The all-time LSU NFL team


Y.A. Tittle photo courtesy of San Francisco 49ers

NFL teams should not lose sight of LSU defensive linemen Greg Gilmore and Frank Herron on their draft boards later this month.

Neither projects as a high pick in the 2018 draft but LSU defensive linemen are worth tracking as the draft wears on. The Tigers has become one of college football’s best feeders for defensive line play.

Earl Leggett, Anthony McFarland, Glenn Dorsey and Michael Brockers all left LSU to become first-round NFL draft picks.

Leggett was the 13th overall pick of the 1957 draft and wound up playing 12 seasons with two of the NFL’s iconic defenses, the Monsters of the Midway (Bears) and the Fearsome Foursome (Rams). McFarland was the 15th overall pick of the 1999 draft and a starter on two Super Bowl champions, the 2002 Buccaneers and the 2006 Colts. Dorsey was the fifth overall pick of the 2008 draft and Brockers the 14th overall choice of the 2012 draft.

Ironically, none of those first-round picks was voted to a Pro Bowl. But Kyle Williams was voted to four of them with the Buffalo Bills. He was a fourth-round pick out of LSU in 2006.

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. Henry Thomas also went to two Pro Bowls with the Minnesota Vikings. He was a third-round pick out of LSU in 1987. Bennie Logan was another third round pick out of LSU. He started at defensive tackle for the AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs last season.

Both Gilmore and Herron were rated as five-star recruits coming out of high school and both have NFL size – Gilmore at 6-4, 318 pounds and Herron at 6-3, 311. Gilmore became a two-year starter at nose tackle and also played in the Senior Bowl. Herron became a one-year starter and also played in the NFLPA Bowl.

Not all the great players from LSU arrived in the NFL in the first round, especially at defensive tackle.

Here’s the all-time LSU NFL team:

QB Y.A. Tittle, Hall of Fame

HB Steve Van Buren, Hall of Fame

FB Jim Taylor, Hall of Fame

WR Odell Beckham Jr., 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

WR Ken Kavanaugh, 1940s NFL all-decade team

TE Billy Cannon, 2-time AFL champion

T    Andrew Whitworth, 2 Pro Bowls

T    Remi Prudhomme, 7 years, Super Bowl champion

G    Alan Faneca, 9 Pro Bowls, Hall of Fame finalist

G    Trai Turner, Pro Bowl

C    Kevin Mawae, 8 Pro Bowls, Hall of Fame finalist

DE Leonard Marshall, 2-time NFL champion

DE Michael Brockers, 14th overall pick of 2012 NFL draft

DT Kyle Williams, 4 Pro Bowls

DT Fred Miller, started 2 Super Bowls for the Colts

OLB Michael Brooks, Pro Bowl

MLB A.J. Duhe, 1977 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

OLB Roy Winston, started 3 Super Bowls for the Vikings

CB Patrick Peterson, 7 Pro Bowls

CB Eugene Daniel, 14-year starter, 38 interceptions

S    Johnny Robinson, All-time AFL team

S    Tommy Casanova, 3 Pro Bowls

K/P Tommy Davis, 738 career points, 511 career punts

KR Eddie Kennison, 153 career punt returns, 3 touchdowns

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14 Comments

  1. Robert
    April 11, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson, the All-Pro safety of the Kansas City Chiefs is probably the most deserving for 2019 Senior Candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has a gaudy resume for his play in pro football. He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s, Pro Football of Fame’s First All-Pro Team, Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-time Team (AFL),
    All-time Super Bowl Team Nominee, 7x All-Pro, 7x Pro Bowl,
    2x AFL/NFL Interception Leader, Chiefs’ Hall of Fame, Chiefs’ All-time Team, Chief’s Silver Anniversary Team, 57 career interceptions for Chiefs’ record, 5x interceptions leader of the Chiefs17 touchdowns, 3x AFL League Championships ’62, ’67, ’69, played Super Bowls I and IV, member of Super Bowl IV Championship team. Member of Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, LSU Sports Hall of Fame, LSU Team of the Century, 1958 LSU National Championship Team.

  2. Robert
    April 11, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson has been a Hall of Fame finalist six times. He was a first round draft pick from LSU going third overall to the Detroit Lions (NFL) and the Dallas Texans (AFL). He chose the Dallas Texans of the AFL. He starred as a running back for the first two years before switching to the defense as safety. That first year as safety he led the defense to the 1962 AFL Championship. The team moved to Kansas City the next season and became the Chiefs. He became a legend as leader of the fierce Chiefs defense. They were the only Super Bowl team to lead in all measurable categories for defense in modern Super Bowl history, Coach Hank Stram did not have a defensive coordinator, Robinson was the defensive coach on the field.

