UMass Minutemen's highest NFL draft picks since 1970

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

#14. Tim Berra (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 17, #421 overall in 1974
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#13. Michael Cox (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 7, #253 overall in 2013
- Drafted by: NY Giants
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#12. Sandro Vitiello (K)
- Draft pick: Round 10, #252 overall in 1980
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#11. Bill Cooke (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 10, #244 overall in 1975
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#10. Ed McAleney (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 8, #237 overall in 1976
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#9. Larnel Coleman (T)
- Draft pick: Round 7, #231 overall in 2021
- Drafted by: Miami Dolphins
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#8. Rob Blanchflower (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 7, #230 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#7. Isaiah Rodgers (CB)
- Draft pick: Round 6, #211 overall in 2020
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#6. Bruce Kimball (G)
- Draft pick: Round 7, #192 overall in 1979
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#5. Khari Samuel (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #144 overall in 1999
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#4. Tajae Sharpe (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #140 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: Tennessee Titans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Bubba Pena (G)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #92 overall in 1971
- Drafted by: Cleveland Browns
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#2. Andy Isabella (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #62 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#1. Vlad Ducasse (T)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #61 overall in 2010
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

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