Big Red Draft History: 1963 NFL Draft

As we move closer to the 2023 NFL Draft (April 27-29), The Big Red Zone is looking back on each of the 28 St. Louis Cardinals drafts (1960-87). This installment focuses on the 1963 Draft, which was held on December 3, 1962, in Chicago.

1963 St. Louis Cardinals Draft

Hall of Famer Jackie Smith was the Cards 10th round selection in the 1963 draft.

One year after one of the worst drafts in team history, the Cardinals had one of its best. Eight players made the roster (two more would join it in ’64) and four of those eight (strong safety Jerry Stovall, linebacker Larry Stallings, defensive end Don Brumm and tight end Jackie Smith) started as rookies. “I still can’t believe that a draft could be so productive,” coach Wally Lemm said. “Several of them were among the best players we ever had.”

Rd-overallPlayer NamePositioncollege
1-2Jerry StovallDBLSU
1-13Don BrummDEPurdue
2-17   Bob ReynoldsTBowling Green
3-30Danny BrabhamLBArkansas
3-33Mike FracchiaBAlabama
4-45       Don EstesGLSU
5-58Bill ThorntonFBNebraska
6-73Bob ParemoreHBFlorida A&M
7-86Jim MossTSouth Carolina
8-101Jim CookGOklahoma
9-114Willis CrenshawRBKansas State
10-129Jackie SmithTENorthwestern La. State
11-142Jimmy BursonDBAuburn
12-157Chuck WalkerDTDuke
13-170Alex ZyskowskiBWichita State
14-185Paul LeaBOklahoma
15-198Ed Scrutchins DEToledo
16-213John SlafkoskyTNotre Dame 
17-226Dave MeggyesyLBSyracuse
18-241Larry StallingsLBGeorgia Tech
19-254Darnell HaneyTUtah State
20-269Bill ClayEArkansas

*A versatile player at LSU (halfback, defensive back, punter, return specialist), where he was the Southeastern Conference’s MVP as a senior in 1962, Jerry Stovall primarily was a strong safety for the Cardinals. In nine seasons (1962-71) with the Big Red, he played 97 games and made 95 starts. Had 18 career interceptions for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Recovered six fumbles. As a punter, he averaged 40.2 yards on 87 kicks. Returned 46 kickoffs for an average of 25.7 yards. Was a Pro Bowl selection in 1966, ’67 and ’68.

*Don Brumm played eight seasons for St. Louis (1963-69, ’72). Played in 111 games and made 84 starts. Recovered nine fumbles; returned two for touchdowns. Was a Pro Bowl selection in 1968. Played two seasons for Philadelphia (1970-71).

*In 10 seasons with St. Louis (1963-71, ’73), Bob Reynolds played in 122 games (105 starts. From 1965-71, he missed only four games. Became a full-time starter in ’64 at left tackle on an excellent offensive line that included left guard Irv Goode, center Bob DeMarco, right guard Ken Gray and right tackle Ernie McMillan. Voted to the Pro Bowl in 1966, ’68 and ’69. Released by St. Louis after ’71 season when Big Red drafted Dan Dierdorf and acquired Steve Wright. Played two season with the Eagles before returning to the Cardinals for one season in ’73.

*Nicknamed “Thunder” because of his aggressive inside running, Bill Thornton played 47 games in four seasons for St. Louis (1963-65 and ’67). Rushed 93 times for 544 yards and two touchdowns; caught 13 passes for 68 yards. His career was cut short by injuries.

*Born in St. Louis, where he went to Soldan High School, Willis Crenshaw never missed a game in six seasons (1964-69) with the Big Red. Rushed 583 times for 2,228 yards and 10 touchdowns; caught 104 passes for 797 yards and three TDs; and returned 27 kicks for a 19.1-yard average. Was the team’s leading rusher in ’68, when he started all 14 games and had 203 carries for 813 yards and six TDs. Played one season (1970) for Denver. 

*In 15 seasons with the Big Red, Jackie Smith played in 198 games with 160 starts. During one stretch, he played in 121 straight games before suffering an injury in the 1971 season. Despite playing in an era when tight ends were counted on more for their blocking ability, Smith caught 480 passes for 7,918 yards and 40 touchdowns. His best season was 1967, when he had 56 catches for 1,295 yards (third best in the NFL) and nine TDs. He had 38 career rushes for 327 yards (an 8.6-yard average) and three TDs. From 1964-66, he also was the Big Red’s punter, averaging 39.1 yards. Smith retired after the 1977 season but then came out of retirement to play for Dallas in ’78. A five-time Pro Bowl pick (1966-70), Smith was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994—becoming only the third tight end to be enshrined. 

*Jimmy Burson played defensive back for five seasons (1963-67) in St. Louis. Played in 51 games with 42 starts. Had 12 interceptions, including five in ’65, for 186 yards. Recovered four fumbles. Returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown against San Francisco in ’64. Traded to Atlanta after the ’67 season. Played one season (’68) for the Falcons; intercepted four passes for 100 yards and one touchdown.

*Chuck Walker played from 1964 to 1972 with St. Louis, was traded to Atlanta early in the ’72 season, and finished up his NFL career with the Falcons (’72-75). Started 96 games (74 starts) at defensive tackle in St. Louis. Recovered 15 fumbles, including a league-leading five in ’69, for the Cardinals. Had a team-leading 12 sacks in ’67. Selected to the Pro Bowl in ’66 and was named second team All-Pro in 1967. His 50.5 career sacks is good for 7th all-time in Cardinals history.

*Although he made more of an impact as a social justice advocate, on and off the field, Dave Meggyesy played seven seasons (1963-69) with St. Louis before retiring in the prime of his career. Played in 82 games (25 starts). 

*Larry Stallings was an 18th-round draft pick who played like a first-rounder for the Big Red. He started 12 games as a rookie, and from 1966 until the end of his career in ’76, he missed only two of a possible 154 games. He was a durable, dependable fixture at left linebacker who, during his 14 seasons with the Cardinals, intercepted nine passes for 76 yards and one touchdown, recovered 13 fumbles for 86 yards and two TDs and had nine sacks (according to the Pro Football Archives). Surprisingly, he was selected to only one Pro Bowl (1970). 

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