Highest NFL draft picks from Louisiana

Written by:
February 8, 2022
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Highest NFL draft picks from Louisiana

Since the first draft was held in 1936, the National Football League (NFL) has used its annual culling of the top college talent in the country to grow its ranks, renew the popularity of the sport, and to increase competitive parity among all football teams. Though the draft process has undergone several iterations since that first draft took place, it remains true to its original design as an equalizer. In its current arrangement, the draft consists of seven rounds, whereby each of the 32 NFL teams receives one pick per round. The order of selection takes place in reverse order of how each team finished the previous season—in other words, barring any trades between teams, each round starts with the team that had the worst overall record and ends with the Super Bowl champions.

There is a long and storied history of teams coming out of the dustbin of failure to resurrect themselves through strategic drafting of top college players. In 1989, for example, the Dallas Cowboys finished 1-15, the worst record in their franchise history. But after drafting Emmitt Smith, who would go on to become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, first-round No. 1 pick Russell Maryland, and No. 1 pick and future Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, “America’s team” transformed itself into a powerhouse that won three Super Bowls throughout the 1990s.

And while for every top draft pick that went on to gridiron glory—such as 7-time All-Pro quarterback Peyton Manning—there are equally storied accounts of star players who almost didn't make it out of the draft at all, let alone make a team’s top pick, the NFL’s annual strategic raffle has retained, for teams and colleges alike, its power to change the face of the game with a single draft pick. To this, one need look no further than the 2017 draft, when nine teams passed over Patrick Mahomes, who has gone on to take the once-flailing Kansas City Chiefs to three Super Bowl appearances.

With the 2022 draft slated to be held April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker compiled a list of the highest NFL draft picks born in Louisiana since 1970 using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Frank Lewis (WR)
- Born: Houma, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 1971
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- University: Grambling St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (1 Pro Bowls)

#19. Gary Johnson (DT)
- Born: Shreveport, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 1975
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- University: Grambling St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (4 Pro Bowls)

#18. Joe Profit (RB)
- Born: Lake Providence, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #7 overall in 1971
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- University: La-Monroe
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#17. Ike Hilliard (WR)
- Born: Patterson, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #7 overall in 1997
- Drafted by: NY Giants
- University: Florida
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (0 Pro Bowls)

#16. Mark Carrier (DB)
- Born: Lake Charles, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #6 overall in 1990
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- University: USC
- Years as a starter in NFL: 11 (3 Pro Bowls)

#15. LaRon Landry (DB)
- Born: Metairie, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #6 overall in 2007
- Drafted by: Washington Football Team
- University: LSU
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (1 Pro Bowls)

#14. Morris Claiborne (DB)
- Born: Shreveport, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #6 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
- University: LSU
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#13. Richard Harris (DE)
- Born: Shreveport, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 1971
- Drafted by: Philadelphia Eagles
- University: Grambling St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#12. Glenn Dorsey (DT)
- Born: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 2008
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- University: LSU
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (0 Pro Bowls)

#11. Devin White (LB)
- Born: Springhill, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- University: LSU
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Ja'Marr Chase (WR)
- Born: Harvey, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 2021
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- University: LSU
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (1 Pro Bowls)

#9. Leonard Fournette (RB)
- Born: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #4 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: Jacksonville Jaguars
- University: LSU
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. Tyson Jackson (DE)
- Born: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #3 overall in 2009
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- University: LSU
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. Bert Jones (QB)
- Born: Ruston, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1973
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- University: LSU
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (1 Pro Bowls)

#6. Neil Smith (DE)
- Born: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1988
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- University: Nebraska
- Years as a starter in NFL: 11 (6 Pro Bowls)

#5. Marshall Faulk (RB)
- Born: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1994
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- University: San Diego St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 11 (7 Pro Bowls)

#4. Greg Robinson (T)
- Born: Thibodaux, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: St. Louis Rams
- University: Auburn
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Terry Bradshaw (QB)
- Born: Shreveport, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1970
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- University: Louisiana Tech
- Years as a starter in NFL: 13 (3 Pro Bowls)

#2. Peyton Manning (QB)
- Born: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1998
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- University: Tennessee
- Years as a starter in NFL: 17 (14 Pro Bowls)

#1. Eli Manning (QB)
- Born: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 2004
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- University: Mississippi
- Years as a starter in NFL: 14 (4 Pro Bowls)

You may also like: Highest-rated football recruits from Louisiana over the last 20 years

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