4) Joe DeLamielleure
Selected: 26th overall in 1973
Played: 13 seasons, including 8 with the Bills
Career highlights: 6-time Pro Bowler, 6-time first team & 2-time second team All Pro, 1975 NFLPA AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year, 1970s NFL All-Decade team, Hall of Fame
Drafted 26th overall in 1973, Joe DeLamielleure had a more immediate impact than anyone could have imagined. After discovering a physical condition with his irregular heartbeat was not serious, he went on to earn All Rookie honors.
However, this only begins to tell the story, with DeLamielleure helping the Bills lead the league in rushing as the mainstay of an offensive line nicknamed the “electric company”. In fact, the 3,088 rushing yards is still the second-most in NFL history, behind the 1978 New England Patriots, who beat the record thanks to two extra games.
That rookie season ended with the Detroit Michigan native being named co-offensive lineman of the year. This marked the start of major success for the guard during his time in Buffalo.
DeLamielleure went on to earn five Pro Bowl invites, five First-Team All-Pro selections and two further offensive linemen of the year awards with the Bills. While 1975 and 1977 were his best years, 1974 was probably his favorite, as it represented the only time he went to the playoffs during his spell in Western New York.
The 66-year old was traded to the Cleveland Browns in 1980, but he had already left his mark in Buffalo and around the league, being named to the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade team. He then capped his career with the ultimate individual honor, deservedly being elected into the Hall of Fame in 2003.