    • Rick Gosselin
      April 11, 2018
      Reply

      Agreed. With Jerry Kramer now in, I believe Robinson is the best player not enshrined in Canton.

      • Rasputin
        April 11, 2018
        Reply

        Where would you rank Chuck Howley on that list?

        • Rick Gosselin
          April 15, 2018
          Reply

          How would you stack these Cowboys in the senior pool: Cliff Harris, Chuck Howley, Lee Roy Jordan, Harvey Martin and Drew Pearson?

          • Rasputin
            April 15, 2018

            1. Chuck Howley – 5 AP first team All Pro selections means he was chosen as the very best at his position in the NFL for fully half a decade. To me that should be a golden ticket to Canton. He’s got almost as many as Bob Lilly and Randy White at 7, both first ballot inductions and considered to be among the greatest NFL players of all time. Howley’s also got 7 different accolade seasons since not all his 6 Pro Bowls and All Pro selections were the same year, which is more seasons than the other guys you mention have. Plus SB MVP, big game impact in SB VI and other playoff games, 20/20 sack/interception club, best overall LB in team history, and the factoid you dug up about him ranking 2nd among NFL OLBs with 43 takeaways. He also clearly SHOULD have been All Decade over at least Larry Morris, so I don’t hold that against him, and he has made other outfits’ first team All Decade teams (e.g. SI, PFC, John Turney’s). The above is why he’s most deserving, but that he’s the oldest of the guys you list and has been waiting the longest should cement his status as the top priority.

            2. Cliff Harris – 6 Pro Bowls, 3 first team All Pros, first team All Decade. Only 29 regular season interceptions may hurt him (and Darren Woodson with only 23) with some people but even Earl Thomas, widely considered the best safety of this era, currently only has 25. At some point HoF voters will have to realize there’s more to playing safety than interceptions.

            3. Drew Pearson – 3 Pro Bowls, 3 first team All Pro selections, famous big plays, being first team All Decade should give him and Harris a step over everyone else except Howley and his extremely extensive resume.

            4. Toss up – Harvey Martin – 4 Pro Bowls, 1 first team All Pro, 1 DPOY, SB co-MVP, 2nd team All Decade, franchise sack leader for decades.

            Lee Roy Jordan – 5 Pro Bowls, 1 first team All Pro, franchise tackle leader for decades, best MLB in team history.

            There are several other guys in this second tier one could add (Don Perkins, Cornell Green, Everson Walls, George Andrie, John Niland, Ralph Neely, Ed Jones, etc.) but the top 3 are a cut above due to their accolades and/or first team All Decade status.

            How do you see it?

          • Rasputin
            April 15, 2018

            That’s how I rank those Cowboys relative to each other. If you were asking how I stack them up overall in the senior pool I think Chuck Howley has been the most deserving candidate for years. I’d put Harris and Pearson firmly in the mix with the best several of the rest. It’s telling that one often sees all three of those guys listed high in best excluded from Canton lists compiled by even non-Cowboys fans at SI, NFL.com, and elsewhere. The other Cowboys are more borderline candidates, though other teams have occasionally gotten borderline candidates into the HoF so I wouldn’t completely write them off.

  3. Rick Gosselin
    April 12, 2018
    Reply

    In the discussion. He’s been in the discussion, as has Robinson.

    • Rasputin
      April 12, 2018
      Reply

      But which side of the discussion are you on? Do you personally believe Chuck Howley belongs in the Hall of Fame, or is it other people raising and pushing his case?

  4. Robert
    April 12, 2018
    Reply

    I have to choose Johnny Robinson hands down. He ihas been widely credited as redefining the role of safety in professional football. I do think Howley belongs, but not before Robinson. I believe Robinson is the most deserving as senior candidate. He played from 1960-1972 and has waited like Kramer too long to join his fellow teammates in Canton. He is the last member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Team of the Decade 1960s that is still waiting now that Kramer has gone in. He alone from that team which has to be the greatest Team of a Decade ever named. The greatest of the greatest legends of the game. With all of Robinson’s accomplishments and accolades, it is only fitting to name him to complete the Team and give Johnny Robinson his rightful place in Canton. He has recently received public endorsements for induction from Tom Flores, Lance Alworth, Clem Daniels, Bobby Bell and Don Maynard, among others, and are listed on the Johnny Robinson Facebook page. He has, not only teammates, but other great players of opposing teams giving him great support because they feel that he should have gone in many years ago. Lance Alworth is quoted as saying that Johnny Robinson was the greatest defensive player he ever faced and is the best he has ever witnessed in the past fifty years.
    So with that being said, yes, I do believe Chuck Howley should be inducted, but not before Robinson. The HOF should do the right thing and induct all those deserving from the past that probably will never see induction in their lifetimes. I know that getting that posthumously
    means little to the player who can’t enjoy the knowledge of being inducted and their career validated.

