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Today's Tidbit... The AFL's 1965 Redshirt Draft
Leafing through the 1967 Official American Football League Guide, I found information regarding their 1965 draft, including some elements I had not thought about in a while. Unlike today when the draft occurs at the end of April, the NFL and AFL held separate 1965 drafts on Saturday, November 28, 1964, two days after Thanksgiving. The drafts occurred as Army-Navy, Clemson-South Carolina, Notre Dame-USC, Georgia Tech-Georgia, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, and others played rivalry games. The scheduling seems odd today, but it ensured neither league got a jump on signing graduating seniors.
They occurred without the benefit of The Combine, the first of which was almost twenty years in the future. However, the first step in that direction came in 1964 with the formation of the Lions, Eagles, Steelers Talent Organization (LESTO) to "combine" scouting resources and information.
Another oddity in those years was the future or redshirt drafts. Neither league signed players until they completed their college eligibility, and there was no early entry process. However, both leagues allowed teams to draft players who redshirted and had remaining college eligibility. The NFL included "future" picks as part of the standard draft, so teams could pick a player they could sign the next day or a future player that could not play until the 1966 season.
The AFL, meanwhile, held a regular draft and a separate redshirt draft, which occurred after its eight teams completed the regular draft.
Below are the results of the AFL's 1965 Redshirt Draft, which included notable names such as:
Houston Oilers, Round 1: Donny Anderson
New York Jets, Round 1: Johnny Roland
New York Jets, Round 9: Dick Kotite
Oakland Raiders, Round 11: Tom Longo
It is also worth noting there wasn’t a 300-pounder in the bunch. The heaviest was Jim Weatherwax, who went to San Diego in the 5th round, followed by two Grambling linemen who went to Kansas City. Of course, as members of the redshirt draft, they had another year's growth before tipping the professional scales.
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