(Editor’s note: Rest easy, readers – you’re in the hands of one of Texas’ most respected urological surgeons. Dr. Wang is here to break down the best Sooners in the history of the National Football League as part of Best of Week. So, relax and breathe deep, because this won’t hurt a bit.)
So Homerism has entrusted Dr. Wild Wang with compiling a list of the greatest OU football players in NFL history. Considering the long and storied history of the program, this seems like quite a daunting task. So, who better to tackle this quest than yours truly?
1. Adrian Peterson, RB – Minnesota Vikings
Call it a product of my age, but I can’t place AD anywhere but at the top. I’ve seen too many highlight-reel runs to consider placing him at any other position. Peterson inexplicably fell to the Vikings at seven in the 2007 draft and hasn’t looked back since. Peterson has already amassed over 5,700 career rushing yards and 54 total touchdowns in four short seasons, while making the Pro Bowl every year.
Peterson may best be known for his record-breaking performance in his rookie season when he rushed for 296 yards in a single game against the Chargers.
2. Lee Roy Selmon, DE – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Selmon was not only the first overall pick of the 1976 NFL Draft, but he was the first draft pick in the history of the Bucs. Selmon put together six straight Pro Bowl seasons, with 1979 arguably his best when he recorded 117 tackles and 11 sacks while being named the NFL’s defensive player of the year. In 1995 he achieved NFL immortality with his induction into the Hall of Fame.
3. Keith Jackson, TE – Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers
Jackson started his NFL career with a bang, recording 81 catches for 869 yards and 6 TDs for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988. Jackson make six Pro Bowls during his career and even brought home a Super Bowl title with the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. All told, he finished his career with an impressive 49 TDs from the tight end position.
4. Tommy McDonald, WR – Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns
I have no choice but to place the last non-kicker to play in the NFL without a facemask in the top five of this list. The 12-year NFL veteran played in six Pro Bowls and helped the Eagles win the 1960 NFL championship. He finished his career with more than 8,000 receiving yards and 84 TDs.
McDonald was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1998, but may be best known to OU fans as one of the leaders of a college football team that never lost a game he played in.
(Editor’s note: Homie’s in the Hall of Fame and you have him fourth?)
5. Billy Sims, RB – Detroit Lions
Like Selmon, Sims was the first overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft. While his career was cut short by injury after only five seasons, he’s an easy choice for the top five on this list. He finished his career with 42 touchdowns and more than 5,000 yards rushing while making three straight Pro Bowls in the early ’80s. Maybe most impressive, though, was his ability to lead the Lions into the playoffs.
6. Roy Williams, DB – Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals
Superman himself comes in at six on the list mostly for the stellar career he put together in his six seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Williams was a five-time Pro Bowler during his Cowboy years and is undoubtedly one of the biggest hitters in OU football history. His career includes more than 500 tackles and 20 interceptions, and he’s one of the true nice guys in the NFL.
7. Greg Pruitt, RB – Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Raiders
Pruitt played 12 seasons in the NFL for the Browns and Raiders, where he made five Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl. Pruitt finished his career with more than 5,500 yards rushing and 45 total touchdowns. He even made the Pro Bowls as a kick returner.
8. Tony Casillas, DT – Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets
Casillas was the second overall pick of the Falcons in the 1986 draft. That season, he recorded 111 tackles and made the All-Rookie team. Casillas finished his 12-year career in 1997 with the Dallas Cowboys after being invited to two Pro Bowls and winning two Super Bowl rings.
9. Jammal Brown, OT – New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins
Brown was taken 13th overall by the New Orleans Saints in the 2005 draft. Since then he has made two Pro Bowls, was named first-team All-Pro in 2006 and won a Super Bowl. A trade to the Redskins in 2010 paired Brown with another former Sooner, Trent Williams, on the offensive line.
10. Tommie Harris, DT – Chicago Bears
After being taken 14th in the 2004 draft by the Chicago Bears, Harris quickly found NFL success, finishing second in the defensive ROY voting. He proceeded to make three straight Pro Bowls and became known league wide as one of the best young defensive tackles in the game.
Harris may be known best for turning down the 2002 Playboy All-American Team photo shoot because he “didn’t like pornography”… OK, Tommie.