Roche's statsYear Team Sacks1970 DEN 0.51971 GB 5.01972 GB 4.01973 GB 4.51974 GB 7.01975 GB 3.01976 GB 8.51977 SEA 3.51978 SEA 0.0Williams' statsYear Team Sacks1970 GB 3.51971 GB 6.01972 GB 10.51973 GB 3.01974 GB 7.01975 GB 10.01976 GB 8.01977 GB 3.0
Both Williams and Roche first played in the NFL in 1970, Williams via Dallas and Roache through Denver. Williams was drafted by the Cowboys in the 11th round (283rd overall) of the 1969 NFL Draft. Roache was a higher pick, a Broncos draftee in the 2nd round (37th overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. Both were standouts at HBCUs, Williams at Prarie View A&M and Roche at Southern.
Williams was traded will a backup center to Green Bay for Herb Adderley. Roche was acquired by the Packers in a trade that dent Don Horn to Denver and had Denver and Green Bay swap positions in the first round.
Today these are unknown players to the younger croud, in our view. They were not stars, in was an era where great defensive ends roamed the NFL, especially in the NFC—Hall of Famers like Carl Eller, Claude Humphrey, and Jack Youngblood hogged up most of the Pro Bowl spots leaving few for other players, even someone like "Sweeney Williams" who had double-digit sacks in 1972 and 1975.
In 1972 Williams even got a nod on Vinny DiTrani's (of The Bergan Record) "Allmost All-Pro" team—a team dedicated to picking under-the-radar players who had great seasons but who may have been overshadowed for one reason or another.
In 1976 the Packers bookends each had 8 or more sacks on a team that tallied 43—the most since the heydays of Vince Lombardi and his linemen like Willie Davis, Henry Jordan, and Lionel Aldridge.
However, both players faded after that season and were both out of football by 1979.
The Packers drafted Mike Butler and Ezra Johnson in the first round in 1977 making Williams expendable (he spent that season as a defensive tackle) and Roche expendable. And they were expended for sure.
But it is good to remember such players once in a while and so we do that today.