Wake Forest Demon Deacons' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

Written by:
February 24, 2022
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Wake Forest Demon Deacons' 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 Wake Forest Demon Deacons using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Tony Mayberry (C)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #108 overall in 1990
- Drafted by: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (3 Pro Bowls)

#19. Jeremy Thompson (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #102 overall in 2008
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#18. Chris Givens (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #96 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: St. Louis Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#17. Brandon Ghee (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #96 overall in 2010
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#16. Ed Bradley (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #88 overall in 1972
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. Dustin Lyman (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #87 overall in 2000
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. Ed George (T)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #80 overall in 1970
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#13. Kenny Duckett (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #68 overall in 1982
- Drafted by: New Orleans Saints
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#12. Syd Kitson (G)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #61 overall in 1980
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#11. Carlos Basham (DL)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #61 overall in 2021
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#10. Ricky Proehl (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #58 overall in 1990
- Drafted by: Phoenix Cardinals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Fred Robbins (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #55 overall in 2000
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. Jessie Bates III (S)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #54 overall in 2018
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. David Braxton (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #52 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#6. Alphonso Smith (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #37 overall in 2009
- Drafted by: Denver Broncos
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#5. Mike Elkins (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #32 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#4. Ben Coleman (G)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #32 overall in 1993
- Drafted by: Phoenix Cardinals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Calvin Pace (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #18 overall in 2003
- Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Kevin Johnson (CB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #16 overall in 2015
- Drafted by: Houston Texans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#1. Aaron Curry (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #4 overall in 2009
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

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