabres took defenseman Dean Melanson in 1992, and he spent five games with them in 1994-95. Then it was back to the minors almost for good, with a brief stay with the Capitals in 2001-02. Dean ended his career with the Basingstroke Bison in Great Britain.



No. 81 – John Miller of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 2015


Other picks in that round: Future Bills’ tight end Tyler Kroft went to the Bengals at No. 85. Running back David Johnson of the Cardinals and wide receiver Tyler Lockett of the Seahawks highlight the other selections.


The details: The Bills had high hopes could step right into the offensive line and improve that group. He did become an instant starter, and spent four seasons here. Then it was on to Cincinnati in 2019 (signed three-year contract, released after one year), and Carolina in 2020.


Other 81s: Marlo Perry mostly played special teams as a linebacker for the Bills during six seasons in the 1990s. Bob Halkidis arrived in Buffalo for the Sabres in 1984, but couldn’t stop shuffling between the Sabres and Rochester. Bob was traded to the Kings in 1989 for Dale DeGray. Halkidis saw the world through hockey after that, finishing his career with St. Petersburg in Russia in 2001.


No. 82 – Don Beebe of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 1989


Other picks in that round: A couple of centers lead the way in games played: Mark Stepnoski of the Cowboys and Jerry Fontenot of the Bears. The Oilers took Bubba McDowell in that round. Bills’ fans remember his interception return for a touchdown that gave Houston a 35-3 lead during their playoff game. You might say the game turned around after that.


The details: Beebe isn’t the only NFL player to come out of Chadron State – merely the best and the fastest. Don was a fine wide receiver through the Bills’ Super Bowl run of the 1990s, finishing with 164 career receptions here. Beebe moved on to Carolina and Green Bay to finish his nine-year career.


Other 82s: Not too many fullbacks that weigh 254 pounds earn the nickname of “Speedy,” but that was what friends called Robert Neal. Speedy spent one season with the Bills (1984). Defenseman John Adams, taken by the Sabres in 2002, somehow played for 10 minor-league teams in three leagues during a four-year pro career.



No. 83 – Matthew Barnaby of the Sabres


Taken in Round 4 in 1992


Other picks in that round: Jere Lehtinen went 88th to Minnesota that year, and he went on to become one of the best defensive forwards in hockey (three-time Selke Trophy winner). Calgary took Robert Svehla of Czechoslovakia at No. 78.


The details: Barnaby averaged more than a point a game for Beauport in 1991-92, and also had 476 penalty minutes. That combination got the Sabres attention. He saw some limited playing time in Buffalo before arriving for good in 1995, and stayed through 1999. While he was here, Matthew was a memorable pest as a winger. Barnaby continued to play in the NHL through 2007 with six other teams.


Other 83s: Ken Johnson was a backup defensive end for the Bills from 1979 until 1983, and then won the starting job in 1984. Keith Goganious was a reserve linebacker for three years , including the 1993 Super Bowl team. The Sabres drafted defenseman Jim Wiemer in 1980, and he spent about three and one-half years in their organization before going to the Rangers in a trade. Jim did a lot of bouncing between the majors and minors, but did his best NHL work in Boston in the early 1990s.



No. 84 – Tim Regan of the Sabres


Taken in Round 7 in 1970


Other pick in the round: Terry Murray was taken by California at No. 88. He was much more famous as a coach than as a player, but he did play defense in 303 NHL games.


The details: Tim Regan played three years at Boston University and also toured with the U.S. Olympic team in 1972. Then it was on to the Sabres’ organization, as he played with Charlotte, Cincinnati and Hershey. Tim never played a game in the NHL.


Other 84s: It’s not a noteworthy group from our perspective. The Sabres took goalie John Bradley in the fourth round in 1987. After finishing college, Bradley played six games in Rochester and then bounced around the ECHL for four years. : Roy “Milam” Wall was a halfback from the University of North Carolina, where he was a reserve on the 1959 and 1960 teams. Roy was listed on the 1958 roster but didn’t seem to have any carries. Wall never did suit up for the Bills.