    • Rasputin
      April 13, 2018
      Reply

      While I also think both Robinson and Howley belong in Canton, I’ll point out that Howley is 2 years older than Robinson. And Howley certainly SHOULD have been NFL 1960s All Decade over Larry Morris (0 Pro Bowls). But Howley was named first team OLB on the combined NFL/AFL All Decade team by both Sports Illustrated and Pro Football Chronicles, and was first team OLB on the 1965-1975 All Decade team recently chosen by respected football historian John Turney.

      • Robert
        April 13, 2018
        Reply

        Johnny Robinson is a member of the official Combined All Decade Team of the 1960s as named by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The only Cowboy on that team was Bob Lilly. Johnny Robinson is now the only member of that team not enshrined in Canton now the Jerry Kramer(Green Bay) has been inducted. There was only one official Pro Football Hall of Fame Combined Team of the Decade 1960s. The Combined Team of the Decade1960s were only players that were First-team choices for the Combined Team of the Decade 1960s and rose above the level of All-AFL or All-NFL in their own league. They were chosen to the level of ALL-Pro for both leagues because of their play.
        Two sources, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Reference chose separate NFL and AFL All Decade Teams. Those were not the Combined Team of the Decade. Johnny Robinson was a member of the AFL All Decade Team and member of the official Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-time Team (AFL). The NFL had its own All Decade Team and the AFL had its own All Decade Team. There were other sources that chose their own Combined All Decade Teams. They were the Official NFL Team, Pro Football Digest, Pro Football Weekly, Sunday Mayhem and Sports Illustrated.
        Only the players that rose above the level of All-NFL or All- AFL in their own league were chosen as All-Pro First team of the Official Combined Team of the Decade 1960s. They are generally recognized as the first official ALL-Pro Team in modern NFL history and are listed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as such.
        Chuck Howley was selected by Pro Football Chronicles, Sports Illustrated and Sunday Mayheim. Johnny Robinson was selected by NFL, Sports Illustrated and Sunday Mayheim. Also, Robinson was chosen for his play above All league and named as First Team All-Pro and Howley was named to All-NFL in his own league that year, but did not rise to the level of All-Pro for both leagues which was the selection criteria to the First Team Combined Team of the Decade 1960s.
        The Combined Team of the Decade 1960s have been forever honored in a brick and mortar building in Canton, Ohio. Their picture can be found on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website as well as selection criteria and also, in the book, NFL- 75 Seasons.
        Now, do I believe that Chuck Howley should be inducted too. Yes! Absolutely, he should be. He was one of my personal favorites. He had a remarkable career and awards. He was one of the all time great linebackers. He played with the Cowboys from 1961-1973. He was with Chicago 1958-59. He was just never a member of the official Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s which is generally regarded as the first official All-Pro team of the modern pro football era which consisted of the best above the level of All-NFL or All-AFL play. Howley was an AllPro and does deserve induction in my opinion. I just think that Robinson has waited longer and is most deserving due to his numerous accolades and honors. He has been a finalist seven times since becoming eligible. They both are older and we pray that they both get inducted while they can enjoy the honor.

        • Rasputin
          April 13, 2018
          Reply

          My problem with the “official Combined All Decade Team of the 1960s” is that for LBs they apparently didn’t distinguish between positions but lumped them all together and they only picked one team. So for their 3 LBs they picked 2 MLBs, Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke, and one OLB, Bobby Bell.

          Outfits like SI and PFC distinguished between MLB (the glamour position) and OLB, and put Chuck Howley on the first team combined All Decade team. I’ve also only been able to find mention of the “official” combined all decade team on the Pro Football Journal site but not anywhere else. I haven’t seen it on the Hall of Fame’s site. Do you know where it is?

          There I’ve only seen the NFL 1960s All Decade team, and there, again, Howley was royally robbed of what should have been slam dunk inclusion.

          Regardless, even if we disagree on who’s more deserving, I’m glad we agree that both players belong in Canton. I’d like to know if Rick Gosselin, the Dallas HoF voter, agrees with us. He’s made it clear he supports Johnny Robinson’s induction but I haven’t seen him say if he personally thinks Chuck Howley belongs too.

          • Robert
            April 13, 2018

            I agree about Howley. The same place where NFL 1960s Team has a red line link to AFL Decade Team when it carry’s you to menu it has the Combined Team and tells how they went about selecting them. Pro Football Journal basically borrowed the wording from the HOF site. I think exactly. I’m definitely with you on Howley’s exclusion to that team. 👍

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