Duke Blue Devils' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

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

Duke Blue Devils' 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 Duke Blue Devils using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Ed Newman (G)
- Draft pick: Round 6, #156 overall in 1973
- Drafted by: Miami Dolphins
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (4 Pro Bowls)

#19. Michael Carter (S)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #154 overall in 2021
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#18. Ben Bennett (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 6, #148 overall in 1984
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#17. Tony Benjamin (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 6, #142 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#16. Steve Jones (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #129 overall in 1973
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#15. Chris Castor (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 5, #123 overall in 1983
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#14. Ray Farmer (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #121 overall in 1996
- Drafted by: Philadelphia Eagles
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#13. Chris Rumph (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #118 overall in 2021
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#12. Ross Cockrell (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #109 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#11. Charles Bowser (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #108 overall in 1982
- Drafted by: Miami Dolphins
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Jamison Crowder (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #105 overall in 2015
- Drafted by: Washington Football Team
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Bill Bryan (C)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #101 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Denver Broncos
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. Anthony Dilweg (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #74 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#7. Lyman Smith (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #64 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: Miami Dolphins
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#6. Lennie Friedman (G)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #61 overall in 1999
- Drafted by: Denver Broncos
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#5. Leo Hart (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #59 overall in 1971
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#4. Cedric Jones (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #56 overall in 1982
- Drafted by: New England Patriots
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Laken Tomlinson (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 2015
- Drafted by: Detroit Lions
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Daniel Jones (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #6 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: NY Giants
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#1. Mike Junkin (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 1987
- Drafted by: Cleveland Browns
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

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