No. 85 – Peter McNab of the Sabres


Taken in Round 6 in 1972


Other picks in that round: No other player selected in that round played more than 16 games in the NHL, and that player was McNab’s teammate at the University of Denver, Rob Palmer.


The details: McNab, the son of hockey player/coach/GM Max, arrived in Buffalo in the 1973-74 season. He had 43 points in 53 games in 1974-75 when the Sabres reached the Stanley Cup finals, and added 56 points the following season. But he was a little stuck behind centers like Gil Perreault and Don Luce in terms of playing time. The Sabres and Bruins worked out a deal to exchange the rights to free agents, as McNab went to Boston and Andre Savard came here. McNab blossomed as a scorer, scoring at least 35 goals in the next six seasons. He finished with 363 goals.


Other 85s: You’ve spent too much time studying hockey media guides if you remember David Pergola, a fifth-round choice of the Sabres in 1987. The right winger spent four years at Boston College and then played parts of two years for Erie in the ECHL.



No. 86 – Andre Reed of the Bills


Taken in Round 4 in 1985


Other picks in that round: Many players in the round had long and noteworthy careers, although Reed is the only one in the Hall of Fame. The list of players who took part in 150 NFL games included Pittsburgh center Dan Kirk, Chicago kicker Kevin Butler, Miami center Jeff Dellenbach, and Bills tackle Dale Hellestrae.


The details: This is one of the great scouting stories in Bills’ history. Elbert Dubenion was an excellent wide receiver for Buffalo in the 1960s, and he turned out to have a great eye for talent as a scout. He spotted Reed at Kutztown State, and convinced the Bills to draft him. Reed went on to play 16 seasons, 15 of them with the Bills. He broke many of Dubenion’s receiving records.


Other 86s: Edgar Chandler played five years with the Bills on some bad teams around 1970, and was a starting middle linebacker in 1970 and 1971. Kevin Everett’s football career was cut short in a horrific injury on a kickoff in 2007. Zack Moss was a helpful running back as a rookie in 2020.



No. 87 – 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.



No. 88 – Mike Macaluso of the Braves


Taken in Round 6 in 1973


Other picks in that round: The basketball draft in 1973 had little resemblance to the selection process of today. For starters, it went 20 rounds – and the Braves took someone each time. Only two other players from that round reached the NBA, and both were in the rival American Basketball Association at the time. “Super John” Williamson was taken by Atlanta, but never played for the Hawks. He was a great scorer with the Nets. Johnny Newmann was a future Brave, but it took until the 1976-77 season before he arrived here. Newmann was quite a scorer in college at Mississippi but never quite lived up to his billing in the pros.


The details: Macaluso was a good college player at Canisius. He averaged 15.8 points per game for his career, and had more than 600 career rebounds. It earned Mike a spot in the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Macaluso was one of the last guys off the bench for the Braves in 1973-74, only playing 112 minutes. That was it for him in the pros.


Other 88s: The only Bill or Sabre to go in the No. 88 spot is running back Doug Goodwin, a running back who played three games with the 1966 Bills.



No. 89 – Alexander Mogilny of the Sabres


Taken in Round 5 in 1988


Other picks in that round: Nine of the players taken in that round reached the NHL, but Mogilny and Rob Ray were the only ones to play at least 500 games.


The details: Hockey fans know the story about how Mogilny was taken “just in case” by the Sabres in 1988. He was considered one of the world’s most talented junior players at the time, but the odds of getting him out of the Soviet Union were considered small. That’s why everyone was shocked when word came the following May that he had defected. Mogilny made his debut in the fall of ’89 as the 88th overall draft choice, so he wore No. 89 on his sweater. Alex reached his peak with a club record 76 goals in 77 games in 1992-93. He went on to play for three other NHL teams and finished with 473 games.


