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How Many Wyoming Cowboys Have Been Selected In The NFL Draft?

Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images
Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

Three former Wyoming Cowboys are hoping to hear their name called at the NFL Draft this week. Running back Brian Hill is projected as a 4th round pick; center Chase Roullier will likely be selected in the 5th or 6th round and linebacker Lucas Wacha could also be a late-round pick.

80 Wyoming players have been selected in the NFL Draft, dating back to 1947. Of those, 66 former Pokes have gone on to play in the league.

The last Wyoming player to be drafted was Mark Nzeocha, who was chosen by the Dallas Cowboys in the 7th round in 2015.

In 2014, two Cowboys were selected in the same draft for the first time since 1997. Safety Marqueston Huff was chosen by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round. Wide receiver Robert Herron was drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It’s now been 41 years since Wyoming had a first round draft pick. Lawrence Gaines was selected by the Detroit Lions in 1976 with the 16th overall pick. Cornerback Aaron Kyle was taken 11 picks later by the Dallas Cowboys.

The only other first round pick from Wyoming was defensive tackle Ron Billingsley, who was taken by the San Diego Chargers with the 14th overall pick in the 1967 draft.

Wyoming has had several players selected in the second round. Wide receiver Ryan Yarborough was drafted by the New York Jets in 1994. In 1989, defensive back Eric Coleman was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round.

Of course, the round they’re drafted in doesn’t always determine how successful a player’s professional career will be. Just ask tight end Jay Novacek. After being drafted in the sixth round by the then St. Louis Cardinals in 1985, Novacek was later traded to Dallas and went on to make five Pro Bowls and win three Super Bowls with the Cowboys.

Other notable Wyoming players who had successful NFL careers include running back Jim Kiick, who played in three Super Bowls as a member of the Miami Dolphins in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Guard Conrad Dobler made three Pro Bowls as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 70’s and is widely regarded as one of the meanest players in NFL history.

Running back Jerry Hill played eight seasons with the Baltimore Colts in the ’60s. Another Pokes running back, Dave Hampton, spent eight years with the Atlanta Falcons in the late 60’s and early 70’s. In 1972, Hampton led the NFL in all-purpose yards and was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1975.

 

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