Bills Beat continues our latest series, as we highlight a few of the Buffalo Bills players with each of Buffalo’s draft classes throughout history. The 1963 class included 27 player selections, ten of which never played a down in the AFL or the NFL. This class saw seven of the Bills’ top ten selections choose to play in the NFL, rather than for Buffalo of the AFL and one that didn’t play at all for either league. Additionally, of the 17 drafted after the top ten, another nine did not play at all either.
That leaves only nine players left and of those nine, only three played for Buffalo, and one of those three played professional football for only one season. It was a lackluster draft but did include a player with one of the best nicknames in all football, The Mad Bomber, even though most of his highlights came after leaving Buffalo. So, with that, let’s get some of those players that were drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1963.
Jim Dunaway – Defensive Tackle – 1963 – 1971
Jim Dunaway was the longest-tenured Bills player from the 1963 draft, giving the Bills nine years of service. He played in 126 games and started in 114 of those games. Dunaway played in an era when sacks were not an official stat, but he is credited with unofficially 23.5 career sacks, including a season-high, six sacks in 1967.
Dunaway was a four-time AFL Pro Bowl selection and First-Team AFL All-Pro in 1966 and an anchor of the Bills’ defensive line during the AFL Championship years. He also had a stretch from 1965 to 1970 when he started every single game of 14-game seasons. He played all but one year of his career with the Buffalo Bills but his final year in the league was with the Miami Dolphins, where he played and started six games as part of the undefeated and Super Bowl Champion, ’72 Dolphins.
Daryle Lamonica – Quarterback – 1963 – 1966
Daryle Lamonica was drafted in the 24th round, 188 overall in the 1963 AFL Draft. He was also selected by the Green Bay Packers in round 12, 168th overall, of the NFL Draft. Lamonica chose the AFL and spent the first four years of his career with the Buffalo Bills before being traded to the Oakland Raiders in 1966, where his career really took off.
Lamonica became known as The Mad Bomber after he joined the Raiders and all he did was win. During his time with the Raiders, he compiled an impressive win/loss record of 62 – 16 – 6 and led the team to Super Bowl II against the NFL team that drafted him, the Green Bay Packers. Lamonica even won during his time with the Bills as well, having compiled a perfect 4 – 0 record and helped pull out a few wins late in games.
Lamonica was a five-time AFL Pro Bowl selection, as well as a two-time, First Team AFL All-Pro. He produced two seasons of 30 or more touchdowns and three seasons of over 3,000 yards passing, during a time when football was still more about smashmouth, run-oriented offenses. He also holds the Raiders record for passing touchdowns in a single season, when he tossed 34 in 1969, a record that still stands today. His 30 passing touchdowns in 1967, stands as the third best total in team history.
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