10 Best Oklahoma NFL Draft Picks Of All-Time

    Which Oklahoma players turned out to be the best NFL draft picks? Who are the 10 greatest selections in the school’s history?

    April 7, 2016


    Who are the best draft picks to ever come from Oklahoma? Here are the 10 greatest Sooner draft picks – considering the teams that drafted them.


    There aren’t many more interesting college football programs in the history of the NFL draft.

    Oklahoma is among the superpower of all-time college football superpowers, but, shockingly, it hasn’t been as much of an NFL factory as you might think when it comes to delivering top draft picks.

    Part of the reason is that so many of the epic teams ran offenses that didn’t translate to the pros. But even when the program made the shift to a more pass-happy attack, there still weren’t many receivers and there aren’t any great quarterbacks – no, Oklahoma, you don’t get credit for Troy Aikman.

    Even so, there are a few NFL Hall of Famers, and a few others who probably belong in Canton, and there are a slew of very good pros – most of which were overdrafted.

    Here are the ground rules. A draft pick only works if the guy does most of his big things for the team that drafted him. These aren’t necessarily the greatest NFL players to come from Oklahoma – these are the best draft picks. If a player gets drafted by a team and is okay for a few years, and then goes off and rocks for someone else, that’s not as strong a draft pick as the selection who become a starter for several years.

    10. OT Trent Williams, Washington

    2010, 1st round, 4th pick overall
    Pick Before: DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma by Tampa Bay
    Pick After: S Eric Berry, Tennessee by Kansas City

    Was he worth the fourth overall pick? Not really, but he turned into more than just a solid left tackle for the Redskins, earning four straight Pro Bowl nods from 2012 to 2015. A steady starter, it took him two years to grow into the job, but he became a mainstay showing off the prototype size and athleticism. He might not be among the elite of the elite – even with the all-star recognition – but compared to most Oklahoma draft picks, he was a fantastic selection.

    9. TE Keith Jackson, Philadelphia

    1988, 1st round, 13th pick overall
    Pick Before: LB Ken Harvey, California by Phoenix
    Pick After: RB Gaston Green, UCLA by Los Angeles Rams

    As it turned out, yeah, he really was being held back by the Oklahoma wishbone offense, catching 81 passes for 869 yards and six touchdowns in his rookie season. He would’ve been much, much higher on the list, but he only spent four years in Philly, being named All-Pro three times and going to three straight Pro Bowls, before going off to Miami and then Green Bay. Even though his career with the Eagle was brief, catching 242 passes for 2,756 yards and 20 touchdowns wasn’t bad.

    8. S Roy Williams, Dallas

    2002, 1st round, 8th pick overall
    Pick Before: OT Bryant McKinnie, Miami by Minnesota
    Pick After: DT John Henderson, Tennessee by Jacksonville

    No, he didn’t turn out to be the next Ronnie Lott, but Williams turned in a very, very nice seven years for Dallas going to five straight Pro Bowls and earning 2003 All-Pro honors. Never really the all-around playmaker he was for the Sooners, he still turned into a nice ball-hawker picking off 19 passes for Dallas and making 414 tackles. It never worked out in his two years in Cincinnati, but considering how average the 2002 NFL Draft was, he was a solid pick.

    7. RB Greg Pruitt, Cleveland

    1973, 2nd round, 30th pick overall
    Pick Before: DT Derland Moore, Oklahoma by New Orleans
    Pick After: RB Cullen Bryant, Colorado by Los Angeles Rams

    All things considered, it wasn’t a bad run in the second round of the 1973 NFL Draft. Oklahoma DT Derland Moore was drafted by New Orleans and played 11 years in the league. Tight end Al Chandler and running back Leon Crosswhite didn’t do anything, but at least they were drafted in the top 44. Pruitt was the standout.

    He turned into an instant star as a return man, but by his third year he became a top all-around weapon for the Browns, tearing off the first of three straight 1,000-yard seasons. The five-time Pro Bowler played nine years in Cleveland rushing for 5,496 yards and 25 touchdowns, catching 323 passes for 3,022 yards and 17 scores, and averaging 26.3 yards per kickoff return and 7.8 yards per punt return.

