The 2017 NFL Draft begins Thursday in Philadelphia.
On the brink of the annual selection show, we continue our two-part series to take a look at every NFL team’s best ever draft pick from an HBCU. Part two focuses on the NFC. Part one, which focuses on the AFC, can be viewed by clicking here.
Cowboys, “Bullet” Bob Hayes – (Florida A&M)
Hayes was picked in the seventh round of the 1964 NFL Draft out of Florida A&M. He led the league in receiving touchdowns in each of his first two seasons and finished his career with more than 370 catches for nearly, 7,500 yard and 71 touchdowns. The Pro Football Hall of Famer is the only man in history to ever win a Super Bowl ring and an Olympic gold medals, having earned two (one in the 100-meter dash and another in the 4×100 meter-relay) in the 1968 games in Tokyo.
Giants, Michael Strahan – (Texas Southern)
Strahan, a Texas Southern product, was picked in the second round of the 1993 draft. The Hall of Famer was a seven-time Pro Bowler, two-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year and holds the league record for sacks in a season at 22.5.
Eagles, Harold Charmichael – (Southern)
Philadelphia took 6-8 Southern University wide receiver in the seventh-round of the 1971 NFL Draft. He rewarded them with four Pro-Bowl seasons. The franchise’s all-time leading receiver with 589 catches for 8,978 yards and 79 touchdowns, he’s a member of the Eagles’ Hall of Fame.
Redskins, Charlie Brown – (South Carolina State)
The South Carolina State wide receiver was the 201st player taken in the 1981 draft. He put up back-to-back all-pro seasons in 1982 and 1983. The eighth-round pick helped the Redskins win Super Bowl XVII and hauled in 78 catches for 1,225 yard and eight scores, all career-highs, the following season.
49ers, Jerry Rice – (Mississippi Valley State)
The 49ers took Rice 16th overall in 1985 out of Mississippi Valley State. The Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champ now holds the NFL record for career receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22, 22,895) and touchdowns (197).
Rams, Deacon Jones – (South Carolina State/Mississippi Valley State)
Widely-regarded as the greatest defensive lineman ever, Jones played at both South Carolina State and Mississippi Valley State before being taken in the 14th round . The eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Seahawks, Dwayne Harper – (South Carolina State)
The Seahawks picked up the former South Carolina State cornerback in the 11th round of the 1988 NFL Draft. He went on to have an 11-year career including stints with the Chargers and Lions, registering 24 interceptions and 571 tackles.
Cardinals, Aenas Williams – (Southern)
The Cardinals took Williams in the third round of the 1991 Draft. When it was all said and done 13 years later, the former Southern defensive back had recorded 795 tackles and 55 interceptions and been named a first-team all-pro on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Buccaneers, Doug Williams – (Grambling)
The Bucs selected the Grambling State quarterback with the No. 17 overall pick in the 1978 draft. In 1979, he threw for nearly 2,500 yards and led Tampa to the NFC title game after it had won just five games the previous season. Williams would go down as the first black starting quarterback to win an NFL championship after his MVP performance as a member of the Redskins in Super Bowl XXII.
Falcons, Claude Humphrey – (Tennessee State)
The Falcons knew what they had when they nabbed the Tennessee State defensive end with the third overall pick in the 1968 draft. The decision paid off when he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year before six Pro-Bowl seasons as part of a Hall-of-fame career.
Saints, Ken Burrough – (Texas Southern)
The former Texas Southern wide receiver was a top 10 pick in 1970. But the his career didn’t take off until a couple seasons later as a member of the Houston Oilers. He spent 10 years in H-Town, turning in all-pro seasons in 1975 and 1977.
Panthers, Tyrone Poole – (Fort Valley State)
Poole became the second draft pick in Carolina history when the then expansion team snatched the Fort Valley State defensive back up with the 22nd overall pick in the 1995 draft. He recorded 18 interceptions while suiting up for six teams in a 13-year career and earned a pair of Super Bowl rings with the Patriots.
Vikings, Sammy White – (Grambling)
The Vikings chose the Grambling State wide receiver in the second round of the 1976 draft. He produced immediately, snagging 51 passes for 906 yards and 10 touchdowns to take home NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. A three-time All-Pro selection, he finished his career with 6,400 yards receiving and 50 touchdowns and was named one of 50 greatest Vikings ever.
Bears, Walter Payton – (Jackson State)
Nicknamed “Sweetness”, Payton was a bruising runner. The No. 4 overall pick in the 1975 draft out of Jackson State, was a nine-time 1977 NFL MVP and Man of the Year. The Super Bowl champion rushed for 16, 726 yards, second-most all-time, and 110 touchdowns during his Hall of Fame career.
Packers, Donald Driver – (Alcorn State)
The Packers took a flyer on the Alcorn State wide receiver with a seventh-round pick (213th overall) in the 1999 draft. He never played a down for another franchise. Driver became a four-time Pro Bowl selection while racking up more than 10,000 yards and 60 touchdowns and becoming a Super Bowl champion.
Lions, Lem Barney – (Jackson State)
Barney proved he was better than advertised after the Lions took the Jackson State defensive back in the 1967 Draft. He lead the league in interception with 10, taking three back for touchdowns to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. During the rest of this 10-year career, he was picked for the Pro Bowl seven times and was inducted into the hall of fame.