Other 89s: Don Edwards spent a year and a half before arriving in Buffalo for good during the 1976-77 season. He stayed through the summer of 1982, and was a solid if not spectacular netminder. Lucius Sanford joined the Bills at just the right time, as Chuck Knox had just arrived and wanted to rebuild the roster. Sanford stayed for nine seasons, almost always as a starter.



No. 90 – Willie Ross of the Bills


Taken in Round 12 in 1964


Other pick in that round: Ross was taken two picks before Pete Gogolak by the Bills.


The details: The Bills outbid the Cardinals for Ross, a running back out of Nebraska where he was one of the Big Ten’s top rushers. He only played for the Bills in 1964, when he ran the ball four times for 14 yards. Ross might be best remembered for his roommates that season, as he shared an apartment with Cookie Gilchrist and Booker Edgerson.


Other 90s: Willie is in a class by himself. Ross is the only player ever taken by a Buffalo team in draft slot No. 90.



No. 91 – Bobby Crockett of the Bills


Taken in Round 10 in 1966


Other pick in that round: The only player to participate in more NFL/AFL games than Crockett was Larry Cox of the Broncos.


The details: Crockett was an All-American at Arkansas, where he won a national championship in 1964. As a rookie, he was rushed into the starting lineup because of injuries at wide receiver. Bobby helped the Bills reach the AFL title game that season. A year later, Crockett tore ligaments in his knee in the first preseason game. He missed all of the 1967 season, and hung on as a reserve for the next two years. But Crockett was never the same after the injury. He retired and moved back to Arkansas, where he eventually bought and ran “Crockett’s Country Store” in Springdale.


Other 91s: Chuck Hurston took an odd route to and from Buffalo. The Bills drafted him in 1965 but waived him before the season. Kansas City claimed him, and the defensive end spent six seasons there. In 1971, the Chiefs let him go, and the Bills brought him back.



No. 92 – Pete Gogolak, Bills


Taken in Round 12 in 1964


Other pick in that round: The name of a Hall of Famer pops up at the start of the round: free safety Paul Krause. The problem is that Denver drafted him there but didn’t sign him. Krause went on to a fabulous career with the Redskins.


The details: You can’t write the history of pro football without mentioning Gogolak, an unlikely candidate for immortality since he came to this country from Hungary and knew nothing about the sport. Gogolak took up kicking after arrival, and kicked the football just like a soccer ball – from the side. He was the first to do that, and started a revolution among kickers. In 20 years, almost everyone from the pros was a soccer-style kicker. Gogolak lasted two years in Buffalo (both were championship seasons) before jumping to the NFL’s New York Giants after his first contract expired. New York’s action started an all-out war between the NFL and the AFL, which ended with a merger that summer.


Other 92s: Trent Edwards was something of a sleeper as a third-round choice in 2007. He stayed for more than two seasons as a Bill, but was cut right after starting for Buffalo the previous Sunday. Trent was signed by five different teams after that but never received much playing time. Borgen was a 2015 draft choice by the Sabres who stayed in college (St. Cloud State) for three years before turning pro. He still has a chance to make an impact here.



No. 93 – Ervin Parker, Bills


Taken in Round 4 in 1980


Other picks in that round: Eric Hipple played 102 games at quarterback after he was taken by the Lions. Western New Yorkers might remember native son Bill Hurley, who played quarterback at Syracuse but was tried as a defensive back by the Steelers.


The details: Parker spent two seasons as a reserve for the Bills in 1980 and 1981 before taking a spot as a starter in 1982. That was the year the players went on strike in midseason, so he only played nine games. Parker was waived in 1984; he had tryouts with the Chargers and Seahawks but never played another game in the NFL.


Other 93s: Van Williams was a backup running back in the mid-1980s for the Bills. Trey Junkin spent a little more than one season in Buffalo as a linebacker before he was waived. But he did better elsewhere as a tight end and long snapper, playing a total of 19 seasons in the NFL. Spencer Brown (2021) is a mammoth offensive lineman who the Bills hope will develop.



