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 1975 Draft, which was held January 29-30 in New York.
Looking at the list of players the Cardinals selected in the 1975 NFL draft, coach Don Coryell sounded pleased.
“I don’t think we’ve picked a guy who doesn’t have a chance to make our club,” Coryell told the Post-Dispatch. Then, winking, he said, “And some of them have an excellent chance.”
That was in late January, shortly after the draft. Six months later, when training camp started, Coryell more likely was rolling his eyes, not winking them.
Of the 15 players the Big Red drafted, 10—67 percent—never played in the NFL. Of the remaining five, two started their NFL careers with other teams. That left first-round pick Tim Gray, 10th-round pick Mike McGraw, and 11th-round pick Jerry Latin as the only players who made the 1975 roster—and only Latin, a running back from Northern Illinois who Coryell said could be “the sleeper of the draft” lasted more than one year in St. Louis.
1975 St. Louis Cardinals Draft
|1-21||Tim Gray||DB||Texas A&M|
|2-46||Jim Germany||RB||New Mexico St.|
|8-188||John Adams||DT||West Virginia|
|8-202||Louis Lauriano||DB||Long Beach St.|
|11-280||Jerry Latin||RB||Northern Illinois|
|15-386||Ron Franklin||DT||Boise St.|
|17-436||Ken Monroe||RB||Indiana St.|
*The Cardinals selected Jerry Latin based more on his junior season at Northern Illinois, when he rushed 146 times for 884 yards and 12 touchdowns, than his senior year, when a shoulder injury limited his contribution to 35 rushes for 150 yards. Latin spent most of his three-plus seasons with the Big Red as a backup to Terry Metcalf, although he did rush for 112 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown, in the final game of his rookie season—a 24-13 win over Detroit. His final stats for the Big Red: 133 rushes for 496 yards and four touchdowns; 16 receptions for 152 yards; and 21 kick returns for a 23-yard average. He was traded to the Rams early in the 1978 season.
*Texas A&M defensive coach Melvin Robertson gushed over Tim Gray, the Cardinals’ first-round pick. “He’s the ninth kid drafted out of our secondary in the 10years I’ve been here, and there’s no doubt he’s the best by far,” Robertson said. “He’s the best hitter, the best pass defender and has the best attitude. He’s just the best.” Well, the best lasted only one season with the Big Red. After that, he played three years for Kansas City and one year for San Francisco.
*Mike McGraw played in four games in his only season with St. Louis.
*Jim Germany, who averaged 110 yards rushing per game and scored 14 TDs in his senior season at New Mexico State, couldn’t make the Cardinals’ roster. However, he did play in the Canadian Football League and was the Edmonton Eskimos’ feature back on five Grey Cup championship teams.
Incredibly disappointing. Jim Germany went on to have a great career in the CFL. But up north, across the border, it’s a different style of football. Nothing against Tim Gray, but immediately after the Big Red picked him 4 defensive backs were taken over the following 7 picks. All of them had careers that lasted at least until 1983. And Dave Brown, who was drafted by the Steelers would play in more than 200 games retiring in 1989. A draft like this just sets a team back.
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