Talent wealth: UNC’s top NFL draft picks since 1970

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GREENVILLE, NC (Stacker.com) — With the NFL Draft just weeks away, Stacker.com and Pro Football Reference have taken inspiration from the past.

Each year, the college draft serves as a source of renewal for professional football and a testament to the quality of college programs nationwide. As the 2022 NFL Draft takes place April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker compiled a list of the North Carolina Tar Heels’ top NFL draft picks using data from Professional Football Reference. Ties were broken by the final draft year.

Stacker has compiled a list of the top NFL draft picks from East Carolina Monday, NC State Tuesday, duke wednesday and Wake Forest Thursday.

Thomas Smith (AP picture)

#20. Thomas Smith (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 1993
– By: Buffalo Bills
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 7 (0 Pro Bowls)

#19. Brian Blados (T)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 1984
– Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#18. Harris Barton (T)
– Draft pick: round 1, #22 overall in 1987
– Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 10 (1 Pro Bowls)

#17. Don McCauley (RB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #22 overall in 1971
– Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#16. Marcus Jones (DE)
– Draft pick: round 1, #22 overall in 1996
– Drafted by: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. Ebenezer Ekuban (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #20 overall in 1999
– Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. Vonnie Holiday (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #19 overall in 1998
– Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 9 (0 Pro Bowls)

#13. Donnell Thompson (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #18 overall in 1981
– Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 11 (0 Pro Bowls)

Brian Simmons (UNC sports news photo)

#12. Brian Simmons (LB)
– Draft pick: round 1, 17th overall in 1998
– Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 8 (0 Pro Bowls)

#11. Quinton Coples (DE)
– Draft pick: round 1, #16 overall in 2012
– Drafted by: NY Jets
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#ten. Ethan Horton (ET)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #15 overall in 1985
– Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 5 (1 Pro Bowls)

Robert Quinn (AP photo)

#9. Robert Quinn (DE)
– Draft pick: round 1, #14 overall in 2011
– Drafted by: St. Louis Rams
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 9 (3 Pro Bowls)

#8. Eric Ebron (TE)
– Draft pick: round 1, 10th overall in 2014
– Drafted by: Detroit Lions
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 4 (1 Pro Bowls)

#7. Greg Ellis (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 1, No. 8 overall in 1998
– Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 12 (1 Pro Bowls)

#6. Jonathan Cooper (G)
– Draft pick: round 1, 7th overall in 2013
– Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#5. Ryan Sims (DT)
– Draft pick: round 1, #6 overall in 2002
– Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#4. Ken Huff (G)
– Draft pick: Round 1, No. 3 overall in 1975
– Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 8 (0 Pro Bowls)

jules peppers ap_1537573791043.JPG-873704001.jpg
Julius Peppers (AP photo)

#3. Julius Peppers (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 1, No. 2 overall in 2002
– Drafted by: Carolina Panthers
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 16 (9 Pro Bowls)

#2. Mitchell Trubisky (QB)
– Draft pick: round 1, #2 overall in 2017
– Drafted by: Chicago Bears
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 4 (1 Pro Bowls)

Lawrence Taylor (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

#1. Lawrence Taylor (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, No. 2 overall in 1981
– Drafted by: NY Giants
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 13 (10 Pro Bowls)

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