Washington State Cougars' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

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

#20. Andrew Jones (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #60 overall in 1975
- Drafted by: New Orleans Saints
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#19. Mike Utley (G)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #59 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: Detroit Lions
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#18. Rueben Mayes (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 3, #57 overall in 1986
- Drafted by: New Orleans Saints
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (2 Pro Bowls)

#17. James Darling (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #57 overall in 1997
- Drafted by: Philadelphia Eagles
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#16. Jason Hanson (K)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #56 overall in 1992
- Drafted by: Detroit Lions
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#15. Dorian Boose (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #56 overall in 1998
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#14. Erik Howard (NT)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #46 overall in 1986
- Drafted by: NY Giants
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (1 Pro Bowls)

#13. Lamont Thompson (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #41 overall in 2002
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#12. Raonall Smith (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #38 overall in 2002
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#11. Ricky Reynolds (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #36 overall in 1987
- Drafted by: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Deone Bucannon (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #27 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Andre Dillard (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #22 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: Philadelphia Eagles
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#8. Steve Broussard (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #20 overall in 1990
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. Ken Greene (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #19 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: St. Louis Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#6. Mark Fields (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #13 overall in 1995
- Drafted by: New Orleans Saints
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (2 Pro Bowls)

#5. Keith Millard (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #13 overall in 1984
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (2 Pro Bowls)

#4. Marcus Trufant (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #11 overall in 2003
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (1 Pro Bowls)

#3. Jack Thompson (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #3 overall in 1979
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Ryan Leaf (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1998
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#1. Drew Bledsoe (QB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1993
- Drafted by: New England Patriots
- Years as a starter in NFL: 12 (4 Pro Bowls)

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