Players from current FCS schools have been drafted into the NFL since the first time the league held one — 1936. While great players like Grambling product Tank Younger were in the NFL a bit earlier, it wasn't until 1952 that a player was actually drafted from a present-day SWAC program. Alcorn State's Jack Spinks was selected 126th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers and went on to a five-year career.
Since then, hundreds more SWAC 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.
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Today, we take a look at the SWAC and its current programs — and the all-time Top 25 NFL picks taken from these schools. Could players like Javancy Jones (Jackson State) and Chad Williams (Grambling) 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. 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.
|3||1st||1995||Steve McNair, QB||ALCORN STATE||13||Oilers||3-Time Pro Bowler|
|4||1st||1975||Walter Payton, RB||JACKSON STATE||13||Bears||NFL Hall of Famer|
|5||1st||1971||Richard Harris, DL||GRAMBLING||7||Eagles||6-year NFL starter|
|6||1st||1975||Robert Brazile, LB||JACKSON STATE||10||Oilers||7-time Pro Bowler|
|8||1st||1971||Frank Lewis, WR||GRAMBLING||13||Steelers||Nearly 7,000 career yds|
|8||1st||1975||Gary Johnson, DL||GRAMBLING||11||Chargers||Chargers Hall of Famer|
|9||1st||1972||Jerome Barkum, TE||JACKSON STATE||12||Jets||1 Pro Bowl; 4,000+ yds|
|10||1st||1970||Ken Burrough, WR||TEXAS SOUTHERN||12||Saints||2-Time Pro Bowler|
|10||1st||1971||Isiah Robertson, LB||SOUTHERN||12||Rams||6-Time Pro Bowler|
|10||1st||1976||James Hunter, DB||GRAMBLING||7||Lions||27 career INTs|
Here are Nos. 11 through 25.