’69 Cowboys Add New Weapon from Yale


This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.

When anyone mentions the innovative drafting methods of former head scout Gil Brandt, the draft pick that is often mentioned first is the selection of running back Calvin Hill. Hill’s selection was the result of computer calculations, but those calculations offered little condolence to ticked off Cowboys fans. The fans’ beef? Hill attended Yale, which wasn’t exactly known for its football.

Hill’s selection paid off immediately. Hill was named AP Rookie of the Year in 1969 after rushing for 942 yards and eight touchdowns. A big, bruising back, he was a great replacement for Don Perkins.

If Dallas fans should have been incensed about anything, it was the rest of the 1969 draft. Of 17 picks, 10 never played in the NFL. Another of the picks, Bob Belden, never played a down with the Cowboys. None of the other five lasted longer than three years in Dallas.

1969 Draft





1 Calvin Hill RB Yale Dallas, 1969-1974;
Washington, 1976-1977; Cleveland, 1978-1981.
2 Richmond Flowers WR Tennessee Dallas, 1969-1971; New York
Giants, 1971-1973.
3 Thomas Stincic LB Michigan Dallas, 1969-1971; New
Orleans, 1972.
3 Halvor Hagan G Weber State Halvor Hagen, 1969-1970.
New England, 1971-1972; Buffalo, 1973-1975.
5 Chuck Kyle LB Purdue  
6 Rick Shaw FL Arizona State  
7 Larry Bales FL Emory & Henry  
8 Elmer Benhardt LB Missouri  
9 Claxton Welch RB Oregon Dallas, 1969-1970, 1971;
New Orleans, 1970; New England, 1973.
10 Stuart Gottlieb T Weber State  
11 Sweeny Williams DE Prairie View Green Bay, 1970-1977.
12 Bob Belden QB Notre Dame  Dallas, 1969-1970
13 Rene Matison FL New Mexico  
14 Gerald Lutri T Northern Michigan  
15 Bill Justus DB Tennessee  
16 Floyd Kerr DB Colorado State  
17 Bill Bailey DT Lewis & Clark  

Grade the 1969 Draft

Grade the 1969 draft for the Dallas Cowboys by using the form below or by visiting Zoho Polls.

My grade: C-. Hill was a great pick, but an injury caused him to lose his starting position a year later to a new rookie named Duane Thomas. Although Hill eventually became the first back to reach 1,000 yards in a season, his career as a whole in Dallas was not what it could have been.

The others were hardly worth mentioning. Richmond Flowers was the son of former Alabama Attorney General Richmond Flowers, Sr., who was convicted in 1969 of extortion before being pardoned by President Jimmy Carter. ESPN ran a piece on Flowers, Jr.– the “Fastest White Boy Alive”  Richmond Flowers III was a receiver who tried out with the Cowboys in 2002.

  • My media guide says Belden made the active roster in ’69 and ’70.

    Doesn’t change your evaluation of the strength (or lack thereof) of the ’69 draft.

    I don’t know if he ever made it into a game, but he recorded no pass attempts in two years.

  • I listed Belden correctly last year in the greatest players by jersey number series:


    I was using Pro Football Reference and for some reason thought he only made the taxi squad.


  • I remember Hill’s rookie season — he was all arms and legs flailing about, trying to get every extra inch he could get.

    Didn’t he injure his toe his first year? I believe he was widely considered a lock to get a thousand yards had it not been for his toe injury, or was that later?

    Memory fades . . .