B Kansas City Chiefs Roger Staubach was scheduled to serve in the Navy for four years after his college career at the Naval Academy. That fact had most teams shy away from spending a high draft choice on him, and the Cowboys secured his rights with a 10th round pick while the American Football League Kansas City Chiefs used a 16th pick to select Stauback. After his service, Staubach joined the Cowboys and appeared in four Super Bowls with Dallas, winning two to complete the 1971 and 1977 seasons.
A Atlanta Falcons In the 1991 Draft the Atlanta Falcons selected Brett Favre in the first round, one choice ahead of the New York Jets, who would have taken him had the Falcons not. Ron Wolf was in the Jets front office that year and would later become the General Manager of the Green Bay Packers. Before the 1992 season, Wolf traded a first round draft choice to Atlanta for Favre, who went on to lead the Packers to a pair of Super Bowls including a win in Super Bowl XXXI to complete the 1996 season. Favre was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.
B Baltimore Colts John Elway had announced before the 1983 draft that he would not play for Baltimore Colts owner Robert Irsay. Still, Baltimore General Manager Ernie Accorsi drafted the quarterback out of Stanford with the first pick. He soon thereafter faced the prospect of getting nothing when Elway threatened to forego his football prospects and pursue a professional baseball career with the New York Yankees. That prompted the Colts to trade Elway and a deal was made with the Denver Broncos for Chris Hinton, Mark Herrmann and a first round draft pick. Elway went on to lead the Broncos to four Super Bowl appearances, including wins in his final two professional seasons, 1997 and 1998.
C Detroit Lions Y.A.Title was chosen by the Detroit Lions with their first pick in the 1948 National Football League draft. But, instead of signing with the Lions, Tittle chose to play for the Baltimore Colts of the All-American Football Conference. That team folded after the 1950 season, and in the 1951 NFL draft the San Francisco 49ers chose Tittle and he began an NFL career that landed him in the Hall of Fame.
C New York Giants With the fourth pick in the 2004 NFL Draft the Giants selected quarterback Philip Rivers with a pre arranged trade already in the works that would send Rivers to the San Diego Chargers along with three future draft picks for quarterback Eli Manning. Rivers spent the first 16 years of his pro career with the Chargers, and is considered one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the league without participating in a Super Bowl. After the 2019 season, Rivers signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
B San Diego Chargers In a maneuver similar to the one orchestrated by John Elway in 1983, Eli Manning’s father, Archie Manning, announced that his son would not play for the team with the first pick in the 2004 draft, the San Diego Chargers. Still, the Chargers did make Manning the first player selected that year and then in a prearranged deal traded him to the New York Giants for the Giants first pick that year, Philip Rivers, and three future draft picks, a first, third and fifth. Manning completed his 16 year professional career in 2019 after twice leading the Giants to Super Bowl wins over the New England Patriots to complete the 2007 and 2011 seasons.
A Oakland Raiders The Oakland Raiders had the first pick in the 1962 American Football League draft and selected quarterback Roman Gabriel. The Los Angeles Rams had the second pick in the draft that year for the NFL, and after the Washington Redskins selected Ernie Davis the Rams tabbed the North Carolina State quarterback. Gabriel opted to play for the Rams. In 1962 Al Davis had not yet joined the Oakland Raiders, but in 1966 he took a leave from the Oakland franchise to guide the AFL’s battle with the NFL which resulted in a merger that was prompted by Davis signing a number of top NFL quarterbacks, including Gabriel to a Raiders contract. With the merger, which was agreed to before the 1966 season, none of the QB’s signed by the AFL ever left their NFL teams by the terms of those contracts.
B Oakland Raiders Craig Morton played his college ball at the University of California and the Raiders made him a tenth round draft selection in 1965. Morton lasted so long in the AFL draft because he was clearly destined for the Dallas Cowboys, who selected him with their first choice, fifth overall, in the NFL draft. Morton was the only player selected with one of the first eight picks in that draft that was never named to a Pro Bowl, and two of the first four picks that year were honored with a Hall of Fame induction, Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers.
C Pittsburgh Steelers Johnny Unitas was a 9th round pick of the Steelers in 1955. The future Hall of Fame inductee and a man that remains in the conversation for the best quarterback of all time, was cut by the Steelers in his rookie season before being picked up by the Baltimore Colts. The man Pittsburgh kept as a backup quarterback while cutting Unitas was Jim Finks, who didn’t make a name for himself as a player in the NFL but as a great general manager while serving in that role with the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints. Finks was honored with a Hall of Fame induction in 1995 for his management skills, Unitas in 1979 for his player and leadership abilities.
B San Diego Chargers Drew Brees was drafted out of Purdue in the second round of the 2001 draft by the San Diego Chargers. In 2004, the Chargers spent a first round pick to acquire Philip Rivers, and on the final day of the 2005 regular season Brees suffered a labrum tear. The injury made his return somewhat uncertain, and with Rivers ready to step into the starting role, the Chargers allowed Brees to sign with the New Orleans Saints. In New Orleans, Brees guided his team to their only franchise Super Bowl win and after the 2019 season Brees ranks first all-time among NFL quarterbacks in completions (6867), passing yards (77,416), completion percentage (67.6), touchdown passes (547) and yards per game (281.5).