By Patrick Mondout
John McKay left USC following the 1975 season to take the head coaching
job with the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the first pick of the
1977 draft, the McKay took his former USC running back Ricky Bell and
passed on 1976 Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett. Bell had one good
season - the remarkable 1979 year for the Bucs - before injuries and a
medical condition ended his career in 1982. Tragically, Ricky Bell died of
a heart ailment in 1984.
With the Bucs set to take Ricky Bell, Dorsett knew he'd be heading to
Seattle who owned the number 2 pick overall. Cowboys General Manager Tex
Schramm was always happy to move up to take a future Hall of Famer and
offered a first round pick (which Dallas had acquired from San Diego) and
three second rounders. The Seahawks, a second year team in need of lots of
players, readily accepted. They parlayed their draft bundle into G Steve
August (#14 round 1), T Tom Lynch and LB Terry Beeson plus C Geoff Reece,
WR Duke Ferguson, and LB Cronan. The last three came after the 'Hawks
traded the third second rounder for more players.
Five of those six played a combined 24 years for Seattle, but none were
stars. While it is true they helped the expansion Seahawks reach the
playoffs in 1979, Dallas clearly came out on top in this deal.
Dorsett is the only player inducted in the Hall from this class though
San Francisco's 11th round pick - a tight end from BYU who never played a
down in the NFL, still has a shot. He won a Super Bowl in 2000 as head
coach of the Ravens. As you might have guessed, the mystery draft choice
is Brian Billick. He'll have to win a few more titles, but he has a shot.
Below is the first round of the 1977 NFL draft. We also have the
entire 12 round draft.
1 - Acquired from Seattle Seahawks
2 - Acquired from Buffalo Bills
3 - Acquired from Philadelphia Eagles
4 - Acquired from San Diego thru Dallas
5 - Acquired from San Francisco 49ers
6 - Acquired from Washington Redskins
7 - Acquired from St. Louis Cardinals
8 - Acquired from Dallas Cowboys
9 - Acquired from Oakland Raiders