Fred Miller went to three Pro Bowls and started two Super Bowls for the Baltimore Colts. He was a seventh-round pick out of LSU in 1962. Leonard Marshall went to two Pro Bowls and helped the New York Giants win two Super Bowls. He was a second-round pick out of LSU in 1983.
Penn State has had 23 linebackers selected in the first three rounds of NFL drafts – four in the first, nine in the second and 10 in the third. Nine of those linebackers became Pro Bowlers and two, Jack Ham and Dave Robinson, became Hall of Famers.
Oklahoma also has produced 43 first-round NFL draft picks, including 14 Top 5 picks. The Sooners have had three players selected first overall in NFL drafts – defensive end Lee Roy Selmon in 1976, halfback Billy Sims in 1980 and quarterback Sam Bradford in 2010.
Three times in his career Jimmy Orr led the NFL with his average per catch – 27.6 yards in 1958, 25.6 yards in 1968 and 21.7 yards in 1964. The NFL leader in 2017 was Detroit’s Marvin Jones at 18.1 yards per catch. Orr’s career average of 19.8 yards per catch is eighth best in NFL history.
Rick Casares started the parade in the 1950s. Emmitt Smith, Neal Anderson, John L. Williams and Fred Taylor followed. Add James Jones, Errict Rhett, Lorenzo Hampton and, more recently, Mike Gillislee – and the University of Florida has become one-stop shopping for running backs by NFL teams.
No one produces safeties like the University of Texas. Elliott is the sixth All-America safety from the school, following in the footsteps of Jerry Gray, Lance Gunn, Earl Thomas and Kenny Vaccaro. And the Longhorns have already produced six first-round picks at the position – Gray, Thomas, Vaccaro, Michael Griffin, Michael Huff and Stanley Richard.
The 1971 AFC playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins was the longest pro football game ever played. It was a game that sent the two franchises in opposite directions – the Dolphins would go on to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls and the Chiefs would go the next 14 seasons without qualifying for the playoffs.
On this podcastt we’ll discuss with Willie Lanier the 1970 regular-season game that featured a bench-clearing brawl with the Oakland Raiders that wound up a 17-17 tie, costing the Kansas City Chiefs a playoff spot and the chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
But there was more at stake in that Super Bowl than AFL pride and the chance to show the world that the Kansas City Chiefs had assembled one of the greatest defenses ever – in fact, the last Super Bowl championship defense to lead the league across the board in all four the major statistical categories – run, pass, total and scoring defense.
If players were voted into Canton based strictly on productivity, Joe Jacoby and Everson Walls would already have their busts. But Jacoby didn’t get into the room as a finalist until his 18th year of eligibility and Walls didn’t reach the room until his 20th year. The clock was ticking on them the moment they arrived. They wouldn’t have the luxury of 20 years of potential discussions like a Lewis, Moss and Urlacher.
After the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, there was a two-year window when Otis Taylor was the best wide receiver in football. He went to his first two Pro Bowls in 1971-72 and was a two-time first-team All-Pro. In 1971, he was the only player in the NFL with 1,000 yards in receptions.
Lynn Swann doesn’t have the statistics to qualify for the Pro Football Hall of Fame — not with just 366 career catches. But he’s enshrined in Canton because of his reputation of playing big in the biggest games.