Best ACC Value Picks
By Jim Johnson
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Here is each ACC school's product that proved to be most valuable in the professional ranks, relative to where they were drafted.
The NFL Draft is all about value. Teams are supposed to hit homeruns in round one, but the best franchises make their hay stealing stars later on. Here is each ACC school's product that proved to be most valuable in the professional ranks, relative to where they were drafted.
Boston College -- DL Art Donovan; Round 22, pick 204
In 1947, Art Donovan was selected in the 22nd round of the NFL Draft. He bounced around for a few years before eventually settling with the Baltimore Colts. In the first of his two championship wins, in 1958, he made a crucial stop in the first ever overtime game that the league saw. He retired as a four time All-Pro, was a member of the 1950's All-Decade team, and was later inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Clemson -- WR Dwight Clark; Round 10, pick 249
Clark is perhaps best known as the man on the receiving end of a game-winnng pass from Joe Montana in the 1981 NFC Championship. The legendary play is now known simply as 'The Catch'. He was a two time All-Pro and his number is retired by the 49ers.
Duke -- QB Sonny Jurgensen; Round 4, pick 43
Eventual Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen wasn't chosen until the 4th round of the 1957 draft. He was a five time pro bowler, led the league in passing as many years, and was a member of the 1960's All-Decade team.
Florida State -- WR Fred Biletnikoff; Round 3, pick 39
As hard as it is to believe, Biletnikoff was not picked until the third round of the NFL Draft. He left the NFL as, indisputably, the greatest postseason receiver ever, to that point. He went to four pro bowls, as well, and is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Georgia Tech -- G Billy Shaw; Round 14, pick 184
Shaw, with the Buffalo Bills for his entire career, payed incredible dividends to the team that stole him in the 14th round, in 1961. He was an eight time All-Star, two time champion, and, as such, was later inaugurated into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Louisville -- QB Johnny Unitas; Round 9, pick 102
A 9th round selection in 1955, Unitas is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in NFL history. He was a ten time pro bowler, five time first team All-Pro selection, three time MVP, three time champion, led the league in passing and touchdowns four times each, and obviously, given his accomplishments, forever resides in Canton.
Miami -- LB Ray Lewis; Round 1, pick 26
This was a tough call between Lewis and Ed Reed, both first round picks, but also both in the conversation amongst the greatest ever at their respetcive positions. However, Lewis went two spots later, and thusly gets the nod. He made an incredible 13 pro bowls, and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice.
North Carolina -- LB Chris Hanburger; Round 18, pick 245
Hanburger, and 18th round pick, came to be known as one of the most intelligent football players of his era. He made nine pro bowls, six All-Pro teams, and is a member of the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
NC State -- S Adrian Wilson; Round 3, pick 64
Wilson was snagged by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He made five pro bowls, three All-Pro teams and is one of a small group of players to compile at least 25 career sacks and interceptions.
Pittsburgh -- LB Joe Schmidt; Round 7, pick 85
Another eventual Hall of Famer, Joe Schmidt made it to the seventh round of the 1953 NFL Draft, before the Lions got him. He was a key member of the Lions' two championship teams, in the '50s. He also made 10 consecutive All-Pro first teams, and won two Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Syracuse -- C Jim Ringo; Round 7, pick 79
Considered undersized, coming out of Syracuse, Jim Ringo slid to the seventh round of the 1953 draft. He went to ten pro bowls over the course of his career, was a member of the 1960's All-Decade team, and is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Virginia -- DL Henry Jordan; Round 5, pick 52
Jordan was a fifth round draft pick in 1957. He had a quiet start to his career, before being traded to the Packers for a fourth rounder. From there, he helped them win Super Bowls I and II, and retired as a seven time All-Pro, eventually named to the Hall of Fame.
Virginia Tech -- WR Antonio Freeman; Round 3, pick 90
The Green Bay Packers chose Antonio Freeman with their third round pick, in 1995. Three years later, he was a first team All-Pro, after leading the league in receiving. He played eight seasons and is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame.
Wake Forest -- LB Bill George; Round 2, pick 23
George, like a few others on this list, is considered to be amongst the very best NFL players to ever play. He made eight consecutive pro bowls, and nine total, during his career, was a member of the 1950's All-Decade team, and is credited with, inadvertently, creating the 4-3 defense. He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.