CLICK ON THE PHOTO BELOW OF JERRY RICE FOR A SNEAK PEEK AT “CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT: 1985”
By James Weiner, Producer
The story has always been that during a road trip to Houston, Bill Walsh turned on the news, saw Mississippi Valley State highlights of receiver Jerry Rice, fell in love with him and then masterminded a way to draft him. According to Sam Wyche, the Bengals coach in 1985, that story is not completely accurate. Walsh did make a draft day trade with the New England Patriots to move up from 28 to 16 in the hopes of drafting a game-breaking receiver, but Rice may not have been his first choice. University of Miami’s Eddie Brown was considered by many to be the top receiving prospect entering the 1985 draft. However, on draft day, a rumor circulated that Brown was contemplating signing with the USFL. Brown’s stock slipped and he was still available when the Bengals were on the clock at 13. With 30 seconds left before the Bengals time ran out, Wyche got a call from Walsh about Brown and offered a trade involving the swapping of 1st round picks. If Wyche had accepted it, it’s very possible Brown would have wound up a 49er and Rice would have ended up a Bengal.
See the premiere of “Caught in the Draft: 1985″ Thursday April 16th at 9 p.m. ET, only on NFL NETWORK.
The Caught in the Draft series is produced by David Plaut & Neil Zender
The episode “Schemes and Dreams” was produced by Greg Frith & James Weiner.