Northern Illinois Huskies' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

Written by:
February 24, 2022
Doug Pensinger // Getty Images

Northern Illinois Huskies' 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 Northern Illinois Huskies using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Darrell Hill (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 7, #225 overall in 2002
- Drafted by: Tennessee Titans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#19. Clarence Vaughn (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 8, #219 overall in 1987
- Drafted by: Washington Football Team
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#18. Randy Clark (C)
- Draft pick: Round 8, #215 overall in 1980
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#17. Tom Wittum (P)
- Draft pick: Round 8, #200 overall in 1972
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#16. Sutton Smith (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 6, #175 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#15. Mark Kellar (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 6, #155 overall in 1974
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#14. Curt Pardridge (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 6, #155 overall in 1986
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#13. Michael Turner (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #154 overall in 2004
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (2 Pro Bowls)

#12. Ken Moore (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #138 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#11. Justin McCareins (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #124 overall in 2001
- Drafted by: Tennessee Titans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Doug Free (T)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #122 overall in 2007
- Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Ryan Diem (T)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #118 overall in 2001
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. Scott Kellar (NT)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #117 overall in 1986
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#7. Kenny Golladay (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #96 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: Detroit Lions
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (1 Pro Bowls)

#6. Garrett Wolfe (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #93 overall in 2007
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#5. Doug Bartlett (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #91 overall in 1987
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#4. LeShon Johnson (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #84 overall in 1994
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Max Scharping (T)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #55 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Houston Texans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Jimmie Ward (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #30 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#1. Larry English (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #16 overall in 2009
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

Trending Now