No. 94 – Angelo Crowell of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 2003


Other picks in that round: Jason Witten turned out to be one of the greatest tight ends in history after the Dallas Cowboys took him at No. 69. Future Buffalo Bills’ lineman Derrick Dockery went at No. 81 to Washington.


The details: Crowell spent five seasons with the Bills (2003-2007), and was a starting outside linebacker for the last three of them. But he had knee surgery before the 2008 season, left through free agency, signed with Tampa Bay, and tore a biceps muscle before he could play a game.


Other 94s: Matt Davidson never made it out of Rochester after the Sabres took him in 1995. The forward eventually played 56 NHL games with Columbus.



No. 95 – Jonas Jennings of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 2001


Other pick in that round: Steve Smith went to Carolina at No. 74. He caught 1,031 passes for 14,731 yards. Jennings was the last choice in the third round.


The details: Jennings’ career fit into a pair of four-year segments, and the Bills got the better of the deal. The offensive tackle started every game he played as a Bill (52 of them). Then he signed with San Francisco, and was bothered by injuries throughout his time as a 49er.


Other 95s: Alan Haworth had a better career than you might remember, but almost all of it was with Washington instead of the Sabres. The winger had seven straight 20-goal seasons before departing for Switzerland in 1988. Mitchell Brookins was a reserve running back for the Bills in 1984-85.



No. 96 – Dawson Knox of the Bills


Taken in Round 3 in 2019


Other pick in that round: Running back David Montgomery of the Bears went at No. 73. He has run for almost 2,000 yards in two seasons for the Bears.


The details: Knox gets the nod mostly on potential. The Bills liked him enough to trade a couple of fourth-round draft choices for him. He has started two seasons with the Bills, and has 52 catches with five touchdowns.


Other 96s: Chris Butler broke into the hockey pros in 2008, and didn’t stop until 2019. He was on the Buffalo roster from 2008 to 2011, and played with the Sabres until he was traded to the Flames. Damian Covington was a reserve linebacker for the Bills for three seasons. Harrison Phillips has been a reserve on the Bills’ defensive line for the last three seasons.



No. 97 – Rob Ray of the Sabres


Taken in Round 5 in 1988


Other pick in that round: Peter Popovic, a Montreal draft choice, went at No. 93 and played almost 500 NHL games.


The details: Rob has been part of the furniture in Buffalo for more than 30 years. He broke in with the Sabres in 1989-90 and stayed through 2003. Ray retired after a brief stop in Ottawa, and returned “home” to raise a family and work with the Sabres’ broadcast team. It’s been a nice run for a 40-goal scorer in the NHL – even if it took him 900 games to reach that number.


Other 97s: Richard Smehlik stepped into the Sabres lineup in 1992, and stayed through 2002. A steady, underrated defenseman, Smehlik was a good-sized part of some fine Sabre teams in the 1990s. Safety Coy Wire was a backup safety for the Bills for six seasons in the 2000s. Doug Rombough was a spare center for the Sabres in 1973-74.



No. 98 – Ken Sutton of the Sabres


Taken in Round 5 in 1989


Other pick in that round: Western New Yorker Aaron Miller went 88th overall to the Rangers that draft year. The defenseman played 677 games in the NHL.


The details: Sutton arrived in Buffalo in 1991 after almost two full years with Rochester. He was a regular defenseman for the Sabres for three years before he was traded to Edmonton. Ken didn’t stop playing until 2006, after playing three seasons in Germany.


Other 98s: Ken Priestlay played 117 games with the Sabres, but mostly bounced between Buffalo and Rochester. After playing for other organizations, he turned up in England to put in five productive seasons with Sheffield in England. Corey Louchiey spent three years as a reserve tackle with the Bills.



No. 99 – Jacob Bryson of the Sabres


Taken in Round 4 in 2016


Other pick in that round: Drake Batherson of Ottawa went at No. 121; he’s in his first full seasons with the Senators.


