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 1967 Draft, which was held March 14-15, 1967 in New York.
After conducting separate drafts while competing for the same players for seven years, the NFL and AFL held their first common draft in 1967. As part of the June 1966 NFL-AFL merger, the two leagues collaborated in one two-day selection meeting that went 17 rounds and yielded 445 players.
The Cardinals made a trade right before the draft, sending running back Bill Triplett to the New York Giants in exchange for linebacker Jerry Hillebrand. The Big Red’s starting linebackers (Dale Meinert, Bill Koman and Larry Stallings) were getting older, so management obtained the younger Hillebrand, projecting him as a starter in the middle. Alas, Hillebrand lasted only one season in St. Louis and never made a start.
But the Big Red got some help in the draft, particularly from wide receiver Dave Williams (first round), defensive tackle Bob Rowe (second) and linebacker Jamie Rivers (fifth).
1967 St. Louis Cardinals Draft
|2-43||Bob Rowe||DT||Western Michigan|
|3-69||Vidal Carlin||QB||North Texas|
|4-105||Andy Bowling||LB||Virginia Tech|
|5-123||Jamie Rivers||LB||Bowling Green|
|8-193||Mike Gold||T||Utah State|
|9-227||Ted Wheeler||G||West Texas A&M|
|13-331||Bob Duncum||T||West Texas A&M|
|16-410||Philip Spiller||DB||Los Angeles State|
|17-435||Terry Bacigalupo||DE||Oklahoma State|
*Coach Charley Winner called Dave Williams the “man who could help the club most” after the Cardinals took him with the 16th overall pick. Williams, who was an All-American in both football and track (as a decathlete) at the University of Washington, played five seasons (1967-71) for the Big Red. In 67 games (53 starts), he caught 162 passes for 2,335 yards (14.4-yard average) and 22 touchdowns. In 1968, he led the team with six receiving TDs. In 1969, he had a team-leading 56 catches and scored seven TDs.
*Cardinals defensive line coach Jim Champion put a “can’t miss” label on Western Michigan’s Bob Rowe, the Mid-American Conference’s Lineman of the Year as both a junior and a senior, who was taken in the second round. In nine seasons (1967-75) in St. Louis, Rowe played in 122 games and made 109 starts. The durable Rowe missed only one game from 1967 to 1975. He intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown; recovered nine fumbles; and was credited with 54.5 sacks, even though sacks didn’t become an official NFL start until 1982. Rowe also blocked 9.5 kicks during his career, including three blocks of kicker Jim O’Brien in the Cardinals’ 10-3 victory over Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts in the 1972 season opener.
*Mike Barnes spent two seasons (1967-68) with St. Louis. He played in 17 games (eight starts) and had two fumble recoveries.
*During Jamie Rivers’ six St. Louis seasons (1968-73), he played in 57 games and made 54 starts. He was the Big Red’s rookie of the year in 1968 and the team’s most valuable player in 1971, when he recovered three fumbles. He had five fumble recoveries overall and three interceptions for 33 yards while with the Cardinals. He was traded to the Jets after the ’73 season.
*Ted Wheeler played in nine games (no starts) in two seasons (1967-68) with St. Louis; Ed Marcontelli appeared in two games in his only season (1967) with the Cardinals; and Bob Duncum played in four games (no starts) in 1968.
*In his one season (1967) with the Cardinals, Philip Spiller contributed as both a defensive back (two interceptions for 13 yards) and returner (8.3-yard average on 15 punt returns and 21.9-yard average on 10 kick returns).
Williams’ Agent Asked for $1,000,000!
Thank you all the great articles about the Big Red. I started following them at 8/9 years old around ‘61-62.
The teams we had in the 60s were often so close. Our teams in 63, 64 or 66 could have gone all the way with another player or two or just a little good fortune. It was tough for Charley to stay well for a full slate but I thought 66 would finally be our year until he went down.
I read everything you write and I appreciate your many years of covering sports in St. Louis.
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Thank you, Michael!
Via Dennis.. lol
Sorry about that, Bob! You do a phenomenal job posting as you do about our beloved Big Red! I really appreciate it as it brings back wonderful memories yet bittersweet since we never quite made it all the way.
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Thanks! Dennis doesn’t actually have a WordPress account. He writes stories and emails them to me and I post them under an account with his name on it. I want him to get credit for his work, but he doesn’t see any replies here. I will send him your kind words, however.
Michael, thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate them.