Historical Stats & Info
"It is the most important victory of my career." -- Head Coach Dick Voris, after the
Hoos’ 15-12 victory over Duke on September 27, 1958.  Voris finished his UVA career
with a record of 1-29.
"We've stopped recruiting young men who want to come here to be students first and
athletes second." -- Former Virginia head coach Sonny Randle, describing his strategy
for turning around UVA's football program
"As the score mounted, to 20-0 and finally 26-0, his movements slowed. With two
minutes to go and South Carolina threatening once more, Voris stood behind several
rows of substitutes, staring at his shoes." -- Sports Illustrated, describing Coach Voris’
stellar coaching performance during the Hoos’ 26-0 loss to South Carolina in 1960
"Really, Texas wasn't as good as I thought they'd be." -- Ted Manly, Virginia's
freshman quarterback, after Texas had spanked the Hoos 68-0
Top-20 All-Time Former Hoo NFL Draft Picks
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With the NFL Draft scheduled to kick off this week, the HoosFootball.com braintrust
thought it would be a perfect time to come out with a countdown of the Top-20 All-
Time Former Hoo NFL Draft Picks.  While essentially an arbitrary list, the countdown
takes into account career accomplishments, draft position and value, awards and Pro
Bowl appearances, and gives extra credit for not killing dogs or otherwise participating
in off-field shenanigans and other forms of asshattery.  

Here's picks 11-20:

20. Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (1st round, 30th overall in 2005)

While Heath has been a productive player for the Steelers over the last five years and
has won two Super Bowls rings, he has not turned into the offensive force or fantasy
superstar that many Wahoo fans envisioned coming out of college.  He has started 76
of Pittsburgh's 78 games since he was drafted and has amassed over 2,700 yards
receiving and 27 TDs so far in his career.  While the Steelers brass may have wished
for a little more game-changing ability given the first round price tag, team officials are
at least quietly pleased he has never exposed his junk in front of underage girls at a
Georgia nightclub.

19. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, New York Jets (1st round, 4th overall in 2006)

After a solid career at UVA, Brick shot up the draft boards in 2006 thanks to his
impressive workouts, long arms, athletic frame, quick feet, and other stuff that makes
NFL scouts sound creepy.  He ultimately became (at the time) the second highest
drafted Wahoo in NFL Draft history.  His NFL career got off to a sluggish start, but he
is really starting to come into his own under new coach Rex Ryan, earning his first
Pro Bowl invitation in 2009.  With continued production over the remainder of his
career, he will certainly warrant a higher position in this top-20 list and further justify
that fourth overall selection.  I'm also looking forward to Brick writing a tell-all book
about Rex Ryan's eating and bathroom habits after his career is over.

18. Dick Ambrose, LB, Cleveland Browns (12th round, 290th overall in 1975)

Admittedly, Dick was a little before my time, but as the 290th player taken in the
1975 draft, he provided the Browns with significant value over his solid nine year
career.  He started 103 games at linebacker for Cleveland, retiring in 1983 with five
career interceptions and nine fumble recoveries.  Also of note in the 1975 draft, Walter
Payton was the fourth pick.  The top two picks that year were Steve Bartkowski and
Randy White – no shame there, especially with the selection of the Hall of Famer
White.  But the Baltimore Colts took OG Ken Huff with the third pick, instead of
selecting Sweetness.  Huff played for several years, but as much as NBA and NFL
draft blunders get publicized, that’s a pretty big boner by the Colts.

17. Ray Roberts, OT, Seattle Seahawks (1st round, 10th overall in 1992)

Roberts was one of two offensive linemen drafted in the 1st round under George
Welsh.  He went on to a solid career for Seattle and Detroit, starting in 116 games
over his nine year career.  (By the way, outside of Roberts and a few others, the 1992
draft was unbelievably craptacular.  When Troy Vincent is the best player chosen in
the first round, that draft's got serious problems.)

