Mississippi State Bulldogs' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

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

#20. Elgton Jenkins (C)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #44 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (1 Pro Bowls)

#19. Johnthan Banks (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #43 overall in 2013
- Drafted by: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#18. Benardrick McKinney (ILB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #43 overall in 2015
- Drafted by: Houston Texans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (1 Pro Bowls)

#17. Reggie Kelly (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #42 overall in 1999
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#16. J.J. Johnson (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #39 overall in 1999
- Drafted by: Miami Dolphins
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#15. Mardye McDole (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #39 overall in 1981
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#14. Preston Smith (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #38 overall in 2015
- Drafted by: Washington Football Team
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#13. Chris Jones (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #37 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (3 Pro Bowls)

#12. Darius Slay (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #36 overall in 2013
- Drafted by: Detroit Lions
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (4 Pro Bowls)

#11. Derek Sherrod (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #32 overall in 2011
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#10. Johnathan Abram (S)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #27 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Oakland Raiders
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Montez Sweat (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #26 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Washington Football Team
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. Glen Collins (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #26 overall in 1982
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#7. Eric Moulds (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #24 overall in 1996
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 11 (3 Pro Bowls)

#6. Jeffery Simmons (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #19 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Tennessee Titans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#5. Walt Harris (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #13 overall in 1996
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 12 (1 Pro Bowls)

#4. Fletcher Cox (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #12 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Philadelphia Eagles
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (6 Pro Bowls)

#3. Jimmy Webb (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #10 overall in 1975
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Michael Haddix (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 1983
- Drafted by: Philadelphia Eagles
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#1. Johnie Cooks (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1982
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (0 Pro Bowls)

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