Around this time every year, 30 NFL teams take a break from being thankful that they aren't the Browns or Jets to draft from a pool of the best college football players (those that are eligible for the draft, of course). And while we prepare ourselves for the latest edition of the draft - and remain hopeful that players from our favorite school(s) are taken - it's always fun to take a look back at the history of that school - in our case it's Mississippi State - and the NFL draft picks that it has produced. Today we'll take a look at MSU football players that have gone in the draft's first round.
According to MSU's records that date back to at least 1937, there have been over 180 Bulldogs drafted. Of those 180+, 11 were fortunate enough to be taken in the first round of the NFL (or professional league(s) predating the Super Bowl era of the NFL) draft. The list actually include 12 names when we throw in Danny Knight who was drafted 26th overall in the 1984 Supplemental Draft of CFL and USFL players. Here's a quick breakdown of the years, players, positions, and teams that make up that distinguished list of starters:
|MSU Players in the NFL Draft, 1st Round|
|1950||Harper Davis||B||Chicago Bears|
|1956||Art Davis||B||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1959||Billy Stacy||B||Chicago Cardinals|
|1975||10||Jimmy Webb||DT||San Francisco 49ers|
|1982||2||Johnie Cooks||LB||Baltimore Colts|
|26||Glen Collins||DE||Cincinnati Bengals|
|1983||8||Michael Haddix||RB||Philadelphia Eagles|
|1984||26||Danny Knight||WR||Miami Dolphins (Sup. Draft)
|1996||13||Walt Harris||DB||Chicago Bears|
|24||Eric Moulds||WR||Buffalo Bills|
|2011||32||Derek Sherrod||OL||Green Bay Packers|
|2012||12||Fletcher Cox||DL||Philadelphia Eagles|
While MSU's list of total first rounders comes nowhere near that of football powers such as USC and Alabama, it is still a fairly impressive list of players. For me, the individual who still stands out the most is Johnie Cooks, who was drafted second overall in the 1982 draft. By all accounts, Cooks was one of the most physically impressive players to ever play for MSU. He was drafted in a span of years that saw MSU well-represented in the first round, as DE Glen Collins followed Cooks in the first round that same year, and RB Michael Haddix followed in the top-ten after the following season.
After that two year run with Cooks, Collins, and Haddix, MSU went another 13 years before it produced a 1st round pick, and that year there were two for only the second time in school history. Those were two really good ones, as well. After that year, though, it would take Derek Sherrod's 2011 selection to break a 15-year drought for MSU in the first round. After that drought, State nearly was able to pull of a three-peat, as the Bulldogs went into the 2013 draft hoping to produce a 1st round pick for the third straight season. That streak did not continue, however, as Bulldogs Darius Slay and Jonathan Banks fell to the second round after some projected they could sneak into the first.
Despite that, MSU does have a chance to make it three out of four years tonight if Gabe Jackson sneaks his way into the first round. It's not projected to happen, sure, but you never know what teams are thinking, or what they have in mind.
Check back in with us tomorrow as we will take a look at those donning the maroon and white who were taken in the NFL Draft's 2nd and 3rd rounds.