Now that we have reached the eve of the 2014 NFL draft, there is no better time than to revisit the most highly drafted players to ever come out of the University of Utah.
The main reason for the perfect timing is to show how much talent that has come out of the U in recent years. It also shows how much of a guessing game the draft really is for most organizations. All you have to do is look at the two most glaring omissions from this list to see why that is the case.
While plenty of the players on this list have had very good careers in the NFL, the two players with the best showings out of Utah (Steve Smith and Larry Wilson) weren’t drafted high enough to fall into this category. They aren’t the Utes who had impressive NFL careers after slipping to the later rounds of the draft either. Players like Scott Mitchell (93rd overall), Mike Anderson (189th overall), Jamal Anderson (201st overall) and Bob Trumpy (301st overall) all had productive careers even though they weren’t highly drafted.
It is important to note the order of how each player is listed is based on the spot they were drafted and not the round. The older drafts had fewer teams so there weren’t as many picks each round.
Here is a look at the players from Utah who were the most highly drafted and how they played once they stepped on an NFL field.
Rodgers was selected in the third round (71st overall) by the Green Bay Packers in the 1982 draft. Rodgers appeared in 31 games in four seasons over a seven-year period with the Packers and the San Francisco 49ers as a running back and kick returner. His most productive season came as a rookie with the Packers in ’82 when Rodgers carried the ball 46 times for 175 yards and a touchdown while making three catches for 23 yards. Rodgers also returned 20 kicks that season for 436 yards.
For his career, Rodgers finished with 315 yards and two touchdowns rushing, 10 receptions for 124 yards, as well as 82 kick returns for 1,735 yards and a touchdown.
Douglas was taken in the sixth round (65th overall) by the Chicago Bears in the 1958 draft. Douglas appeared in 55 games over five seasons with the Bears, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles as a running back and a situational kick returner. One of his best seasons came with the Bears in 1959 when Douglas carried the ball 24 times for 47 yards and scored his only two NFL rushing touchdowns.
For his career, Douglas totaled 213 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and 26 yards on four receptions in the passing game.
Griffin was selected in the third round (61st overall) by the Saint Louis Cardinals in the 1981 draft. Griffin appeared in 50 games (23 starts) over six seasons with the Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles in the defensive back field. One of his best seasons came in 1982 when Griffin started eight of the nine games he played in for the Cardinals and had an interception, according to Football-reference.com.
For his career, Griffin totaled four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a sack.
Smith was taken in the second round (61st overall) by the Miami Dolphins in the 2009 draft. Smith has appeared in 79 games (71 starts) over five seasons with the Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs. One of his most productive seasons came with the Dolphins in 2012 when Smith recorded 59 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
To this point in his career, Smith has registered 258 and seven interceptions as a defensive back.
Jankovich was selected in the fifth round (60th overall) by the Cleveland Browns in the 1952 draft. Jankovich played 12 games over two seasons with the Dallas Texans and the Chicago Cardinals as a linebacker and recovered two fumbles.
Dyson was taken in the second round (60th overall) by the Tennessee Titans in the 2001 draft. Dyson played 96 games (81 starts) over seven seasons with the Titans, Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets as a defensive back. One of his best seasons came with the Titans in 2003 when Dyson registered 65 tackles and four interceptions (including two that he returned for touchdowns).
For his career, Dyson totaled 317 tackles, one sack, 22 interceptions, four forced fumbles and five defensive touchdowns.
Thomas (No. 17, at left) was selected in the third round (57th overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1969 draft. Thomas played 58 games (32 starts) over six seasons with the Bengals and the New Orleans Saints as a wide-out. His most productive season came as a rookie in ’69 when Thomas made 33 catches for 481 yards and three touchdowns while adding 16 yards and another score on the ground.
For his career, Thomas made 94 receptions for 1,239 yards and eight touchdowns.
Kruger was taken in the second round (57th overall) by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 draft. Kruger has played 67 games (23 starts) over five seasons with the Ravens and the Cleveland Browns. His most productive statistical season came in 2012 with the Ravens when Kruger totaled 42 tackles, nine sacks, one interception and a forced fumble.
For his career to this point, Kruger has recorded 116 tackles, 20 sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
Miraldi was selected in the second round (55th overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1981 draft. Miraldi played 50 games (32 starts) for the Eagles, Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Raiders over five seasons on the offensive line. His best season came in 1984 when Miraldi started all 16 games at left tackle for the Eagles, according to Football-reference.com.
Haley was taken in the second round (55th overall) by the New England Patriots in the 1982 draft. Haley played 79 games (25 starts) for the Patriots, Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers on the offensive line. His best season came in 1984 with the Patriots when Haley started all 16 games at right tackle.
Costa was taken in the seventh round (49th overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 1963 AFL draft. Costa played 168 games over 12 seasons for the Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers on the defensive line. During his 12 seasons in the AFL and NFL, Costa made the Pro Bowl four times, including three consecutive seasons from 1967-69.
