Temple Owls' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

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

Temple Owls' 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 Temple Owls using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Dan Klecko (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #117 overall in 2003
- Drafted by: New England Patriots
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#19. Evan Rodriguez (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #111 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#18. Mathias Nkwenti (T)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #111 overall in 2001
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#17. Tavon Young (CB)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #104 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#16. Bill Singletary (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 4, #97 overall in 1973
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#15. Don Bitterlich (K)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #92 overall in 1976
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#14. Bernard Pierce (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #84 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#13. Matt Hennessy (C)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #78 overall in 2020
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#12. Ralph Jarvis (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #78 overall in 1988
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#11. Terrance Knighton (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #72 overall in 2009
- Drafted by: Jacksonville Jaguars
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Dion Dawkins (G)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #63 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (1 Pro Bowls)

#9. Anthony Young (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #61 overall in 1985
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. Lance Johnstone (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #57 overall in 1996
- Drafted by: Oakland Raiders
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. Jaiquawn Jarrett (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #54 overall in 2011
- Drafted by: Philadelphia Eagles
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#6. Rock Ya-Sin (CB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #34 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#5. Tre' Johnson (G)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #31 overall in 1994
- Drafted by: Washington Football Team
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (1 Pro Bowls)

#4. Muhammad Wilkerson (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #30 overall in 2011
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (1 Pro Bowls)

#3. Paul Palmer (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #19 overall in 1987
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Haason Reddick (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #13 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#1. John Rienstra (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #9 overall in 1986
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

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