The Memphis Tigers’ best NFL draft picks since 1970 | Tennessee State Titles

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While most colleges and universities field a football team as part of their general athletics program, there are some for whom football is more than just a sport – it’s almost a religion. Devotion to the team and its colors is as important to the culture of this school as a religious icon is to a believer. These programs actively seek out and recruit notable high school players, and are in turn rigorously enforced by seniors eager to make a name for themselves at the college level.

Some of the most notable college football empires include Notre Dame, the universities of Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Nebraska and Oklahoma, Penn State, Ohio State – the list goes on.

But for every benchmark football school, there is an outlier that has produced some of the most successful and beloved players in the game. Think Jackson State, which gave us “Sweetness” itself, Hall of Fame carrier of Walter Payton balloon. Or Mississippi Valley State, which produced the three-time Super Bowl champion and No. 1 player in NFL history, as voted by the NFL Network, 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Each year, the college draft serves as a source of renewal for professional football and a testament to the quality of college programs nationwide. With the 2022 NFL Draft set to take place April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker has compiled a list of the Memphis Tigers’ top NFL draft picks using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the final draft year.

#20. Donnie Elder (DB)

– Draft pick: round 3, #67 overall in 1985

– Drafted by: NY Jets

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 0

#19. Antonio Gibson (AR)

– Draft Pick: Round 3, #66 overall in 2020

– Drafted by: Washington Football Team

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#18. Tim Long (C)

– Draft pick: round 3, #66 overall in 1985

– Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 0

#17. Cliff Taylor (RB)

– Draft pick: 3rd round, #62 overall in 1974

– Drafted by: Chicago Bears

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 0

#16. David Brandon (LB)

– Draft pick: round 3, #60 overall in 1987

– Written by: Buffalo Bills

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. Richard Williams (RB)

– Draft pick: 2nd round, #56 overall in 1983

– Drafted by: Washington Football Team

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 0

#14. Michael Stone (DB)

– Draft pick: 2nd round, #54 overall in 2001

– Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 0

#13. Eddie Hill (AR)

– Draft pick: 2nd round, #54 overall in 1979

– Drafted by: Los Angeles Rams

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 0

#12. Anthony Miller (WR)

– Draft pick: 2nd round, #51 overall in 2018

– Drafted by: Chicago Bears

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#11. Idrees Bashir (DB)

– Draft pick: 2nd round, 37th overall in 2001

– Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#ten. Keith Butler (LB)

– Draft pick: 2nd round, #36 overall in 1978

– Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 9 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Serious Gray (WR)

– Draft pick: 2nd round, #36 overall in 1979

– Drafted by: NY Giants

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. Isaac Bruce (WR)

– Draft pick: 2nd round, 33rd overall in 1994

– Drafted by: Los Angeles Rams

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 13 (4 Pro Bowls)

#7. Jerome Woods (DB)

– Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 1996

– Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 7 (1 Pro Bowls)

#6. DeAngelo Williams (RB)

– Draft pick: 1st round, 27th overall in 2006

– Drafted by: Carolina Panthers

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 6 (1 Pro Bowls)

#5. Paxton Lynch (QB)

– Draft pick: 1st round, 26th overall in 2016

– Drafted by: Denver Broncos

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 0

#4. Bob Rush (C)

– Draft pick: Round 1, #24 overall in 1977

– Drafted by: San Diego Chargers

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Derrick Burroughs (DB)

– Draft pick: 1st round, 14th overall in 1985

– Written by: Buffalo Bills

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Dontari Poe (DT)

– Draft pick: 1st round, 11th overall in 2012

– Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 8 (2 Pro Bowls)

#1. Keith Simpson (DB)

– Draft pick: Round 1, #9 overall in 1978

– Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks

– Years as a starter in the NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

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