For the first time in its history, the National Football League drafted a black quarterback on the first round yesterday to play that position.
Doug Williams of Grambling State University, a school with a predominantly black enrollment of about 4,000, was the only quarterback picked in the first round. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 17th player chosen.
Maryland quarterback Mark Manges was selected on the fourth round by the Los Angeles Rams.
Eldridge Dickey, a quarterback from Tennessee State, was selected on the first round in 1968 by the Oakland Raiders as a wide receiver-quarterback and was tried out as a wide receiver.
Williams led all quarterbacks in the voting for the Heisman Tophy, won by running back Earl Campbell. The University of Texas star was the top pick in the draft, by the Houston Oilers.
Williams finished fourth in the Heisman voting. He is one of seven children reared in the small town of Zachary, La., near Baton Rouge.
He was an All-America selection and led the nation in passing as a senior, completing 181 of 352 passes for 38 touchdowns and 3,229 yards in 11 games.
He set a National Collegiate Athletic Association career record of 93 touchdowns by passing. Williams is 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, and scouting reports said he had the best arm of any college quarterbacks last season.
The Associated Press quoted Williams as saying at Grambling, "Outstanding . . . Tampa Bay is a young team that is building. The Buccaneers had a tough defense but they need to improve on offense. If they averaged 15 points a game last year on offense they would have been in the playoffs."
He said he "anticipated a good race" for the quarterback job against veterans Mike Boryla, Gary Huff and Jeff Blount. "I don't feel as though I can go in and take over," he said. "I am not worried that much about playing all the time the first year, as long as I play eventually."
James Harris of the San Diego Chargers said Williams figures to have a more encouraging opportunity as a black quarterback in the NFL than he did.
Williams, also a product of Grambling, was drafted in the eighth round by Buffalo for the 1969 season.
"The key," Harris said on the telephone from Los Angeles, "is being picked on the first round. When you are drafted on the first round they have a lot of money invested in you. They won't give up on you until you have had every opportunity to make good."
George Allen, who frequently has made news on draft day, did again when his Los Angeles Rams made a trade of draft picks and selected running back Elvis Peacock of Oklahoma on the first round.
The Rams swapped their 23rd pick in the first round and a fourth-round pick that Allen, as Redskin coach, had traded to Los Angeles for Tim Stokes to Cleveland for the Browns' 20th selection in the first round. The deal, made minutes before Cleveland was scheduled to select, enabled the Rams to take Peacock before Minnesota and Pittsburgh had a chance at him.
General Manager Joe Thomas of the San Francisco 49ers continued to occupy the attention of the other clubs and keep pressure on the Rams in the Western Division of the National Football Conference by taking tight end Ken MacAfee of Notre Dame on the first round.
Thomas, who has acquired O. J. Simpson from Buffalo, wide receiver-kick returner Freddie Solomon from Miami and speedy kick returner Larry Jones from the Redskins, said, "We needed a blocking tight end. Since we got O. J. we really needed a man to get him around the corner." New head Coach Pete McCulley, former Redskin receiver coach, said, "We got ourselves a solid football player."
MacAfee, 6-4 and 250 pounds, was an All-America selection after catching 128 passes for 15 touchdowns and 1,758 yards in four seasons at Notre Dame. His father, Ken Sr., was an end at Alabama and played with the New York Giants.
The Oilers last week traded tight end Jimmy Giles, their first and second-round picks this draft and their Nos. 3 and 5 for next year to Tampa Bay for the top pick in this draft and chose Campbell.
He is 6 feet, 200 pounds and was the nation's leading ground gainer and scorer in 1977. He said, "I owe everything to Mike Trope (his agent/attorney). A guy in my position needs a guy like him."
Running back Terry Miller of Oklahoma State was the fifth player taken on the first round, by Buffalo. Half-back-type Miller is 6 feet, 196 pounds and said he expects to be used "more as a pass receiver" by the Bills, who were thought to have drafted him to replace O. J. Simpson.
The Colts selected tight end Reese McCall of Auburn on the first round and linebacker Mike Woods of the University of Cincinnati on the second round.