The details: Bryson is the easy pick here because he’s the only one who ever suited up for a Buffalo team. Jacob played his first game in the NHL on February 23, 2021 against the Devils. The Sabres won that game, but then went on a record losing streak from there. We’ll see how the defenseman turns out in the years to come.


Other 99s: Ron Gassert was picked by the Bills in 1962, but he signed with Green Bay instead and played 10 games for the Packers that year. Cam MacGregor was a sixth-round choice of the Sabres in 1978. The left winger bounced around the minor leagues until 1983.



No. 100 – Mike Stratton of the Bills


Taken in Round 13 in 1962


Other pick in that round: Nick Buoniconti went to Boston at No. 102, and ended up in the Hall of Fame for his play with the Patriots and Dolphins.


The details: The linebacker from Tennessee needed little time to become a standout for the Bills. Mike played 11 seasons in Buffalo, finishing his career as part of the Chargers in 1973. Stratton played on two AFL championship teams, and is best remember for a savage hit on Keith Lincoln of San Diego in the 1964 title game in War Memorial Stadium. Mike was selected for six straight AFL All-Star Games and was a first-team all-league pick three times.


Other 100s: Half of the career of safety Da’Norris Searcy was spent with the Bills. He later played with Tennessee and Carolina. Bob Logan could never stay on the Sabres roster in the 1980s.


Now, let’s look at the picks who didn’t crack the top 100 on draft day, but turned out to be memorable for one reason or another. As you can imagine, there are almost all Bills and Sabres on this list because their leagues had the longest draft.


No. 104 – Randy Smith of the Braves and Marcus Foligno of the Sabres.

No. 107 – Donnie Green of the Bills.

No. 108 – Yuri Khmylev of the Sabres.

No. 111 – Terrance McGee of the Bills.

No. 124 – Brian Holzinger of the Sabres.

No. 128 – John Kidd and Gabriel Davis of the Bills.

No. 132 – Tom Sestak of the Bills.

No. 133 – Kyle Williams of the Bills and Christian Ruuttu of the Sabres.

No. 138 – Ryan Miller of the Sabres.

No. 141 – Haygood Clarke of the Bills.

No. 156 – Brian Campbell of the Sabres.

No. 160 – Bob Chandler of the Bills.

No. 161 – Derek Plante of the Sabres.

No. 163 – Matt Milano of the Bills and Linus Ullmark of the Sabres.

No. 164 – Ales Kotalik of the Sabres.

No. 168 – Derek Smith of the Sabres.

No. 171 – Gary Anderson of the Bills and Nathan Peterman of the Bills.

No. 176 – Patrick Kaleta of the Sabres.

No. 178 – Mark Pike of the Bills.

No. 181 – Victor Olofsson of the Sabres.

No. 183 – Donald Audette and Taro Tsujimoto of the Sabres.

No. 188 – Daryle Lamonica of the Bills.

No. 192 - James Harris of the Bills.

No. 199 – Bob Kalsu of the Bills.

No. 213 – Jeff Wright of the Bills.

No. 214 – Uwe Krupp of the Sabres.

No. 220 – Paul Gaustad of the Sabres.

No. 224 – Stevie Johnson of the Bills.

No. 227 – Keith McKeller of the Bills.

No. 235 – Carlson Bailey of the Bills.

No. 244 – Jay Riemersma of the Bills.

No. 253 – Roland Hooks of the Bills.

No. 255 – Will Grant of the Bills.

No. 265 – Mike Lodish of the Bills.

No. 283 – Howard Ballard of the Bills.

No. 309 – Charles Romes of the Bills.

No. 336 – Dan Darragh of the Bills.


Footnote: The last name of interest numerically that I found was John Stearns – No. 423 of the Bills in 1973. He was a safety from Colorado who also played baseball, and he was the second overall pick by the Phillies. Stearns ended up playing catcher for 10 years with the New York Mets.


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