HBCUs Have a Bone to Pick: FCS-Era Programs With the Most NFL Draft Picks
FCS

HBCUs Have a Bone to Pick: FCS-Era Programs With the Most NFL Draft Picks

The push by HBCUs to get more NFL attention on their players seems to have merit.

Division I was split into the FCS (then called Division I-AA) and the FBS (then Division I-A) in 1978, and during their FCS era, the programs with the four-highest totals of NFL Draft selections – as well as eight of the top 15 – are HBCUs. This list is led by Jackson State, whose current coach, Deion Sanders, is among those taking the league to task on the issue.

Following are the 15 FCS programs with the most draft selections during their FCS era (some since the 1979 draft, others in the the draft after they joined the subdivision):

1. Jackson State (42)

First Pick in FCS Era: DT Robert Hardy (1979, Seattle Seahawks, 10th round)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: OLB James Houston IV (2022, Detroit Lions, 6th)

2. Grambling State (36)

First Pick in FCS Era: DL Bruce Radford (1979, Denver Broncos, 3rd)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: WR Chad Williams (2018, Arizona Cardinals, 3rd)

T3. South Carolina State (33)

First Pick in FCS Era: DT Phil Murphy (1980, Los Angeles Rams, 3rd)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: CB Decobie Durant (2022, Los Angeles Rams, 4th)

T3. Tennessee State (33)

First Pick in FCS Era: DE Malcolm Taylor (1982, Houston Oilers, 5th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: OG Lachavious Simmons (2020, Chicago Bears, 7th)

5. Northwestern State (26)

First Pick in FCS Era: OG Petey Perot (1980, Philadelphia Eagles, 2nd)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: DT Deon Simon (2015, New York Jets, 7th)

6. Southern University (23)

First Pick in FCS Era: DT Ken Times (1980, San Francisco 49ers,5th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: OG J’Atyre Carte (2022, Chicago Bears, 7th)

T7. Eastern Kentucky (22)

First Pick in FCS Era: DB George Floyd (1982, New York Jets, 4th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: DE Noah Spence (2016, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2nd)

T7. Montana (22)

First Pick in FCS Era: C Guy Bingham (1980, New York Jets, 10th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: WR Samori Toure (2022, Green Bay Packers, 7th)

9. Florida A&M (21)

First Pick in FCS Era: DB Thomas Lane (1980, Minnesota Vikings, 12th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: LB Brandon Hepburn (2013, Detroit Lions, 7th)

T10. Appalachian State (20)

First Pick in FCS Era: DE Leroy Howell (1984, Buffalo Bills, 9th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: DB Demetrius McCray (2013, Jacksonville Jaguars, 7th)

T10. Northern Arizona (20)

First Pick in FCS Era: RB Allan Clark (1979, New England Patriots, 10th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: P Paul Ernster (2005, Denver Broncos, 7th)

T12. Alcorn State (17)

First Pick in FCS Era: WR Larry Willis (1979, Kansas City Chiefs, 10th round)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: WR Donald Driver (1999, Green Bay Packers, 7th round)

T12. Chattanooga (17)

First Pick in FCS Era: LB Lawrence Green (1984, New York Giants, 12th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: OG Cole Strange (2022, New England Patriots, 1st)

T12. Northern Iowa (17)

First Pick in FCS Era: QB Steve Sandon (1982, New England Patriots, 11th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: OT Trevor Penning (2022, New Orleans Saints, 1st)

15. North Carolina A&T (16)

First Pick in FCS Era: DE Dwaine Board (1979, Pittsburgh Steelers, 5th)

Most Recent Pick in FCS Era: DE Darryl Johnson (2019, Buffalo Bills, 7th)

Research support provided by Stats Perform’s Chase Weight.