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 1966 Draft, which was held on November 27, 1965, in New York.
Since 1966 was the last year the NFL Draft had 20 rounds, this seems like a good point to stop and evaluate the Cardinals’ drafts from 1960 (their first season in St. Louis) to 1966. In those seven drafts, the Big Red selected 151 players. According to our player ratings, based on what those players contributed to the Cardinals, this is the breakdown:
To say the Cardinals underachieved in those seven drafts would be generous.
In 1966—just like the year before, when they selected quarterback Joe Namath—the Cardinals lost their No. 1 pick in a bidding war with the AFL’s New York Jets. St. Louis chose Oklahoma linebacker Carl McAdams with the eighth overall pick.
Back then, longtime Big Red linebackers Dale Meinert, 33, and Bill Koman, 32, were moving into the twilight era of their careers and eventually would need to be replaced. So, picking McAdams, a College Coaches All-America selection, seemed reasonable. But McAdams foiled the Cardinals’ reasoning by signing with the Jets, who took him in the third round of the AFL Draft.
The rest of the draft did not yield much production for the Cardinals. Four other picks played with other teams. Ten players never played in the NFL. And the five players who signed with the Big Red had average performances, at best, in St. Louis.
1966 St. Louis Cardinals Draft
|2-23||Harold Lucas||T||Michigan State|
|6-88||Tim Van Galder||QB||Iowa State|
|11-163||Bobby Williams||DB||Central Oklahoma|
|14-210||LaVerle Pratt||L B||Idaho|
|16-238||Dick Kasperek||C||Iowa State|
|18-271||Willie Jones||DT||Kansas State|
|19-285||Tony Golmont||DB||North Carolina State|
*In three seasons with the Cardinals (1966-68), Dave Long played in 42 games (17 starts). He was a solid backup and started 12 games in 1967 recording five sacks nd recovering a fumble. He also played four seasons with New Orleans.
*Although Tim Van Galder was drafted in 1966, he didn’t play in the NFL until six years later because of the time he spent in the Army and on the Big Red’s taxi squad. TVG made a bit of a splash when he started the 1972 season opener against Johnny Unitas and the Colts. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 110 yards in the Cards 10-3 victory. Van Galder made four more starts in ’72, the only season he played in the NFL. His career numbers: 79 pass attempts, 40 completions, 434 yards, one touchdown, seven interceptions.
*Charlie Bryant played in 18 games (no starts) in two seasons with St. Louis (1966-67). He rushed eight times for 47 yards, and averaged 24.6 yards on 16 kick returns. Bryant also played two years in Atlanta and three years in the Canadian Football League.
*Bobby Williams played two seasons in St. Louis (1966-67) and played in 28 games (one start). Primarily a return specialist, he averaged 23.1 yards on 31 kick returns. He also played three seasons in Detroit.
*In three seasons with the Big Red, Dick Kasperek played in 20 games (no starts).