In a few weeks, if not already, every rookie draft pick will be an alumni from somewhere.
No matter where their careers take them, they’ll never forget where they came from. Before they officially play their first snap on an NFL stage, we'll evaluate the NFL careers of players at the same position, from the same alma mater as the Dallas Cowboys' 2016 draft class. Maybe it’s an indication on how their careers will unfold.
Ohio State University Running Backs
Before Eliott, another notable Buckeye running back to be drafted in the NFL would be Archie Griffin. In the 1976 NFL Draft, Archie Griffin was drafted in the first round - like Elliott - by the Cincinnati Bengals and helped them reach Super Bowl XVI.
During his seven NFL seasons, he rushed for 2,808 yards and seven touchdowns, and caught 193 passes for 1607 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Another Ohio State first rounder, Eddie George was taken 14th overall in the 1996 draft by the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans). He received the NFL Rookie of the Year award and went to the Pro Bowl four consecutive years (1997 - 2000). George also helped the Titans get to Super Bowl XXXIV where they lost 23 - 16 to the St. Louis Rams.
Eddie George is only the second NFL running back to rush for 10,000 yards while never missing a start. Only Walter Payton started more regular season games.
Notre Dame University Linebackers
Drafted by the Boston Patriots in the 1962 AFL college draft, Nick Buoniconti made an immediate impact, as he was named the team's rookie of the year. The following year, he helped Boston to the 1963 AFL Eastern Division title. With Boston, he appeared in five AFL All-Star Games and recorded 24 interceptions, which is still the seventh-most in team history.
He was traded to the AFL's Miami Dolphins in 1969 and continued to excell. During his time there, Miami advanced to three consecutive Super Bowl appearances.
Buoniconti ended his career with an unofficial 24 sacks, eighteen with the Patriots and six while with the Dolphins.
He was named the Dolphins' Most Valuable Player three times and in 1990, he was voted as a linebacker on the Dolphins' Silver Anniversary All-Time team.
Another Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te’o, was selected in the second round, 38th overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2013. He was the highest selected Notre Dame linebacker since Demetrius DuBose in 1993. To date, he has 204 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 9 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble.
University of Nebraska Defensive Tackles
Drafted in 1988 by the Kansas City Chiefs, Neil Smith became one of the top defensive linemen of his era. Neil Smith made the Pro Bowl 6 times during his career and led the NFL with 15 sacks in the 1993 season.
With the Broncos, Smith won 2 NFL championships, Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII, and finished his 13 NFL seasons with 105 sacks, 30 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, 19 return yards, and 1 touchdown. He also intercepted 4 passes, returning them for 68 yards and a touchdown.
On October 22, 2006, Smith was inducted to the Chiefs's Hall of Fame.
Ndamukong Suh was selected second overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, becoming the first defensive linemen selected by the team in the first round since 1995 (Luther Elliss) He was the highest selected Cornhusker defender since Neil Smith in 1988.
After four seasons with the Lions, he was signed by the Miami Dolphins, to a six-year, $114 million contract with $60 million guaranteed. The contract made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, passing J.J. Watt. To date, Suh has 298 tackles, 48 sacks and 20 pass deflections.
University of Oklahoma Defensive Ends
Probably the most notable Defensive End to come out of Oklahoma is Lee Roy Selmon. Salmon, who dueled as a Defensive Tackle as well as a DE, was the first pick in the in the 1976 NFL draft. He was the first-ever pick for the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his first year, Selmon won the team's 'Rookie of the Year' and MVP awards. He went to six straight Pro Bowls and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979.
In 1986, the Bucs retired his number, 63. He was the first player to be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ring of Honor on November 8, 2009.
The most recent Sooner defensive end drafted in the NFL, was Geneo Grissom. He was picked in the third round of the 2015 draft by the New England Patriots. So far, Grissom has six tackles and a sack after one season with the Patriots.
Mississippi State University Quarterbacks
Dak Prescott joins Joe Reed and Bruce Threadgill on the list of Mississippi State University QBs to play in the NFL.
The most notable Mississippi State University quarterback, Joe Reed, was drafted in 1972 by the 49ers but finished his career in Detroit. Although he spent his entire career mostly as QB2, he amassed 18 touchdowns for over 2,800 yards.
