Big Red Draft History: 1969 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 1969 Draft, which was held January 28-29, 1969 in New York.

The Big Red struck gold with their first-round selection (No. 19 overall) when they picked Missouri All-American Roger Wehrli. A fast, smothering defensive back who could also return kicks, Wehrli had been projected as a third-round candidate until an NFL scout asked him to run a 40-yard dash immediately after the Hula Bowl.

Wehrli, in full uniform, ran it in 4.5 seconds. After that, his draft stock skyrocketed.

Wehrli became a Cardinals starter immediately in ’69 and was selected to the NFL’s All-Rookie Team after intercepting three passes and returning them for 44 yards. During his 14 seasons in the NFL, all with St. Louis, Wehrli frustrated quarterbacks—both foes and friends alike. Cardinals quarterback Jim Hart purposely tried to avoid throwing into Wehrli’s area in practice because it could be frustrating trying to complete a pass. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach considered Wehrli the toughest pass defender he faced.

“There wasn’t a better cornerback I played against,” Staubach said. “The term ‘shutdown corner’ originated with Roger Wehrli. He was a great, great defensive back. You had to be aware of him all the time.”

1969 St. Louis Cardinals Draft

rd-overallplayer namepositioncollege
1-19Roger WehrliDBMissouri
2-35Rolf KruegerDETexas A&M
3-71Chip HealyLBVanderbilt
3-73Terry BrownDBOklahoma State
4-97Bill RhodesGFlorida State
5-108Walt ShockleyRBSan Jose State
5-123Gene HueyDBWyoming
6-149Amos Van PeltRBBall State
8-201Wayne MulliganCClemson
9-227Cal SnowdenDEIndiana
10-252Gerald WarrenKNorth Carolina State
11-279Gary KerlLBUtah
12-305Howard TaylorRBNew Mexico State
13-331Dick HeinzDTUC Santa Barbara
14-357Ed RoseboroughQBArizona State
15-383Fritz LathamTTuskegee
16-409Junior RigginsRBKansas
17-435George HummerCArizona State

*Roger Wehrli played in 193 games (175 starts) during his NFL career (1969-82). A fixture at right cornerback most of that time, he intercepted 40 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns. As a return man, he averaged 7.4 yards on 42 punt returns and 7.6 yards on five kick returns. Wehrli also was the holder on field goal and extra point attempts. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls (1970-71-74-75-76-77-79) and to three consecutive Associated Press All-Pro teams (1975-77). Wehrli was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

*Although he played only three seasons for the Cardinals (1969-71), Rolf Krueger played in all 42 games and made 33 starts. He was credited with 6.5 sacks.

*In his two seasons with St. Louis (1969-70), Chip Healey played in all 28 games, starting in four. He had one sack.

*Terry Brown played in 24 games (six starts) in two seasons in St. Louis (1969-70). As a rookie, he recovered two fumbles and intercepted one pass for 21 yards.

*Wayne Mulligan played in 60 games (39 starts) in five seasons with the Big Red. He became the starting center in 1970 after Bob DeMarco was released. Mulligan also started 13 games in 1970 before suffering a broken arm late in the season.

*Cal Snowden played in 21 games in his two seasons with the Cardinals (1969-70). He had 3.5 sacks in ’70.

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