July 3, 2012

Rookie of the Year: Paul Flatley, 1963


Split End, Minnesota Vikings



Age: 22
College: Northwestern
Height: 6’1”    Weight: 187

Prelude:
The Vikings, looking to upgrade their receiving corps, chose Flatley in the fourth round of the 1963 NFL draft (the Denver Broncos took him seventh in the AFL draft). Lacking great speed, he had displayed outstanding technique as a college receiver and moved immediately into Minnesota’s starting lineup as a rookie.

1985 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 51 [10, tied with Sonny Randle]   
Most receptions, game – 7 (for 156 yds.) vs. Baltimore 11/17
Yards – 867 [10]
Most yards, game - 174 (on 6 catches) vs. Detroit 11/24
Average gain – 17.0 [14]
TDs – 4
100-yard receiving games - 2

Scoring
TDs – 4
Points – 24

Awards & Honors:
NFL Rookie of the Year: UPI, Sporting News

Vikings went 5-8-1 to finish in a tie for fourth place in the NFL Western Conference.

Aftermath:
Flatley suffered through an injury-plagued season in 1964 and caught just 28 passes, but bounced back with consecutive 50-catch years in 1965 and ’66 (for 896 and 777 yards, respectively). He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1966. However, his reception total dropped to 23 in ’67 and, with the faster Gene Washington waiting in the wings, Flatley was dealt to Atlanta in 1968. He played three seasons with the Falcons, catching 45 passes for 834 yards in ’69, finishing up in 1970. For his career, he had 306 catches for 4905 yards (16.0 avg.) and 24 TDs.

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Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

[Updated 2/8/14]

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