10 colleges that have produced the best current NFL players
5. USC Trojans
There were 32 former Trojans on NFL rosters last season and four of them landed on The Top 100 Players of 2016, which was tied with Pittsburgh for the third-most in the league.
That group of four was topped by Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, a former first overall pick, 2005 AFC Player of the Year and three-time Pro Bowler. It also features Dallas Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith, Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, and Carolina Panthers center Matt Kalil.
Kalil is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro; Smith is a four-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro; and Matthews is a six-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and 2010 NFC Defensive Player of the Year. Those are some pretty impressive accolades any way you wish to slice it.
In addition to that group of four, USC has also produced Nelson Agholor, Matt Cassel, Khaled Holmes, Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga, Devon Kennard and Leonard Williams.
4. Alabama Crimson Tide
The gem of college football, it should come as no surprise that the power within the SEC, the Alabama Crimson Tide, produced 35 players who were on an NFL roster last season. However, only one of those players made it onto The Top 100 Players of 2016.
Of course, that one player is arguably the best wide receiver in the game.
Julio Jones has dominated since the moment he stepped foot on an NFL field, being named to the Pro Bowl four times and twice earning the honor of First Team All-Pro. He also led the league in yards in 2015, and has eclipsed 1,100 yards receiving four times in his young career.
In addition to Jones, Alabama has also sent two future members of the Top 100 Players to the NFL, including safety Landon Collins and wide receiver Amari Cooper, who barely missed the cut a season ago. Collins, in his second season, was a finalist for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, while Cooper has been named to the Pro Bowl twice.
Other big names produced by Alabama include Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Mark Ingram, C.J. Mosley, Marcell Dareus, Kareem Jackson and Dont’a Hightower.
3. Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers had 26 players on an active roster last season, and three of them were named among The Top 100 Players of 2016. In fact, all three of them were in the top 25 and one was within the top five.
That one is undoubtedly obvious to anyone who pays attention: Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
A first-round pick (No. 11 overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft, Watt has gone on to establish himself as one of the most feared defenders and elite players in the game. He’s won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award three times, has led the league in sacks twice, is a four-time First Team All-Pro and a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He also won the Bert Bell award in 2014.
In addition to Watt, the Badgers have also produced Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas. Wilson was named 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year and won Super Bowl XLVIII. Thomas is a 10-time Pro Bowler, two-time Second Team All-Pro and seven-time First Team All-Pro.
Other big names to come out of Wisconsin include Jonathan Casillas, Melvin Gordon, James White, Travis Frederick and Rick Wagner.
2. Georgia Bulldogs
33 former Bulldogs were on an NFL roster last season, and six of those were named to The Top 100 Players of 2016 — more than any other team in the league.
Georgia may not produce the most NFL players — although they still carry an impressive total — but their production of top-end players is unparalleled. Among their league-leading six players on the Top 100 is Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.
A six-year veteran, Green has gone to the Pro Bowl in every season of his career. He’s also a two-time All-Pro and has set several NFL and Bengals franchise records. Undeniably, he’s one of the truly elite wide receivers in the league.
Green was joined on the Top 100 by fellow Georgia products Todd Gurley, Justin Houston, Geno Atkins, Thomas Davis and Reshad Jones. Gurley was named the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year, while Houston led the league in sacks in 2014 and Atkins has been named to the Pro Bowl five times.
Perhaps most impressive of all? Davis won the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Other big names produced by Georgia include Leonard Floyd, Matthew Stafford, Benjamin Watson, Blair Walsh, Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo.
1. LSU Tigers
Several college programs have produced a lot of talent, but based solely on the current crop of NFL players, none compare to that of Louisiana State University.
LSU features a remarkable 40 players who were on an active roster during the 2016 season. But it’s not just the sheer quantity of their representation, but rather the quality of their representation. Five of those 40 players were featured on The Top 100 Players of 2016, which was second only to Georgia, who had six.
That list of five is capped off by New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is now an international superstar and the holder of more records than we could possibly recite. He’s been in the league for three years and has been named to the Pro Bowl three times. He’s also a two-time All-Pro and was awarded the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Not to be outdone, Beckham Jr.’s LSU wide receiver counterpart, Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins, also made the Top 100 having been named No. 98 overall. And like Beckham Jr., he’s an NFL record holder and two-time Pro Bowler.
Other Top 100 players from LSU include Arizona Cardinals defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, and now-Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth.
LSU has also produced quality NFL talent in the form of La’el Collins, Jeremy Hill, Kwon Alexander, Deion Jones, Donnie Jones, Rueben Randle, Zach Mettenberger, Jalen Mills, Eric Reid, Brad Wing, Kyle Williams and Spencer Ware.