The Detroit Lions made Frankie Sinkwich the first overall pick of the 1943 NFL draft. Then the Chicago Cardinals made Charley Trippi the first overall pick of the 1945 NFL draft.
When the NFL needed a runner back then, it looked to the University of Georgia. Seven decades later, the NFL is still shopping for running backs at Georgia.
Nick Chubb is one of the top running backs in the 2018 NFL draft, leaving Georgia after four years as the No. 2 all-time leading rusher in SEC history. No. 1? Another Bulldog, Herschel Walker.
Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman, 1,130 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and 13,45 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior. He was on his way to a fourth 1,000-yard season as a sophomore in 2015 with 747 yards and seven touchdowns before a knee injury ended his year after seven games.
Walker was the best running back in Georgia history but not the best Bulldog in NFL history. That would be Terrell Davis, an oversight in the sixth round of the 1995 draft who went on to become a Hall of Famer. Davis became one of only six NFL runners to gain 2,000 yards in a single season. He also became an NFL MVP and helped the Denver Broncos win two Super Bowls.
Trippi joins Davis in the Hall of Fame. The only other Bulldog in Canton is quarterback Fran Tarkenton. End Harry Babcock (1953) and quarterback Matthew Stafford (2009) were also first overall picks of NFL drafts.
But it’s the running backs who remain the strength of the program. In addition to Trippi, there have been six other Georgia running backs who became first-round draft picks: Garrison Hearst, Tim Worley, Todd Gurley, Knowshon Moreno, Robert Edwards and Rodney Hampton. Hampton helped the New York Giants win a Super Bowl and Gurley was the NFL MVP runnerup with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.
In addition, like Davis, Olandis Gary was a mid-round draft pick by Denver (fourth, 1999) who went on to become a 1,000-yard rusher for the Broncos.
Here is the all-time University of Georgia NFL team:
QB Frank Tarkenton, Hall of Fame
HB Terrell Davis, Hall of Fame
FB Charley Trippi, Hall of Fame
WR A.J. Green, 556 career catches, 57 TDs
WR Hines Ward, 1,000 career catches, 85 TDs
TE Benjamin Watson, 13 seasons, 495 receptions
OT Mike Wilson, 12-year starter (172 starts)
OT Cordy Glenn, 6-year starter
G Guy McIntyre, 5 Pro Bowls, 3 Super Bowl rings
G Pete Case, 9 seasons
C Len Hauss, 14-year starter (194 starts)
DE Bill Stanfill, 2-time Super Bowl champion
DE Charles Johnson, 11 seasons, 67 ½ sacks
DT Richard Seymour, 2000s NFL all-decade team
DT Geno Atkins, 6 Pro Bowls, 61 career sacks
OLB Justin Houston, 2014 NFL sack leader
MLB Mo Lewis, 13-year starter, 3 Pro Bowls
OLB Thomas Davis, 3 Pro Bowls, 18 forced fumbles
CB Champ Bailey, 2000s NFL all-decade team
CB Tim Jennings, 2 Pro Bowls, 20 interceptions
S Jake Scott, Super Bowl VII MVP
S Reshad Jones, 8-year starter, 18 interceptions
K John Kasay, 20 years, 1,970 career points
P Bobby Walden, 14 years, 2-time Super Bowl champ
KR Herschel Walker, 215 KO returns, 23.6-yard average