(Stacker) – While most colleges and universities field a football team as part of its general athletics program, there are some for which football is more than merely a sport—it’s akin almost to a religion. Devotion to the team and its colors is as important to that school’s culture as a religious icon is to a believer. These programs actively scout and recruit notable high school players, and are in turn rigorously applied to by matriculating seniors eager to make a name for themselves at the collegiate level.


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Among the most notable college football empires are Notre Dame, the universities of Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, Penn State, Ohio State—the list goes on and on.

But for every touchstone football school, there is an outlier that has produced some of the most successful and cherished players in the game. Think Jackson State, which gave us “Sweetness” himself, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. Or Mississippi Valley State, which yielded 3-time Super Bowl champion and #1 Player in NFL History, as voted by the NFL Network, ‘49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Each year, the college draft serves as a source of renewal to professional football and a testament to the quality of college programs nationwide. With the 2022 NFL draft set to take place April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker compiled a list of the highest NFL draft picks from the New Mexico Lobos using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Scott McGarrahan (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 6, #156 overall in 1998
– Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#19. Terance Mathis (WR)
– Draft pick: Round 6, #140 overall in 1990
– Drafted by: NY Jets
– Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (1 Pro Bowls)

#18. Andy Frederick (T)
– Draft pick: Round 5, #137 overall in 1977
– Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#17. Jarrod Baxter (FB)
– Draft pick: Round 5, #136 overall in 2002
– Drafted by: Houston Texans
– Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#16. Don Woods (RB)
– Draft pick: Round 6, #134 overall in 1974
– Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. Claude Terrell (G)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #134 overall in 2005
– Drafted by: St. Louis Rams
– Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. Glover Quin (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #112 overall in 2009
– Drafted by: Houston Texans
– Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (1 Pro Bowls)

#13. Marcus Smith (WR)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #106 overall in 2008
– Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#12. Chris Combs (TE)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #106 overall in 1980
– Drafted by: Houston Texans
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#11. Steve Myer (QB)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #93 overall in 1976
– Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#10. Charles Baker (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #81 overall in 1980
– Drafted by: St. Louis Rams
– Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Stoney Case (QB)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #80 overall in 1995
– Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#8. Ramos McDonald (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #80 overall in 1998
– Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
– Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. Winslow Oliver (RB)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #73 overall in 1996
– Drafted by: Carolina Panthers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#6. David Sloan (TE)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #70 overall in 1995
– Drafted by: Detroit Lions
– Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (1 Pro Bowls)

#5. Sam Scarber (RB)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #69 overall in 1971
– Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#4. Quincy Black (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #68 overall in 2007
– Drafted by: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Ryan Cook (C)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #51 overall in 2006
– Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
– Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Robin Cole (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #21 overall in 1977
– Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (1 Pro Bowls)

#1. Brian Urlacher (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #9 overall in 2000
– Drafted by: Chicago Bears
– Years as a starter in NFL: 12 (8 Pro Bowls)