Big Red Draft History: 1965 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 1965 Draft, which was held November 28, 1964 in New York.

For the second year in a row, the Cardinals’ draft turned out to be generally disappointing. Except for running backs Johnny Roland and Roy Shivers, both of whom had one more year of college eligibility (at Missouri and Utah State, respectively) and wouldn’t start their NFL careers until 1966, the team received minimal production from its 20 selections. 

The Big Red made a play for Joe Namath, taking the Alabama quarterback with their first-round pick (12th overall), but lost him in a bidding war with the New York Jets, who made him the first overall pick in the AFL Draft. The Cardinals dispatched two representatives to Tuscaloosa, AL to meet with Namath in his dorm room and try to sign him to a contract. Namath told them he wanted a $200,000 annual contract and a Lincoln Continental convertible.

“They said, ‘Oh, my god.’ The two guys fell off the bed,” Namath recalled in a 2021 podcast on The Exchange. “They went into this ‘My god’ motion and then it made me feel like a, I don’t know, a jerk.”

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