    6. OT/C Ralph Neely, Dallas

    1965, 2nd round, 28th pick overall
    Pick Before: DT Walter Johnson, Los Angeles State by Cleveland
    Pick After: QB Bob Schweickert, Virginia Tech by San Francisco

    An exception is being made here to the rules. Baltimore drafted Neely, but it was a part of a draft day deal with Dallas. He’s one of the interesting stories in the AFL vs. NFL battle after being drafted by the Houston Oilers, too, and signing with the AFL team. He wanted to play in the NFL, and ended up on Dallas after a law suit.

    As a player, he was exactly what you dream of when taking an offensive lineman, starting for 13 years as an ultra-dependable blocker for some historic teams. He hit his stride in his third season, being named to three straight All-Pro teams and going to three straight Pro Bowls from 1967 to 1969.

    5. DT Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay

    2010, 1st round, 3rd pick overall
    Pick Before: DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska by Detroit
    Pick After: OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma by Washington

    One of the anchors of the Tampa Bay defense, and do-it-all mainstay in the interior, he was everything he was supposed to be. He’s quick, athletic, and tough against the run, getting past a rocky first few seasons to go to four straight Pro Bowls and being named to the 2013 All-Pro team. Staying in one piece has been a problem, but considering Tampa Bay desperately needed help for the defensive line, he was worth the No. 3 pick.

    4. RB Tommy McDonald, Philadelphia

    1957, 3rd round, 31st pick overall
    Pick Before: DT Don Owens, Southern Miss by Pittsburgh
    Pick After: DE Luke Owens, Kent State by Baltimore

    Just 5-9 and 178 pounds, the college legend wasn’t supposed to do too much in the pros. That changed in a hurry. He started out his career mostly as a return man, but he scored three times on his nine catches as a rookie. And then everything took off, launching his Hall of Fame career with five straight Pro Bowl appearances with 287 catches for 5,499 yards and 66 touchdowns, averaging 19.2 yards per catch, before closing out his career with four different teams.

    3. CB Bobby Boyd, Baltimore

    1960, 10th round, 119th pick overall
    Pick Before: DE Mel Branch, LSU by San Francisco
    Pick After: LB Bob Simms, Rutgers by New York Giants

    On the short list of Players Who Should Probably Be In The Hall Of Fame, But Aren’t, Boyd was one of the best all-around defensive backs of the 1960s, playing nine years on several historic teams, coming up with 57 career interceptions. Best of all, he got better and better as his career went on, coming up with the third of his All-Pro and Pro Bowl seasons in his final campaign in 1968. That’s not bad for a 10th round pick who started at corner for almost a decade.

    2. DE/DT Lee Roy Selmon, Tampa Bay

    1976, 1st round, 1st pick overall
    Pick Before: None
    Pick After: DT Steve Niehaus, Notre Dame by Seattle

    When you have a highway named after you by the city of the NFL team that drafted you, you probably were okay. He’ll forever be known as the definition of the cornerstone of a franchise.

    Selmon was the first draft pick of the Tampa Bay franchise, and it turned out to be one of the few things that went right for a while. With absolutely no help, he still went on to dominate as a part end, part tackle over his nine-year Hall of Fame career, going to six straight Pro Bowls and earning All-Pro honors and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979.

    1. RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota

    2007, 1st round, 7th pick overall
    Pick Before: S LaRon Landry, LSU by Washington
    Pick After: DE Jamaal Anderson, Arkansas by Atlanta

    It was a feast or famine first part of the 2007 NFL draft, with Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, Darrelle Revis, Joe Thomas and Calvin Johnson all going in the top 15. It was also the draft of JaMarcus Russell, Gaines Adams, and Jamaal Anderson – the defensive end, not the running back.

    Adrian Peterson slid because the previous six teams had needs, and he was also seen as a bit too upright a runner – there was no way he’d last. Instead, he turned out to be one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, taking off for close to 12,000 yards in his first nine years, and that’s with a knee injury and a suspension that cost him most of a season.
    Off the field, he had some major issues that’ll forever cloud his legacy. On it, he’s been one of the most consistent stars of all-time, running for ten touchdowns or more in every year but 2014 – when he was suspended – highlighted by his epic 2,097-yard campaign in 2012 coming way-too-soon after his knee surgery.

    The seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro through 2015 – and 2012 NFL MVP – is a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Famer, and going into the 2016 season, he’s 17th all-time in rushing yards and 6,680 yards away from Emmitt Smith’s record.

    MORE: Oklahoma All-Time NFL Draft Team

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