Western Kentucky Hilltoppers' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

Written by:
February 24, 2022
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Western Kentucky Hilltoppers' 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 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#18. Jazz Jackson (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 16, #395 overall in 1974
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#17. Paul Gray (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 10, #264 overall in 1984
- Drafted by: New Orleans Saints
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#16. Prince Charles Iworah (CB)
- Draft pick: Round 7, #249 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#15. Jonathan Dowling (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 7, #247 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: Oakland Raiders
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#14. Brandon Doughty (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 7, #223 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: Miami Dolphins
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#13. Davlin Mullen (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 8, #217 overall in 1983
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#12. Andrew Jackson (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 6, #203 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#11. Mike White (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #171 overall in 2018
- Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#10. David Carter (C)
- Draft pick: Round 6, #165 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Houston Texans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Mel Mitchell (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #150 overall in 2002
- Drafted by: New Orleans Saints
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#8. Quanterus Smith (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #146 overall in 2013
- Drafted by: Denver Broncos
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#7. Jeremi Johnson (FB)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #118 overall in 2003
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#6. Joel Iyiegbuniwe (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #115 overall in 2018
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#5. Tyler Higbee (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #110 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#4. Virgil Livers (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #83 overall in 1975
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Joe Jefferson (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #74 overall in 2002
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#2. Taywan Taylor (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #72 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: Tennessee Titans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#1. Forrest Lamp (G)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #38 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

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