The wheels began spinning early for Draft Day '86 in the National Football League yesterday even though the official "Gentlemen, start your phone calls" isn't until 8 a.m. today in New York.
The Dallas Cowboys yesterday traded reserve quarterback Gary Hogeboom to Indianapolis in exchange for a swap of second-round picks (the Cowboys now get pick No. 33 overall; the Colts, No. 47) and a conditional choice in the 1987 draft based on Hogeboom's playing time next season. A Cowboys official said yesterday that a third-round pick would be the best Dallas could get with the conditional choice.
Out of the fog of secrecy and smoke screens in the 28 teams' draft rooms, this much seemed clear yesterday:
*The Tampa Bay Bucaneers told the attorneys for Auburn running back Bo Jackson yesterday that they will select the Heisman Trophy winner with the No. 1 selection, according to Richard Woods, one of Jackson's attorneys in Mobile, Ala. Atlanta is expected to select nose tackle Tony Casillas of Oklahoma with the second pick.
*The Redskins hold the No. 30 choice (third pick in the second round) and reiterated yesterday that they will try to use their 11 picks to fulfill needs at linebacker and wide receiver.
General Manager Bobby Beathard said the Redskins, who have one pick each in the second and third round, would like to add a third early-round choice. "I would consider giving up our first pick this year if we could get an additional pick out of it," Beathard said, according to the Associated Press. "But our chances of making a trade are slim at best. I don't think the prospects of us getting a better pick than 30th are too good."
*Coaches and personnel directors around the NFL say they will be hesistant to draft any of the 57 college seniors who reportedly tested positive for drugs (54 for marijuana, three for cocaine) during scouting combine tests in February in New Orleans.
Cowboys President Tex Schramm said yesterday Dallas "possibly" would select one of these players, but only after careful background research.
"And if there is another guy of the same value," Schramm said, "we'd take him."
The best-laid plans are easily torn asunder when some other team makes a switch. The trade between the Cowboys and Colts reflects how difficult it has become to hedge your bet come draft day in the NFL.
The Colts had swapped top picks with New Orleans, moving from No. 6 to No. 4, figuring they would then be in position to take the quarterback they craved -- Purdue's Jim Everett. The Colts had figured that Tampa Bay would take Jackson with the No. 1 pick, that Atlanta would take Casillas with the second pick and that Houston, in need of a defensive end, would select Alabama's Jon Hand or trade down to gain an additional pick.
Yesterday, however, Oilers General Manager Ladd Herzeg indicated that the Oilers were interested in Everett, rated slightly higher than Iowa's Chuck Long by most scouts. (Of course, this is hardly sweet music to the ears of Warren Moon, the Oilers' starter.)
Just because Hogeboom was granted his wish to be traded, the Cowboys hardly seemed enthralled by the deal. Coach Tom Landry said: "I'm not sure we are satisfied with the trade, but we should get a really good player by moving up so high in the second round."
As for Jackson, Woods reiterated that the Heisman Trophy winner plans to wait until the major league baseball draft June 2 before deciding whether to play football or baseball. Even a massive contract offer from Tampa Bay owner Hugh Culverhouse won't dissuade Jackson from waiting on the baseball draft.
"Bo says if the offer is there now, it should be there in five weeks. He's concerned about making an informed decision," Woods said.
Major league baseball scouts rave about Jackson's potential. However, just as they are aware of his rare power-plus-speed combination, they are aware that he had 30 strikeouts in 69 at-bats for Auburn this season.
"He has the innate ingredients to be a star, but he needs time to refine them. That [high number of strikeouts] ought to be enough to register to Bo Jackson that he needs time working on the fine points of hitting," said Larry Himes, director of scouting for the California Angels. "But I also think that [number of strikeouts] is also indicative of a strength-type guy. Check the strikeouts on Harmon Killebrew or Mickey Mantle or Reggie Jackson. They are high, too."
On the one hand, Himes said: "There isn't anybody in major league baseball who can compare with him in terms of speed and strength."
Yet, on the other hand, Himes said he and most other baseball scouts don't expect Jackson to choose baseball, especially because he likely would have to spend one or more years in the minor leagues.
"I think if he's logical, then logic should direct him in the path of the NFL," he said. "I'd love to see him play baseball. I just don't think that's going to happen."
However, Woods said: "Bo is weighing the longevity of a baseball career versus a shorter football career. The income structure in baseball is far higher than in football. In terms of dollars, a good baseball player will make more than a great football player."
For area college seniors, today is a day of conflicting emotions. Some might be drafted not long after they awaken in the morning; others might wait all day and never hear their name called.
Virginia all-America offensive tackle Jim Dombrowski is likely to be the first area player selected, perhaps as early as the fifth, sixth or seventh pick overall (St. Louis, New Orleans and Kansas City).
"I'm going to be a little nervous, I'm sure," Dombrowski said, "but tomorrow is the day we've been working toward for a long time."
Dombrowski plans to have his family over to his Charlottesville apartment to watch the draft on television. The party will start early, but that's all right. "I've got 7 a.m. classes," Dombrowski said.
Maryland running back Rick Badanjek, a likely middle-round choice, will be fishing at a pond on his family's 30 acres near Warren, Ohio.
"It's hollering distance from the phone," he said.
Badanjek, a short-yardage specialist who hopes to be selected by the sixth round, would love to be drafted by the Redskins.
"I've gotten used to the area," he said, "and they play my kind of football."
He has talked to Beathard and recently took some tests at Redskin Park.
"They were saying the basic thing, 'We're going to get you,' " Badanjek said. "But they all say that."