You can argue that Tom Brady is the greatest player in NFL history.
He’s certainly in the debate — and the University of Michigan can claim him. But greatness isn’t restricted to the quarterback position at Michigan. The Wolverines have become a football factory that churns out blue-chip offensive linemen.
According to pro-football-reference.com, Michigan ranks sixth all-time among colleges with 370 NFL draft picks. The Wolverines also rank 10th all-time with 44 first-rounders. Eleven of those first-rounders have been offensive linemen and another 11 arrived in the NFL as second-rounders.
Michigan has produced two Hall-of-Fame blockers, guard Tom Mack and tackle Dan Dierdorf. Mack was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1966 and Dierdorf a second-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971. Mack went to 11 Pro Bowls and Dierdorf six.
Guard Steve Hutchinson, a first-rounder in 2001, was named to the NFL’s all-decade team for the 2000s, and Al Wistert was named to the NFL’s all-decade team for the 1940s.
Mike Kenn, a first-round pick of Atlanta in 1978, went to five Pro Bowls with the Falcons, and fellow tackle Jake Long, the first overall pick of the 2008 draft, went to four Pro Bowls with the Dolphins. Tackle Bubba Paris, a second-round pick of the 49ers in 1982, started on three Super Bowl teams for San Francisco, and Jumbo Elliott, a second-rounder in 1988, started on a Super Bowl team for the New York Giants.
Reggie McKenzie and Paul Seymour were both members of Buffalo’s Electric Company that opened the holes for O.J. Simpson in his 2,000-yard season, and Jon Runyan was named to Philadelphia’s 75th anniversary team at tackle. Seymour was a first-rounder, McKenzie a second and Runyan a fourth.
Here’s the University of Michigan’s all-time NFL: team:
QB – Tom Brady, 4-time Super Bowl MVP
RB –Ron Johnson, 2 Pro Bowls
RB – Anthony Thomas, 2 1,000-yard seasons
WR – Elroy Hirsch, Hall of Fame
WR – Bill Hewitt, Hall of Fame
TE – Ron Kramer, NFL’s 50th anniversary team
OT – Dan Dierdorf, Hall of Fame
OT – Al Wistert, 1940s NFL all-decade team
G – Tom Mack, Hall of Fame
G – Steve Hutchinson, 2000s NFL all-decade team
C – Steve Everitt, Started 98 NFL games
DE – Len Ford, Hall of Fame
DE – Curtis Greer, 69 ½ career sacks
DT – Alan Branch, 2 Super Bowls
DT – Tom Keating, All-time All-AFL team
LB – LaMarr Woodley, Pro Bowl
MLB – David Harris, 1,088 career tackles
LB – Larry Foote, 2 Super Bowls
DB – Ty Law, 2000s 2000s NFL all-decade team
DB – Charles Woodson, 2000s NFL all-decade team
DB – Dave Brown, 62 career interceptions
DB – Dwight Hicks, 4 Pro Bowls
K – Ali Haji-Sheikh, 151 career points
P – Zolton Mesko, NFL rookie record for net punting (38.4 yards)
KR – Desmond Howard, Super Bowl MVP
ST ace – Ian Gold, Pro Bowl