Top All-Time NFL Players from the University of Miami

With college football season right around the corner, I am excited to see the next crop of college stars who have a future in the NFL. Having graduated from high school in the eighties, I grew up watching the University of Miami and the craziness and success that happened during that time. So many players from the “U” went on to illustrious NFL careers. As a result, I reflected on the former Hurricanes from 1980 to the present who had the best NFL careers.miamibringit

Offense

Quarterback: Jim Kelly. Kelly chose Miami over Penn St. because Joe Paterno wanted him to play linebacker. He led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls, albeit all losses, during an 11 year NFL career that saw Kelly named to five Pro Bowls. Kelly was voted to the Pro Football Fall of Fame in 2002.

Running backs: Edgerrin James and Frank Gore. The Edge is the all-time leading rusher for the Indianapolis Colts and made four Pro Bowls in his 11-year NFL career where he twice led the NFL in rushing. Gore’s body of work in the NFL is often underappreciated. He is entering his 11th season in the NFL where he is a five-time Pro-Bowler and the all-time rushing leader for the San Francisco 49ers.

Wide Receivers: Michael Irvin and Reggie Wayne. Irvin made five consecutive Pro Bowls from 1991-1995 where he helped the Dallas Cowboys win three Super Bowls in that time. He made the Pro Bowl five times in his 12-year NFL career that resulted in being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. Wayne spent 14 years with the Indianapolis Colts where he has made the Pro Bowl six times and made 1,070 receptions.

Tight End: Jimmy Graham. Although he has only played five years in the NFL and one year of college football, Graham has made three Pro Bowls and caught 51 touchdowns. Graham is a nightmare in the red zone for defenses.

Offensive tackle: Bryant McKinnie and Leon Searcy. McKinnie spent 12 years in the NFL and Searcy played for 11 years. Both were voted to one Pro Bowl.

Offensive guard: Dennis Harrah and Vernon Carey. Harrah played 13 seasons in the NFL and made six Pro Bowls while being voted All-Pro seven times. Carey was chosen as the second guard by default since he was the best of a weak group over the last 35 years. He never made a Pro Bowl, but was a solid starter for seven of his eight seasons in the NFL.

Center- Chris Myers, Jr. Myers is entering his 11th season in the NFL where he remains one of the top centers in the league.

Defense

Defensive ends: Calais Campbell and Danny Stubbs. Campbell is entering his ninth NFL season with the Arizona Cardinals and is coming off his first Pro Bowl. Stubbs was mostly a role player during his career where he recorded 51.5 sacks in ten seasons.

Defensive tackles: Cortez Kennedy and Warren Sapp. Kennedy and Sapp made 8 and 7 Pro Bowls, respectively. Both are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Middle linebacker: Ray Lewis. My pick as the best middle linebacker of all-time. Lewis was named to 13 Pro Bowls and was a ten-time All-Pro in his seventeen year career. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003 and was named to the 2000’s All-Decade team. Lewis won the Super Bowl twice with the Baltimore Ravens winning the MVP and riding off into retirement and a first ballot Hall of Fame induction after the second Super Bowl victory.

Outside linebackers: Jessie Armstead and D.J. Williams. Armstead made four Pro Bowls in 11 seasons and Williams has played both outside and inside linebacker while amassing 899 tackles in 11 seasons.

Cornerbacks: Ryan McNeil and Phillip Buchanon. McNeil led the NFL in interceptions in 1997 and made the Pro Bowl in 2001. Buchanon played ten years in the NFL returning five of his 20 interceptions for touchdowns.

Free Safety: Ed Reed. Another player who I consider to be the best ever at his position, Reed played 12 seasons in the NFL where he made nine Pro Bowls and was voted All-Pro eight times. Reed was the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Strong Safety: Bennie Blades. Blades was a hard-hitting safety who made one Pro Bowl and recorded three seasons with over 100 tackles.

Special Teams

Punter: Jeff Feagles. Feagles punted a remarkable 22 years in the NFL and made 2 Pro Bowls, was voted All-Pro once, and owns 22 NFL punting records.

Kicker: With this offense who needs a kicker. There is no kicker worth mentioning.

Returner: Devin Hester. A four-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro as a returner, Hester owns 10 NFL records. He has also caught 255 passes in limited duty as a receiver throughout his career.

There you have it. Agree? Disagree? I am interested in your thoughts.

And that’s as I see it!

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