16. Don Majkowski, QB, Green Bay Packers (10th round, 255th overall in 1987)

The Majik Man was a virtual afterthought in the 1987 draft, taken in a round that does
not even exist anymore.  Needless to say, not much was expected from Majkowski,
but he managed to start five games during his rookie year.  He split time with
someone named Randy Wright over his first two years in the NFL and then exploded
on the scene in 1989, throwing for 4,318 yards and 27 TDs as Green Bay went 10-6
and returned to the playoffs.  Injuries over the next few years curtailed his production,
and Green Bay then traded for some QB on the Falcons roster named Brett
something-or-other.  That worked out kinda good for them.  Regardless, Majik was the
first UVA signal caller of the modern NFL era and Green Bay certainly got some
significant value for the 255th player chosen in 1987.

15. Matt Schaub, QB, Atlanta Falcons (3rd round, 90th overall in 2004)

Everyone is pretty familiar with Schaub's career.  Sitting as an understudy to the
cerebral Michael Vick for three years allowed him time to learn the NFL and shine in
some spot duty for Atlanta.  It ultimately paid off with a trade and a hefty contract from
the Houston Texans.  While Matt has struggled with injuries, his performance in 2009
was one of the greatest statistical seasons for a QB in NFL history, throwing for
almost 4,800 yards and leading Houston to their first winning season.  (It should also
be noted that J.P. Losman was the 22nd overall pick in 2004, and Steven Jackson
went 24th.  In other words, the Bills could have had Schaub and Jackson in their
backfield for the last 6 years.  Also of note, Buffalo has a new GM this year.)   

14. Chris Slade, OLB, New England Patriots (2nd round, 31st overall in 1993)

Slade's elite pass-rushing ability from the DE position at UVA was evident to Bill
Parcells and the New England Patriots, who selected him with the second pick of the
second round in 1993 (as a follow-up to the Drew Bledsoe pick).  Slade was converted
to an OLB in Parcells' scheme and he started 108 games and had 53.5 sacks during
his career.  He played in Super Bowl XXXI in 1996 and made the Pro Bowl in 1997.  
Incidentally, the 1993 draft was another crapfest.  Only 8 players out of 30 selected in
the first round made even a single Pro Bowl.  In short, Slade should easily have been
a first rounder.

13. Thomas Jones, RB, Arizona Cardinals (1st round, 7th overall in 2000)

Coming out of UVA, Jones looked to be a lock for becoming an absolute NFL stud
from Day 1.  It didn't work out that way, as he never got on track in Arizona and
needed four years in the league before he became a regular starter.  His career
ultimately has taken him to many different teams, where he seems to get better at
each stop.  Now TJ has reached the point that he has borderline Hall of Fame
statistics, but is unlikely to be voted in, partly because of his journeyman career
path.  He's like Gary Sheffield, only without the anger issues.  As he moves on to
Kansas City for his 11th year, he now has 9,217 career rushing yards (29th all-time)
and 62 rushing TDs (36th all-time).  Oh, and 11 years later, Arizona is still looking for
an everydown running back.

12. Sonny Randle, WR, Chicago Cardinals (19th round, 218th overall in 1958)

I'm over 40 years old, and the first time I’d ever consciously heard of Sonny Randle
was when I moved to Richmond and heard those kooky radio spots featuring Sonny
discussing some inane sports/human interest story (people who live in Richmond
know what I'm talking about).  I later came to learn he was a horrifically overmatched,
and sometimes controversial, head coach for UVA in the 1970's.  Only later still did I
find out he led the NFL in receptions for the entire decade of the 1960s.  Not bad for a
guy drafted in the 19th round.  He was first team All-Pro in 1960, catching 15 TD
passes, and made four Pro Bowls.  He finished with roughly 6,000 yards receiving and
65 TDs, which were even more impressive numbers back in the day.  

11. Aaron Brooks, QB, Green Bay Packers (4th round, 132nd overall in 1999)

Despite a very productive career and obvious talent and athleticism at the QB
position, Aaron Brooks dropped to the fourth round in 1999.  After riding the pine for
the Packers in 1999, Brooks was traded to the Saints and proceeded to become
arguably the most accomplished Saints QB of all time (up until Drew Brees, of
course).  Brooks led the Saints to their first playoff victory, and finished his career with
20,261 passing yards (88th all-time) and 123 TDs (93rd all-time).  Not bad for the 9th
QB taken in the 1999 draft, behind such luminaries as Shaun King, Joe Germaine,
Brock Huard, and Akili Smith.

Next Up: The Top-10.
UVA Football - Random Musings