NFL Draft history - KU football's first-round picks
With tonight marking Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft and the Kansas University football program's only draft hopefuls being sixth or seventh round possibilities at best, let's take a quick look back at all of the Jayhawks first-round picks throughout the years.
Whether you're talking NFL Drafts or AFL Drafts, the Jayhawks have had their share of first-round selections.
The most recent, of course, came in 2008 when 2008 Orange Bowl MVP Aqib Talib, a cornerback, was picked 20th overall by Tampa Bay. Talib had some solid years in Tampa before moving on to the New England Patriots, where he played the 2012 and 2013 seasons. This offseason, Talib signed a monster free agent deal with the Denver Broncos that will pay him $57 million over the next six years.
Although the draft has taken on many different looks during the past several decades, it has held steady in its current seven-round format since 1994. Some of the earlier NFL Drafts had as many as 30 rounds and that number diminished little by little throughout the years.
Here's a quick look at the other former Jayhawks who joined Talib as first-round talent:
RAY EVANS – 1944 Draft, Pick No. 9, Chicago Bears
This draft had 29 rounds total but the first round included just nine picks. Evans, one of the greatest all-around athletes ever to come through KU, never played for the Bears and saw his professional career span just one season (1948) with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Interesting fact: Evans also was selected by the New York Knicks basketball franchise in the 1947 BAA Draft.
JOHN HADL – 1962 Draft, Pick No. 10, Detroit Lions
This draft had 20 rounds and Hadl, one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play at Kansas, also never played for the team that drafted him. He made his NFL debut in 1962 playing for the San Diego Chargers, where he starred until 1972. Hadl was a four-time AFL All-Star, a two-time pro bowl selection (1972 and 1973), the NFC player of the year in 1973 and was inducted into the Chargers' Hall of Fame.
GALE SAYERS – 1965 Draft, Pick No. 7, Chicago Bears
This draft also had 20 rounds and Sayers had the rare distinction of being a first-round selection in both the NFL and AFL drafts (Kansas City picked him in Round 1 in the 1965 AFL Draft). Sayers went on to become one of the greatest running backs the NFL has ever known and owner of several NFL records. He was a four-time pro bowl selection, a five-time AP first-team all pro, a two-time NFL rushing champion and, later, became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and had his No. 40 retired by the Bears.
JOHN RIGGINS – 1971 Draft, Pick No. 6, New York Jets
This draft had 17 rounds and the wild and crazy Riggins led the Jets in both rushing and receiving as a rookie. He played five seasons with the Jets before moving on to finish his career with the Washington Redskins, where he became an NFL MVP, a Super Bowl champion and MVP of Super Bowl XVII. Riggins also is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
DON GOODE – 1974 Draft, Pick No. 15, San Diego Chargers
This draft also had 17 rounds and Goode, a linebacker and Houston native, went on to play six seasons with the Chargers before finishing his career by playing his final two seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
MIKE BUTLER – 1977 Draft, Pick No. 9, Green Bay Packers
This draft had 12 rounds and Butler, who played defensive end, was taken in the top 10 by a team he spent the next six seasons playing for. After leaving the NFL following the 1982 season, Goode joined the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL for the 1984 and 1985 seasons. He then returned to the NFL and the Packers in 1985 for his final professional season.
DAVID VERSER – 1981 Draft, Pick No. 10, Cincinnati Bengals
This draft also had 12 rounds and included a native Kansan taken in the top 10. Verser, a wide receiver and kick returner, played four seasons with the Bengals, joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the '85 season and finished his career with Cleveland in 1987. He played in the 1982 Super Bowl, which the Bengals lost, 26-21, to the San Francisco 49ers.
DANA STUBBLEFIELD – 1993 Draft, Pick No. 26, San Francisco 49ers
By 1993, the draft was down to eight rounds and Stubblefield, one of the most disruptive and dominant defensive players to come through Kansas, was taken in the final few picks of the first round. Stubblefield played for four teams during his NFL career but the bulk of his time was spent with San Francisco, where he was a three-time pro bowl selection, NFL defensive rookie of the year in 1993 and NFL defensive player of the year in 1997. Stubblefield was a member of the 49ers Super Bowl XXIX championship team.