Maryland colleges have produced over 300 NFL Draft picks

Capital News Service

April 25 marks the beginning of the NFL Draft, a three-day event during which the league’s 32 teams select the top collegiate players.

While none of this year’s most coveted prospects played college football in Maryland, the state may produce a few selections in the later rounds.

Former Maryland Terrapins safety Beau Brade is the highest-rated prospect this year by among those who played college football in Maryland. A few other former Terrapins, including quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, are also potential picks.

Other Maryland colleges like Towson, Morgan State and Navy currently don’t have any prospects listed on, but each school has produced multiple NFL Draft picks over the years.

With the 89th NFL Draft two days away, here is what to know about every player selected from a Maryland college:

Most draft picks from Maryland colleges are former Terrapins

There have been 319 players from a Maryland college selected in the NFL Draft since the annual event began in 1936.

Seventy percent of those drafted players have attended the University of Maryland, College Park. Most of the rest have been selected from either Morgan State, the Naval Academy or Maryland Eastern Shore, which discontinued its football program in 1980.

Six players have been drafted from Towson, while Frostburg State and Johns Hopkins have each produced one selection.

The number of rounds and overall picks in the NFL Draft has changed throughout the past eight-plus decades. Today’s draft structure has seven rounds, each with 32 picks, for a total of 224 selections.

Forty-three players from Maryland colleges have been selected somewhere between No. 65 and No. 96 overall, making them third-round picks under the draft’s current format. Meanwhile, the 91 players picked later than No. 224 overall would not have been selected in today’s draft.

Randy White is the state’s highest draft pick — the Dallas Cowboys selected the former Maryland Terrapins standout second overall in 1975. Joe Cowan, Johns Hopkins’ lone selection, was the 441st player chosen in the 1969 draft, making him Maryland’s lowest overall pick.

Maryland college draft picks play in an average of 66 NFL games

Two-thirds of the 319 players drafted from a Maryland college have appeared in an NFL game. The 215 players with at least one NFL appearance have played in an average of 66 games over their respective careers as of April 2024.

Seventeen Maryland college draft picks are currently on an NFL roster, and all but two attended the University of Maryland.

Stefon Diggs is perhaps the most notable active player drafted from a Maryland college.

The Minnesota Vikings selected the wide receiver from the University of Maryland with the 146th pick in 2015. Diggs has amassed 9,995 receiving yards and 67 touchdown receptions entering his 10th season.

The former Terrapin is best known for his game-winning, 61-yard touchdown reception as time expired in the Vikings’ 29-24 win over the New Orleans Saints in the 2017 NFC Divisional Playoffs.

Diggs, along with fellow University of Maryland draftees Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson, are among the four active NFL players with at least 100 career NFL appearances.

Joe Cardona is the longest-tenured active NFL player drafted from a Maryland college. The New England Patriots long snapper has played in 144 games since the team drafted him from Navy in 2015.

Cardona would need to play about five more full seasons to eclipse Carl Hairston for the most career appearances by a player selected from a Maryland college. Hairston played in 224 games throughout his 15-year career, which began when the Philadelphia Eagles selected the defensive lineman from Maryland-Eastern Shore in 1976.

Maryland colleges have produced seven Hall of Fame draft picks

Roughly one in 45 NFL Draft picks from a Maryland college has forged a Hall of Fame career.

White, enshrined in 1994, and Stan Jones, a 1991 inductee, are the Terrapins’ two Hall of Fame draft picks. White’s Dallas Cowboys teammate, quarterback Roger Staubach, is Navy’s lone Hall of Famer. Art Shell remains the only Hall of Fame draft pick from Maryland-Eastern Shore.

The state’s three remaining Hall of Famers played collegiately at Morgan State, which has produced just 36 of the state’s 319 draft picks.

Roosevelt Brown, selected in 1953 out of Morgan State, was the first draft pick from a Maryland college to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Following Brown’s induction in 1975, Willie Lanier and Leroy Kelly joined their fellow Morgan State star in the Hall of Fame in 1986 and 1994, respectively.

Brown played in 162 games and earned six All-Pro awards over 13 seasons, but the legendary left tackle may not have been selected if the current NFL Draft structure existed in the 1950s. Brown was picked 322nd overall, a slot well beyond today’s draft format.

Meanwhile, White’s Hall of Fame career fulfilled his worth as the highest draft pick out of a Maryland college. White is one of the state’s nine collegiate players — all of whom are former Terrapins — to be drafted in the top 10.

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