Players from current FCS schools have been drafted into the NFL since the first time the league held one — 1936. In fact, one of the players selected in the first draft was Verne Oech, who began his playing career at the University of Montana before finishing with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. He was selected by the Bears in the 5th round of that initial draft.
Since then, hundreds more Big Sky products have been drafted. College football has changed a ton in the 81 years since the first draft — and the inception of FCS/I-AA football in 1978. But the message remains the same — current FCS programs have been producing NFL-level talent decades.
Today, we take a look at the Big Sky Conference and its current programs — and the all-time Top 25 NFL picks taken from these current schools. Could players like Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington) and Xavier Coleman (Portland State) add to the list below when the 2017 comes along? Time will tell. April 27 is less than one month away.
NOTE: These are in order based on what spot they were picked, and for the time being North Dakota is being included and Idaho isn’t (they’ll switch in the near future). AFL Draft picks from the 1960s are included, and noted … since this league eventually merged with the NFL. Some prospects were drafted by both leagues.
|PK||RD||DFT YR||PLAYER||SCHOOL||YRS||PICKED BY?||COMMENT|
|15||2nd||1938||Milt Popovich||5||Cardinals||Five yrs with Chicago Cardinals|
|16||2nd||1945||Mike Lazetich||6||Rams||Played 59 games for Rams|
|17||1st||1968||Lee White||5||Jets||On N.J. Jets’ Super Bowl III team|
|23||1st||1974||Bill Kollar||8||Bengals||Eight year playing career|
|27||1st||1989||Shawn Collins||5||Falcons||Four teams in five seasons|
|33||2nd||1981||Neil Lomax||8||Cardinals||22,000+ passing yds in career|
|40||2nd||1967||Ron McCall||2||Chargers||Two seasons with the Chargers|
|41||2nd||2005||Michael Roos||10||Titans||Still going strong in NFL after 10 yrs|
|41||2nd||1972||Steve Okoniewski||6||Falcons||Logged 52 games in the NFL|
|42||5th||1936||Verne Oech||2||Bears||Two seasons with the Bears|
Here are Nos. 11 through 25.
|PK||RD||DFT YR||PLAYER||SCHOOL||YRS||PICKED BY?|
|44||2nd||1999||Jim Kleinsasser||NORTH DAKOTA||13||Vikings|
|47||2nd||1984||Pete Mandley||NORTHERN ARIZONA||7||Lions|
|54||3rd||1972||Jim LeClair||NORTH DAKOTA||12||Bengals|
|59||2nd||1999||Scott Shields||WEBER STATE||2||Steelers|
|61||2nd||2005||Vincent Jackson||NORTHERN COLORADO||11||Chargers|
|62||3rd||1979||Jon Borchardt||MONTANA STATE||9||Bills|
|69||3rd||2006||Paul McQuistan||WEBER STATE||8||Raiders|
|70||3rd||2004||Joey Thomas||MONTANA STATE||3||Packers|
|72||3rd||1971||Al Clark||NORTHERN ARIZONA||6||Lions|