The 1966 NFL expansion draft was a National Football League (NFL) draft in which a new expansion team, named the Atlanta Falcons, selected its first players. On June 30, 1965, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle awarded the first NFL franchise in the Deep South to the city of Atlanta and granted ownership to Rankin Smith Sr.[1]

So that the Falcons could become competitive with existing teams, the league awarded the Falcons the first pick in the 1966 NFL Draft, supplemented with the final pick in the first five rounds.[1] The NFL also gave the new team the opportunity to select current players from existing teams. That selection was provided by the expansion draft, held on February 15, 1966.[1] In this draft, held six weeks after the regular draft, the existing franchises listed players from which the Falcons could select to switch to the new team.

Each of the 14 established teams froze 29 players on their 40-man rosters that opened the 1965 season (That made 154 players available.). Atlanta picked one of the 11 and then each team froze two more. Atlanta was able to select two more for a total of 42 players chosen. The Falcons paid $8.5 million for the franchise. (Feb 17, 1966 St. Petersburg Times.)

Player selections

Player Position College team Original NFL team
Roger Anderson DT Virginia Union New York Giants
Larry Benz S Northwestern Cleveland Browns
Lee Calland DB Louisville Minnesota Vikings
Dennis Claridge QB Nebraska Green Bay Packers
Junior Coffey FB Washington Green Bay Packers
Ed Cook OG Notre Dame St. Louis Cardinals
Dave Crossan C Maryland Washington Redskins
Perry Lee Dunn RB Mississippi Dallas Cowboys
Bobby Franklin S Mississippi Cleveland Browns
Dan Grimm OG Colorado Green Bay Packers
Alex Hawkins WR South Carolina Baltimore Colts
Ralph Heck LB Colorado Philadelphia Eagles
Bob Jencks TE- PK Miami (OH) Washington Redskins
Bill Jobko LB Ohio State Minnesota Vikings
Rudy Johnson HB Nebraska San Francisco 49ers
Frank Lasky OT Florida New York Giants
Danny Lewis FB Wisconsin Washington Redskins
Errol Linden OT Houston Minnesota Vikings
Bill (Red) Mack FL Notre Dame Pittsburgh Steelers
Frank Marchlewski C Minnesota Los Angeles Rams
Billy Martin TE Georgia Tech Chicago Bears
Dale Memmelaar OG Wyoming Cleveland Browns
Dale Messer FL Fresno State San Francisco 49ers
Max Messner LB Cincinnati Pittsburgh Steelers
Dennis Murphy DT Florida Chicago Bears
Neal Petties SE San Diego State Baltimore Colts
Tim Powell DE Northwestern Los Angeles Rams
Dave Recher C Iowa Philadelphia Eagles
Guy Reese OT SMU Baltimore Colts
Bob Richards DE LSU Philadelphia Eagles
Jerry Richardson DB West Texas State Los Angeles Rams
Marion Rushing LB Southern Illinois St. Louis Cardinals
Bob Sherman DB Iowa Pittsburgh Steelers
Chuck Sieminski DT Penn State San Francisco 49ers
Carl Silvestri DB Wisconsin St. Louis Cardinals
Jim Simon OG-T Miami Detroit Lions
Ron Smith DB Wisconsin Chicago Bears
Don Talbert OT Texas Dallas Cowboys
Ernie Wheelwright FB Southern Illinois New York Giants
Bob Whitlow C Arizona Detroit Lions
Sam Williams DE Michigan State Detroit Lions
Maury Youmans DE Syracuse Dallas Cowboys

See also


  1. ^ a b c "1966 NFL Draft". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-09-27.