Oklahoma State Cowboys' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

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

Oklahoma State Cowboys' 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 Oklahoma State Cowboys using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Thurman Thomas (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #40 overall in 1988
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (5 Pro Bowls)

#19. Teven Jenkins (OL)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #39 overall in 2021
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#18. Emmanuel Ogbah (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #32 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: Cleveland Browns
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#17. Rashaun Woods (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #31 overall in 2004
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#16. R.W. McQuarters (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 1998
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. James White (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #25 overall in 1976
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. John Ward (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #25 overall in 1970
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#13. Dez Bryant (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #24 overall in 2010
- Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (3 Pro Bowls)

#12. Brandon Weeden (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #22 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Cleveland Browns
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#11. Brandon Pettigrew (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #20 overall in 2009
- Drafted by: Detroit Lions
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Reuben Gant (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #18 overall in 1974
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Hart Lee Dykes (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #16 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: New England Patriots
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. Phil Dokes (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #12 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. Kevin Williams (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #9 overall in 2003
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 12 (6 Pro Bowls)

#6. Leslie O'Neal (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 1986
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 12 (6 Pro Bowls)

#5. Justin Gilbert (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: Cleveland Browns
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#4. Russell Okung (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #6 overall in 2010
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (2 Pro Bowls)

#3. Justin Blackmon (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Jacksonville Jaguars
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Terry Miller (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#1. Barry Sanders (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #3 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: Detroit Lions
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (10 Pro Bowls)

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