Beadles was selected in the second round (45th overall) by the Denver Broncos in the 2010 draft. Beadles has played 64 games (62 starts) over four seasons with the Broncos. His best season came in 2012 when Beadles made the Pro Bowl after starting all 16 games at left guard.
McGarry was taken in the sixth round (43rd overall) by the Cleveland Rams in the 1939 draft. McGarry played 37 games (28 starts) over four seasons on the offensive line.
Misi was selected in the second round (40th overall) by the Miami Dolphins in the 2010 draft. Misi has played 57 games (46 starts) for the Dolphins over four seasons as a linebacker. His most productive season came in 2012 when Misi finished with 65 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, according to NFL.com.
To this point in his career, Misi has registered 194 tackles, 11 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Weddle was taken in the second round (37th overall) by the San Diego Chargers in the 2007 draft. Weddle has played 108 games (93 starts) over seven seasons with the Chargers as a free safety. His best season came in 2011 when Weddle earned first-team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl appearance after totaling 88 tackles and a career-high seven interceptions.
To this point in his career, Weddle has 658 tackles, six sacks, 18 interceptions, three forced fumbles and four defensive touchdowns.
Summerhays was selected in the fourth round (34th overall) by the Green Bay Packers in the 1949 draft. Summerhays played 35 games over three seasons with the Packers as a running back and linebacker. During that time, Summerhays carried the ball 29 times for 101 yards and one reception for 34 yards on offense as well three fumble recoveries, three interceptions and his lone touchdown while playing defense.
Pine was taken in the second round (22nd overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1962 draft. Pine played 50 games over four seasons with the 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers as a linebacker. During that time, Pine registered three interceptions and recovered three fumbles.
Elliss was selected in the first round (20th overall) by the Detroit Lions in the 1995 draft. Elliss appeared in 134 games (119 starts) over 10 seasons with the Lions and the Denver Broncos on the defensive line. Elliss was at his best in the 1999 and 2000 seasons when he made back-to-back Pro Bowls.
For his career, Elliss finished with 331 tackles, 29 sacks, four forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries (including one he returned for a touchdown).
Jefferson (No. 87, at left) was taken in the second round (18th overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1965 draft. Jefferson played 162 games over 12 seasons with the Steelers, Baltimore Colts and the Washington Redskins. One of his best seasons came in 1968 when Jefferson earned his first Pro Bowl selection after making 58 catches for a league-leading 1,074 yards and 11 touchdowns. A year later, Jefferson was named first-team All-Pro on the strength of 67 receptions for 1,079 yards and nine touchdowns.
For his career, Jefferson totaled 451 receptions for 7,539 yards for 52 touchdowns and earned three Pro Bowls.
Thompson (No. 43, at left) was selected in the first round (17th overall) by the Saint Louis Cardinals in the 1971 draft. Thompson played 115 games (91 starts) as a defensive back for the Cardinals and the Baltimore Colts. One of his best seasons came in 1975 when Thompson recorded a career high seven interceptions (including one he returned for a touchdown) and two fumble recoveries for the Cardinals.
For his career, Thompson totaled 33 interceptions, eight fumble recoveries and three defensive touchdowns.
Dyson was taken in the first round (16th overall) by the Tennessee Oilers in the 1998 draft. Dyson played 59 games (54 starts) as a wide receiver over six years with Tennessee and the Carolina Panthers. His best statistical season came in 2001 when Dyson made 54 catches for 825 yards and seven touchdowns.
For his career, Dyson totaled 178 receptions for 2,325 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Lotulelei was selected in the first round (14th overall) by the Carolina Panthers in the 2013 draft. Lotulelei started all 16 games of his rookie season and recorded three sacks and 42 tackles according to NFL.com.
Grosscup (center, at left) was taken in the first round (10th overall) by the New York Giants in the 1959 draft. Grosscup played in 16 games (four starts) for the Giants and the New York Titans. His best year came with the Titans in 1962 when Grosscup threw for 855 yards and eight touchdowns.
For his career, Grosscup completed 42.2 percent of his passes for 1,086 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Gross was selected in the first round (eighth overall) by the Carolina Panthers in the 2003 draft. Gross started all 167 games of his 11-year career on the offensive line for the Panthers. His most effective season came in 2008 when Gross was named first-team All-Pro and made his first Pro Bowl. Gross followed that up with two more Pro Bowls before retiring at the end of the 2013 season.
Smith was taken in the first round (first overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2005 draft. Smith has played 95 games (90 starts) over nine seasons with the 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. His best season came in 2013 when Smith earned his first Pro Bowl after completing 60.6 percent of his passes for a career-high 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns. Smith also carried the ball 76 times for 431 yards and another score.
To this point in his career, Smith has completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 17,593 yards and 104 touchdowns as well as 1,192 yards and five scores on the ground.