Home FOOTBALL NFL Draft: Top 20 football players with Idaho ties selected

NFL Draft: Top 20 football players with Idaho ties selected

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From Riggins, Idaho to America’s Team: Leighton Vander Esch reflects on his journey

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is new poster child for small-town America kids .



Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is new poster child for small-town America kids .







The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft will be televised on ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network beginning at 6 p.m. MT on Thursday from Nashville, Tennessee.

Coverage continues at 5 p.m. Friday with rounds 2-3 on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and the NFL Network, and concludes with rounds 4-7 starting at 10 a.m. Saturday on ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network.

Experts predict Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Alexander Mattison likely will hear their names called on Saturday. And Idaho linebacker Kaden Elliss impressed scouts at pro day workouts in Moscow and at the University of Utah earlier this month.

All three players would need to greatly exceed expectations just to crack the list of the top 20 draft picks in Gem State history.

Here are those players listed in order by overall pick:

JORDAN GROSS

Overall: 8 (first round)

Gem State tie: Fruitland High

NFL team: Carolina Panthers

Year: 2003

The offensive tackle played all of his 11 seasons as a pro with the Panthers and was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2008, 2010 and 2013. He did not miss a single start over 167 games.

DEAN MCADAMS

Overall: 8 (first round)

Gem State tie: Caldwell High

NFL team: Brooklyn Dodgers

Year: 1941

Listed as a tailback, this Idaho native did a little bit of everything in the NFL, including rushing, passing, receiving, kicking, punting and some defense. McAdams appeared in 30 games over three seasons with 11 starts.

RyanClady.jpg

Ryan Clady is the highest draft pick in Boise State history, going 12th overall to the Denver Broncos in 2008.

Marcio Jose Sanchez

AP

RYAN CLADY

Overall: 12 (first round)

Gem State tie: Boise State

NFL team: Denver Broncos

Year: 2008

The tackle from Rialto, California, is the highest draft pick in Boise State history. He played seven seasons with the Broncos and was on injured reserve when they won the Super Bowl in 2015.

RAY MCDONALD

Overall: 13 (first round)

Gem State tie: Idaho

NFL team: Washington Redskins

Year: 1967

He played in 13 games for the Redskins over two seasons, totaling 223 rushing yards and four touchdowns and 10 receptions for 60 yards.

MIKE IUPATI

Overall: 17 (first round)

Gem State tie: Idaho

NFL team: San Francisco 49ers

Year: 2010

The offensive guard will begin his 10th season in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. He previously played five seasons with the 49ers (2010-14) and four with the Arizona Cardinals (2015-18).

SHEA MCCLELLIN

Overall: 19 (first round)

Gem State tie: Marsing High/Boise State

NFL team: Chicago Bears

Year: 2012

Concussions shortened the outside linebacker’s career, but not before he won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots in 2017. McClellin had 200 tackles and 8.5 sacks in 66 NFL games.

LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH

Overall: 19 (first round)

Gem State tie: Salmon River High/Boise State

NFL team: Dallas Cowboys

Year: 2018

The former eight-man standout made the Pro Bowl as a rookie linebacker after racking up 140 tackles and two interceptions in 16 games.

BOB KENNEDY

Overall: 27 (fourth round)

Gem State tie: Sandpoint High

NFL team: Philadelphia Eagles/Pittsburgh Steelers (Steagles)

Year: 1943

During the 1940s, many NFL players were fighting in World War II, which forced teams like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to combine rosters in order to field a team. Kennedy played his first professional game at running back in 1946 for the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference and played in 58 games over five seasons.

RobMorris.jpg

Nampa High graduate Rob Morris won a Super Bowl ring with the Indianapolis Colts.

Al Behrman

AP

ROB MORRIS

Overall: 28 (first round)

Gem State tie: Nampa High

NFL team: Indianapolis Colts

Year: 2000

He played eight seasons with Indianapolis, winning Super Bowl XLI. At linebacker, Morris collected 482 total tackles and started 67 of the 99 games he played.

