Looking Back At The 1937 NFL Draft


The 1937 NFL Draft was the second draft ever held. It took place in mid December of 1936 and included ten rounds with ten teams selecting players.

One of the interesting things regarding this draft was that the league chose players for a franchise that had not existed before. The Cleveland Rams were an expansion franchise for the 1937 season, and the first players on their roster were picked in this draft. The Rams would later move to Los Angeles and then to St. Louis, where they still play today.

The draft order for the first round was: Philadelphia Eagles, Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cardinals, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and the Cleveland Rams. This order repeated itself each round, with the exception of the Dodgers and the Cardinals who would trade positions each round due to finishing the previous season with identical win-loss records.

Two eventual members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame were chosen in the 1937 NFL Draft. The Washington Redskins picked quarterback Sammy Baugh in the first round with the 5th overall pick and the Brooklyn Dodgers picked tailback Ace Parker in the second round with the 13th overall pick.

Interesting facts about players drafted in 1937:

-No player taken in the draft played for more years, in more games, threw more touchdowns, or for more yards than Sammy Baugh.

-Sammy Baugh appeared in more Pro Bowls than any other player in the league, with six appearances.

-The player drafted in 1937 who would go on to rush for more career yards than anyone else taken that year was running back Ward Cuff who was picked by the New York Giants with the 34th overall pick in the fourth round.

-The Cleveland Rams may have been an expansion team that season, but they got a pretty good running back in the draft that year with Johnny Drake. With 24 career rushing touchdowns, Drake would score more on the ground than anyone else picked in the draft that year.

-The most career receiving yards put up by any player taken in the 1937 NFL Draft was 1,356 by the Chicago Cardinals’ Gaynell Tinsley who was picked with the 2nd pick in the second round. The most career receptions mark however for a player taken that year belongs to Ward Cuff, who caught 106 passes during his career. He was drafted by the Giants with the 34th overall pick in the fourth round.

-In those days only ten people were selected in each round. The University of Nebraska had three players picked in the first round in 1937. Fullback Sam Francis was picked first overall by Philadelphia, running back Lloyd Cardwell was picked 7th overall by Detroit, and then end Les McDonald was selected 8th overall by the Bears. Those would be the only players chosen out of Nebraska that year though.

-The college with the most players picked from in the 1937 NFL Draft was the University of Washington. Six Huskies players were chosen that season. Guard Max Starcevich in the 3rd round, center John Wiatrak in the 4th round, tackle Chuck Bond in the 5th round, back Jimmie Cain in the 6th round, halfback By Haines in the 7th round, and back Ed Nowogroski in the 9th round. Tied for second on this list with five players selected each are Marquette University and Texas Christian University.

-Some of the colleges that had players drafted into the NFL that season that look a little unusual now because they aren’t known as “football schools” include: Marquette, Santa Clara, St. Mary’s, Duquesne, Rhodes, Denver, Carnegie Mellon, Baldwin-Wallace, and Catholic.

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