Purdue University Cornerbacks
In 1987, Rod Woodson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 10 overall draft pick. He is one of the more notable cornerbacks to come out Purdue as he is among the NFL’s all-time leaders in games played as a defensive back. He holds the league record for interceptions returned for touchdowns with 12 and is tied with 11 other players for the record for most fumble recoveries in a single game with 3. His 1,483 interception return yards is the second most in NFL history (Ed Reed 1,590 yards). His 32 fumble recoveries are a record amongst defensive players. His 71 interceptions rank third all time.
He was named to the Pro Bowl eleven times, a record for his position. He was also the first player to earn trips to the Pro Bowl at cornerback, safety and kick returner.
Another notable Purdue Cornerback is Cris Dishman. Dishman was selected in the 5th round with the 125th pick of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. In the 1991 season, Dishman had a seven-game stretch where he forced at least one turnover in each contest.
He finished his career with 739 tackles, 43 interceptions, 15 forced fumbles, and 3 touchdowns.
Central Michigan University Free Safeties
Robert Jackson was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 11th round of the 1981 NFL Draft. He played seven seasons with the Bengals and finished his career with 15 interceptions and two touchdowns.
Eastern Michigan University Running backs
The list of running backs to come out of Eastern Michigan is even shorter.
Baylor University Tight Ends
Tight end, out of Baylor Ronnie Lee was drafted in 1979 by the Miami Dolphins. He started his career as a tight end, but then switched to right guard in 1983. As a tight end he had 25 receptions, for 167 yards and three touchdowns.
Greg Hawthorne, another TE taken in the 1979 draft, played TE, RB and WR. Hawthorne played 9 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as a rookie, he won a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV, the New England Patriots, played in Super Bowl XX, and the Indianapolis Colts. As a running back, tight end, and wide receiver, he accumulated 527 rushing yards and 92 receptions between 1979 and 1987.
While some could start a new chapter in their college's NFL alumni history, others have a lot to live up to. I look forward to following the rookies' careers unfold and how they compare to their predecessors.
Which Cowboys Benefit From David Irving’s Suspension?
While losing David Irving for the first four weeks of 2018 is a bad thing for the Dallas Cowboys defensive line, it does create opportunities for some of the other defensive tackles. Who has the most to gain from Irving's suspension?
Because he was mostly going to be used inside as the 3-technique DT, David's absence will naturally benefit the guys who are best suited to play that role. Thankfully, Dallas isn't lacking for those types of players.
Veteran Tyrone Crawford can use all the playing time he can get. As a likely salary cap casualty next year, Crawford doesn't want to get buried on the depth chart as Dallas focuses on their younger players who project to stick around beyond 2018.
With Irving out, Dallas will likely lean on Tyrone as they often do when someone is missing on the defensive line. With more talent now at defensive end, Crawford was going to be competing with Irving, Maliek Collins, Jihad Ward, and other younger guys for work at tackle.
But now there's a problem, and it's easy to slide Crawford into the 3-tech role that Dallas once envisioned him being a star at. Remember, it was their projection of Tyrone as a breakout DT that got him his big contract to begin with.
Yes, Irving's only gone for four weeks. Dallas will still be giving him work in camp based on the role he should fill for the majority of the season. But that's why a veteran like Tyrone Crawford is a great temporary plug-in, because he doesn't need all of the practice reps to step in and perform.
Another key beneficiary could be third-year DT Maliek Collins. Last season, Collins got stuck playing 1-technique and not getting the same opportunities to make plays and get noticed that he had his rookie year.
But now Dallas has several guys in Jihad Ward, Richard Ash, and Brian Price who can play the 1-tech role, which will hopefully get Collins back where he belongs. Maliek's athleticism belongs a little further away from center, letting him try to take on guards in single coverage.
Collins is dealing with a foot issue now but should be back for the preseason. That's enough time for him to be where he needs to be Week One, provided he's healthy.
How Dallas would balance playing time between Collins and Tyrone Crawford could be a matter of how much they play certain schemes. One could see Collins, the bigger guy, playing more in the base defense and then Crawford being used in passing situations.
There is always a lot of rotation in a Rod Marinelli line, so discussions about playing time can get a little silly. Unless you're a true stud like DeMarcus Lawrence who you don't want to take off the field, the Cowboys like to keep guys fresh.
But that's why this is a big opportunity; David Irving has that stud potential. He's the kind of talent who could keep solid players like Crawford and Collins out of view if he hits his stride.
For the first four weeks, though, Irving will be in the NFL doghouse and Dallas will likely lean on its two most experienced defensive tackles to fill the void. There will be more reps for guys like Datone Jones and Jihad Ward too, but Crawford and Collins have way more skins on the wall
That trust should keep them on the field more while David Irving's suspended, and perhaps beyond.
BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year
For the second consecutive year, Defensive Lineman David Irving is being suspended for four games by the NFL. This time, the suspension comes after Irving violated the NFL's policy on substance of abuses, as Ian Rapoport reported.
Cowboys DL David Irving is being suspended 4 games for violating @NFL policy on substance of abuses, sources say. Another big-time D-linemen hit with a suspension for Dallas.
Irving will play for the Dallas Cowboys after the team placed a second-round tender on him earlier in the year. Why no team was interested in picking such a talented defensive tackle for a second round pick is becoming clearer and clearer as the time goes on.
In April, when David Irving got hacked by his former girlfriend one of the tweets that stood out the most was one which said "Wait until you all find about his failed drug tests." Now, we're seeing what the tweet was about.
Irving is a very talented player that could have a great career ahead of him. Of course, with this being the second consecutive year in which he receives a suspension to start the season, one could question how much he wants it.
The Cowboys will play the Panthers, Giants, Seahawks and Lions to start the season. They'll have to do it with one of their most promising defensive players in David Irving.
Here at Inside The Star, we'll keep you updated with this story and every Dallas Cowboys news.
Cowboys Offense Finds Rhythm to End Minicamp, Hurns and Gallup Stand Out
The Dallas Cowboys are back in offseason mode, concluding their OTAs and minicamp from The Star. With a hiatus until training camp, it was important for several high-profile players to make a strong first impression on the 2018 season. From the start of mini camp, these impressions were left mostly by Rod Marinelli's defense and -- more specifically -- Kris Richard's young group of cornerbacks.
Still working through significant change on the offensive side of the ball, the Cowboys did rally on day three under Quarterback Dak Prescott to put out a better performance. The Cowboys coaching staff should love their lasting memories of both FA acquisition Wide Receiver Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup.
There is a strong chance that these two receivers will be the Cowboys starters in Oxnard for training camp. We have heard a lot about the impact new WR Coach Sanjay Lal has had on his group, slowing the game down to focus on route running. This will give the team's rotation of unproven receivers a chance with Prescott, as he can focus on throwing to a 'spot' more often.
One spot that Prescott has struggled to hit in two seasons as the starter in Dallas is the back of the end zone for fade routes. A red zone go-to under Scott Linehan, free agent WR Dez Bryant was often the intended target on these missed passes.
Less of a route running technician and closer to the mold of a physical player like Bryant, Allen Hurns emerging as the Cowboys #1 option would solve a lot of uncertainty at the WR position. In yesterday's practice, Hurns was able to haul in a perfect ball from Prescott on the fade as he beat Byron Jones.
It's going to take some time for Jones to readjust to playing cornerback, but the vision for Kris Richard of him and Chidobe Awuzie starting on the outside is a great one. In a battle of proven players, Hurns got the best of Jones to spark the Cowboys offense at the right time.
Overall, there should be no reason to panic about (well, really anything from mini camp) the Cowboys offense right now, and plenty of reasons to be excited about what this defense will develop into.
Once the pads come on at training camp, the players the Cowboys are paying to play at an elite level will start to shine, including their newly re-signed Guard Zack Martin -- the highest paid guard in the league now. There are no doubts that the bread and butter for this offense will be handing the ball to Ezekiel Elliott behind this wall of an offensive line.
From this increase in competition in the trenches, we'll also get more meaningful battles along the defensive line. In shorts and helmets for now, the Cowboys secondary was given their chance at mini camp, and came out solid early.
Another player they've struggled to truly corral though is Michael Gallup. Perhaps pressing a bit thanks to his limited opportunities thus far, Jourdan Lewis was taken across the field by Gallup on a misfire from Cooper Rush.
This is nothing new for Gallup however, who's been ahead of the curve on creating the desired separation as a "violent" receiver on the outside.
A steal with the 81st overall pick in this year's draft, Gallup has a long way to go in beating out the likes of Terrance Williams, Cedrick Wilson (limited through this portion of the offseason with injuries), and even Cole Beasley, who's received some reps on the outside.
With both Hurns and Gallup making plays on the Cowboys final practice until late July, it's easy to let the mind wander with possibilities of the Cowboys offense playing at full strength against a defense that might be up for the challenge better than ever compared to year's past.
As always, the practice fields of Oxnard will serve as a battle ground for a young but deep Cowboys team to earn their spots on the 53-man roster, one that surely won't have room for all of the wide receiver hopefuls seen this week in mini camp.
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