KYLE WILSON

Overall: 29 (first round)

Gem State tie: Boise State

NFL team: New York Jets

Year: 2010

He played the majority of his career with the Jets and still owns two of the top 10 longest punt returns in Boise State history. At cornerback, he totaled 186 tackles and four interceptions in six seasons as a pro.

MARKUS KOCH

Overall: 30 (second round)

Gem State tie: Boise State

NFL team: Washington Redskins

Year: 1986

Born in Niedermarsberg, Germany, Koch was inducted into the Boise State Hall of Fame in 1993. He won a Super Bowl ring in 1988.

DOUG MARTIN

Overall: 31 (first round)

Gem State tie: Boise State

NFL team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Year: 2012

Martin ranks among the top 10 in Boise State history for single-season and career rushing yards. The two-time Pro Bowler played six seasons with the Bucs and was on Oakland’s roster in 2018. He is currently an unrestricted free agent.

DAVID HUGHES

Overall: 31 (second round)

Gem State tie: Boise State

NFL team: Seattle Seahawks

Year: 1981

The running back was inducted into the Boise State Hall of Fame in 1988. Hughes played five seasons with the Seahawks and one with the Pittsburgh Steelers, finishing his career with 1,041 rushing yards and two touchdowns, plus 864 receiving yards and five more scores.

JEEP BRETT

Overall: 33 (fourth round)

Gem State tie: Lewiston High

NFL team: Chicago Cardinals

Year: 1936

His career lasted two seasons between the Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates as he totaled 15 receptions for 274 yards and one touchdown.

DEMARCUS LAWRENCE

Overall: 34 (second round)

Gem State tie: Boise State

NFL team: Dallas Cowboys

Year: 2014

The defensive end recently inked a five-year deal worth $105 million, making him the third-highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. He ranks among the top 10 in Boise State history in single-season and career sacks.

THERON WARD

Overall: 34 (fourth round)

Gem State tie: Idaho

NFL team: Green Bay Packers

Year: 1936

Ward was the first Vandal drafted to play professionally, and his 80-yard run against Montana in 1936 is tied for the 11th longest in program history. He never played in the NFL, opting instead to begin law school.

JerryKramer.jpg

Former Green Bay Packer and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer is honored at a halftime ceremony of an NFL game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 16, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis.

Jeffrey Phelps

AP

JERRY KRAMER

Overall: 39 (fourth round)

Gem State tie: Sandpoint High/Idaho

NFL team: Green Bay Packers

Year: 1958

He played 11 seasons at right guard for the Packers, winning the first two Super Bowls in league history. Kramer was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

JAKE PLUMMER

Overall: 42 (second round)

Gem State tie: Capital High

NFL team: Arizona Cardinals

Year: 1997

Nicknamed “Jake the Snake,” Plummer played 10 seasons at quarterback in the NFL between the Cardinals (1997 to 2002) and Denver Broncos (2003-06). He amassed 29,253 passing yards and 161 TDs during his pro career.

KAMALEI CORREA

Overall: 42 (second round)

Gem State tie: Boise State

NFL team: Baltimore Ravens

Year: 2016

He still ranks among the top 10 in Boise State history in single-season and career sacks.

TITUS YOUNG

Overall: 44 (second round)

Gem State tie: Boise State

NFL team: Detroit Lions

Year: 2011

His troubles off the field cut his NFL career short. He played just two seasons for the Lions at receiver. Young’s 3,063 career receiving yards rank second in Boise State history.

Notes: This list does not include Idaho-born players who attended high school outside the Gem State. … The highest draft pick at Idaho State was Rick Scribner, who was chosen with the 74th overall pick in the third round of the 1977 draft by the Green Bay Packers. … College of Idaho has five players in the program’s history taken in the draft. The Yotes’ top pick was R.C. Owens, who was the 160th overall pick in the 14th round of the 1956 draft by the San Francisco 49ers. … Draft information was gathered using ProFootballReference.com.

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Rachel Roberts has been covering sports for the Idaho Statesman since 2005. She attended Northwest Nazarene University and is Boise born and raised.

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