Stanford Cardinal's highest NFL draft picks since 1970

Written by:
February 24, 2022
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Stanford Cardinal's highest NFL draft picks since 1970

While most colleges and universities field a football team as part of its general athletics program, there are some for which football is more than merely a sport—it’s akin almost to a religion. Devotion to the team and its colors is as important to that school’s culture as a religious icon is to a believer. These programs actively scout and recruit notable high school players, and are in turn rigorously applied to by matriculating seniors eager to make a name for themselves at the collegiate level.

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

But for every touchstone football school, there is an outlier that has produced some of the most successful and cherished players in the game. Think Jackson State, which gave us “Sweetness” himself, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. Or Mississippi Valley State, which yielded 3-time Super Bowl champion and #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 to 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 compiled a list of the highest NFL draft picks from the Stanford Cardinal using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Coby Fleener (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #34 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#19. Joshua Garnett (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#18. Kwame Harris (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #26 overall in 2003
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#17. David DeCastro (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #24 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (6 Pro Bowls)

#16. Brad Muster (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #23 overall in 1988
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. Darrien Gordon (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #22 overall in 1993
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. Brian Holloway (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #19 overall in 1981
- Drafted by: New England Patriots
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (3 Pro Bowls)

#13. Andrus Peat (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #13 overall in 2015
- Drafted by: New Orleans Saints
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (3 Pro Bowls)

#12. Jeff Siemon (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #10 overall in 1972
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (4 Pro Bowls)

#11. Gordon King (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #10 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: NY Giants
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Tommy Vardell (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #9 overall in 1992
- Drafted by: Cleveland Browns
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Bob Whitfield (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 1992
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- Years as a starter in NFL: 11 (1 Pro Bowls)

#8. Christian McCaffrey (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: Carolina Panthers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (1 Pro Bowls)

#7. Darrin Nelson (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #7 overall in 1982
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#6. James Lofton (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #6 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 14 (8 Pro Bowls)

#5. Greg Sampson (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #6 overall in 1972
- Drafted by: Houston Texans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#4. Solomon Thomas (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #3 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Jim Plunkett (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1971
- Drafted by: New England Patriots
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Andrew Luck (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (4 Pro Bowls)

#1. John Elway (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1983
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- Years as a starter in NFL: 16 (9 Pro Bowls)

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