Kansas Jayhawks' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

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

Kansas Jayhawks' 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 Kansas Jayhawks using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Dave Scott (G)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #71 overall in 1976
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#19. LeRoy Irvin (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #70 overall in 1980
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (2 Pro Bowls)

#18. David Jaynes (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #66 overall in 1974
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#17. Mitch Sutton (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #63 overall in 1974
- Drafted by: Philadelphia Eagles
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#16. Eddie Lewis (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #57 overall in 1976
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. Wayne Capers (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #52 overall in 1983
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. Delvin Williams (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #49 overall in 1974
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (2 Pro Bowls)

#13. Jim Bailey (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #44 overall in 1970
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#12. Kurt Knoff (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #43 overall in 1976
- Drafted by: Denver Broncos
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#11. Steve Lawson (G)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #41 overall in 1971
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Terry Beeson (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #41 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Emmett Edwards (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #40 overall in 1975
- Drafted by: Houston Texans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#8. Kirby Criswell (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #31 overall in 1980
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#7. Nolan Cromwell (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #31 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (4 Pro Bowls)

#6. Dana Stubblefield (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #26 overall in 1993
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (3 Pro Bowls)

#5. Aqib Talib (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #20 overall in 2008
- Drafted by: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (5 Pro Bowls)

#4. Don Goode (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #15 overall in 1974
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. David Verser (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #10 overall in 1981
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#2. Mike Butler (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #9 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#1. John Riggins (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #6 overall in 1971
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- Years as a starter in NFL: 12 (1 Pro Bowls)

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