Pittsburgh Panthers' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

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

#20. Tom Ricketts (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #24 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#19. Bob Buczkowski (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #24 overall in 1986
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Raiders
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#18. Randy Holloway (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #21 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#17. Mark May (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #20 overall in 1981
- Drafted by: Washington Football Team
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (1 Pro Bowls)

#16. Jeff Otah (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #19 overall in 2008
- Drafted by: Carolina Panthers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. Tony Woods (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #18 overall in 1987
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. Ruben Brown (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #14 overall in 1995
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 13 (9 Pro Bowls)

#13. Darrelle Revis (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #14 overall in 2007
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (7 Pro Bowls)

#12. Aaron Donald (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #13 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: St. Louis Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (8 Pro Bowls)

#11. Randy McMillan (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #12 overall in 1981
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Tim Lewis (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #11 overall in 1983
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Burt Grossman (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. Hugh Green (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #7 overall in 1981
- Drafted by: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (2 Pro Bowls)

#7. Jimbo Covert (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #6 overall in 1983
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (2 Pro Bowls)

#6. Bill Maas (NT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 1984
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (2 Pro Bowls)

#5. Chris Doleman (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #4 overall in 1985
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 13 (8 Pro Bowls)

#4. Larry Fitzgerald (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #3 overall in 2004
- Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 17 (11 Pro Bowls)

#3. Sean Gilbert (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #3 overall in 1992
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (1 Pro Bowls)

#2. Tony Dorsett (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
- Years as a starter in NFL: 11 (4 Pro Bowls)

#1. Bill Fralic (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1985
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (4 Pro Bowls)

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