Who are the best draft picks of the century from the most prominent programs in college football? College Football 24/7 set out to answer this question by ranking the top draft picks since 2000 from the 30 schools that have produced the most picks since that year.
Players were ranked through a formula in which they received points for honors they've acquired in their NFL career, including being selected to the Pro Bowl (including as injury replacements) and being selected first-team All-Pro. Players were also rewarded relative to where in the draft they were selected. First-round picks benefited least because a strong career would be expected; seventh-round picks benefited most. In some cases, a bonus for longevity or outstanding play was granted. See the full formula below the list of top picks.
We close the Best Picks of the Century series with Louisville, which has placed 50 players in the NFL draft since 2000 to rank 30th among all schools. The best pick of the group was easily Elvis Dumervil. The No. 2 player on the list, Teddy Bridgewater, began his career with a flourish in 2014 but hasn't played since 2015 and still has a long way to go in his recovery from the severe knee injury he suffered in a non-contact drill before last season.
Bridgewater is among five first-round picks Louisville sent to the NFL from 2014-16. The Cardinals had a school-record 10 players selected in the 2015 draft, but none has emerged enough early in his career to make this list.
Best picks of the century from Louisville
1. Elvis Dumervil, defensive end
Drafted by:Broncos, No. 126 overall pick (Round 4), 2006
Skinny: Dumervil proved that 5-foot-11 isn't too short to rush the passer. And while his height might have had something to do with him falling to the fourth round, it hasn't prevented him from piling up 99 career sacks, including an NFL-high 17 in 2009. He's been selected to five Pro Bowls, and after the Baltimore Ravensreleased him in March, he signed with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this month.
2. Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback
Drafted by:Vikings, No. 32 overall pick (Round 1), 2014
Skinny: Bridgewater was considered the most NFL-ready QB in the 2014 class, but he was the third QB off the board that year, and there's a perception that his slide resulted from a poor pro-day workout. The Vikings ended his slide, trading up eight spots with the Seattle Seahawks to make Bridgewater the final pick of the first round in 2014. He started 12 games as a rookie, showing promise, and made significant strides in making the Pro Bowl in his second year, when he led the Vikings to the playoffs. He missed all of 2016 with a severe knee injury he suffered during a non-contact drill in practice, and is now on the mend.
3. Eric Wood, center
Drafted by:Bills, No. 28 overall pick (Round 1), 2009
Skinny: Eight years into his pro career, Wood remains the most recent Louisville offensive lineman to be selected in the first round. He has spent all eight of his NFL seasons in Buffalo, where he's notched 104 starts, and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015. The Bills played Wood at right guard initially, but he took over as the club's full-time center in 2011.
4. Kerry Rhodes, defensive back
Drafted by:Jets, No. 123 overall pick (Round 4), 2005
Skinny: Not many fourth-round picks log 16 starts as a rookie; Rhodes not only did that, he started every game for the Jets over his first four years in the NFL. The club then signed him to an extension worth $33.5 million in 2008, but two years later, he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals. He finished his eight-year career with 23 interceptions.
5. Deion Branch, wide receiver
Drafted by:Patriots, No. 65 overall pick (Round 2), 2002
Skinny: Over 11 seasons, Branch sandwiched two stints with the New England Patriots around a 2006-2010 run with the Seahawks. The Patriots traded him to Seattle after a bitter contract holdout, and got a first-round pick for him. After three-plus seasons in Seattle, the Seahawks traded Branch back to New England. He caught more than 500 career passes and earned MVP honors in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Total number of picks from Louisville since 2000: 50
Draft multiplier: Total points for first-round picks x 1.1; second-round picks x 1.2; third-round picks x 1.3; fourth-round picks x 1.4; fifth-round picks x 1.5; sixth-round picks x 1.6; seventh-round picks x 1.7.
Tiebreaker: Ranking edge to lower-drafted player within same round.
Specialists and fullbacks: For players honored primarily as specialists or fullbacks, their total points were devalued. Kickers and punters were not included in this exercise.