Draft mania 2016 is upon us!
It is a very exciting time for all, and a nerve-wracking one for NFL executives. No matter how much preparation and film study is done, no matter how many people are interviewed about every prospect, sometimes you just never know.
For example, here is the case of the Glick brothers. I realize that most people have not heard of Gary and Fred Glick, but they both have associations with the draft, the Broncos and the state of Colorado.
Here's a relevant question, though: Has any player from a Colorado school ever been the very first selection in the entire NFL draft?
The answer is yes, and it was Gary Glick, selected number one overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Colorado A&M (now Colorado State) in 1956.
Glick was a defensive back, the only one taken in the first round in 1956 and the only defensive back to ever be taken with the first overall pick.
He played seven years of pro football in Pittsburgh, Washington and Baltimore before finishing his playing career with San Diego in 1963.
In the middle of his playing career, Gary started his coaching career with a year as a defensive backfield coach for the Denver Broncos in 1962 before going to the Chargers. After that, he had a successful coaching career in the Continental Football League and the Canadian Football League, then spent several years as a pro talent scout.
But his brother Fred, also drafted out of CSU, had a much better playing career.
And as opposed to being the first selection in the entire draft, Fred Glick was the 266th pick, taken in the 23rd round (yes, the 23rd round) by the Chicago Cardinals in 1959.
Fred played for the Cardinals for two seasons, one each in Chicago and in St. Louis after the team moved there in 1960, then he moved over to the American Football League and was a superb player for the Houston Oilers from 1961 to 1966.
Fred Glick made the AFL All-Star team in 1962, 1963 and 1964, and in 1963 he intercepted 12 passes, which was the all-time AFL single season record.
In a 1962 game for the Oilers against the Buffalo Bills, Fred was credited with 27 tackles, believed by most historians to be the most in a single game in the history of the AFL.
Both brothers got the chance to be on championship teams; Fred was an all-league defender for the Oilers when they won the AFL title in 1962 and Gary, in his final year as a player, was with that magnificent San Diego championship team in 1963. An argument could be made that the Chargers were the best in pro football that year, AFL or NFL.
They actually competed against each other twice. When the Oilers played the Broncos in 1962, Gary coached the Broncos' defensive backs and Fred lined up on the opposite side of the field for the Oilers as a defensive back.
The career of the number one draft choice was winding down while the 266th draftee was still going strong as an all-star player.
In that 1956 draft when Gary Glick was the first selection, other choices included five eventual Pro Football Hall of Famers -- Lenny Moore in round one by Baltimore, followed by Forrest Gregg (round two by Green Bay), Sam Huff (round three by the New York Giants), Willie Davis (round 15, the 181st overall choice, by Cleveland), and Bart Starr (round 17, the 200th overall selection, by Green Bay).
The message here is not to take any shots at all at Gary Glick, who had a fine career as player, coach and scout. It just shows that sometimes all the scouting in the world cannot prevent the 200th pick from being better than the first.
The thing I best remember about Gary Glick is him posing on the cover of Empire Magazine, the magazine of the Rocky Mountain West, a very classy weekly Sunday piece done by The Denver Post. Glick was posed in a photo of historical value, even today -- he was holding the new Bronco helmet, in the team's new orange, blue and white colors for 1962.
The great historical significance of the photo today is that the horse was not white. It was blue.
The horse was blue in '62 for the first five weeks of the season, an oversight yet to be corrected in team historical annals. Because televised games were still all done in black and white, the blue horse on the orange helmet looked like mud, and the horse was changed to white for game six.
But the first posed picture of a Bronco with an orange helmet remains Gary Glick with the orange helmet, blue horse, white center stripe in Empire Magazine, 1962.
Gary Glick died in Fort Collins about a year ago, and his brother Fred still resides in Aurora.
That is a brief look at the Glick brothers and serves as a reminder that player evaluation is not quite a perfect art.