Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Commentary: Top 25 all-time NFL offensive players to come out of BYU (32 items)

By , For the Deseret News

Dec. 26, 2013

BYU has been a big-time college football program for the better part of 40 years. The large amount of very skilled players they have had is one of the main reasons for that success. Plenty of those great players have gone on to have very successful careers in the NFL.

Note: A list like this is completely subjective, but I try to leave all bias out when I do my rankings. Only what each player did in the NFL got taken into consideration.

All-pro selections, Pro Bowl selections, years as a starter, years in the league, stats and impact on the team were the factors used when doing these rankings.

Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lead writer of the website Contact him at Twitter: @jmoneysports

1 of 32.

Lane was selected in the eighth round (196th overall) by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1981 draft. He started out his career in Seattle as a kick returner but eventually made his way into a starting running back position in his fourth year.

In 1984, Lane put up the best numbers in his seven-year career. For the first time he started more than three games (7) and was used as a runner and receiver out of the backfield. He finished with a career-high 80 carries for a career-best 299 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. He also recorded 11 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.

For his career, Lane appeared in 97 games (12 starts). He rushed for 405 yards and four touchdowns on 124 carries. Lane also caught 42 passes for 357 yards and two scores.

2 of 32.

Pitta was taken in the fourth round (114th overall) in the 2010 draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Pitta has been with the Ravens his entire career and became one of their biggest weapons just a season ago.

His career started very slowly. Pitta appeared in 11 games as a rookie and caught just one pass. The following year was much more successful for Pitta. He played in all 16 games and started two. He caught 40 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns. His best game of the 2011 season came against the Cincinnati Bengals when he caught six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.

The following year was even better for Pitta and the Ravens. Pitta started five of 16 games and recorded 61 receptions for 669 and seven touchdowns. He was also huge in the Ravens' playoff run to the Super Bowl. He caught 14 passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns, including four catches for 26 yards and a score in the Ravens' 34-27 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.

Pitta had a career setback in 2013 after hurting his hip in training camp. He recently returned to the field, playing the past three weeks for Baltimore.

For his career, Pitta has 114 receptions for 1,181 yards and 11 touchdowns.

3 of 32.

Ring went undrafted but managed to make the San Francisco 49ers roster. Ring spent six seasons with the Niners and played in 69 games (nine starts).

His best season in the NFL came in 1983 when Ring appeared in all 16 games (five starts). That year, Ring rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 64 carries. He also caught 23 passes for 182 yards.

During his time in the NFL, Ring won two Super Bowls with San Francisco. During the 49ers' 1981 playoff run, he carried the ball 21 times for 73 yards and a touchdown while also catching two passes. Ring was also on the San Francisco’s 1984 championship team.

For his career, Ring carried the ball 183 times for 732 yards and seven touchdowns. He also registered 45 receptions for 336 yards and another score.

4 of 32.

After an impressive college career, Nielsen got selected in the third round (73rd overall) by the Houston Oilers in the 1978 draft.

Nielsen spent his entire six-year career with the Oilers and appeared in 55 games (14 starts).

During his career Nielson completed almost 55 percent of his passes for 3,255 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 29 times for 89 yards.

In his 14 games as a starter, Nielsen and the Oilers managed only three wins. His most impressive of those victories came during Week 16 of the 1981 season. During that game Nielsen completed 24-of-37 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns as the Oilers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-20. That game was a part of Nielsen’s best season in the NFL. Although he only played in five games that year and started two, Nielsen threw for 709 yards and five touchdowns.

5 of 32.

Jolley was taken in the second round (55th overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2002 draft.

Jolley played five seasons in the NFL for three different teams.

His best years in the league came with the Raiders. He started 26 games in three years and registered 90 receptions for 972 yards and five touchdowns.

During his rookie season with the Raiders, Jolley made 11 postseason receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown, including five catches for 59 yards in their Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jolley also found some success with the New York Jets. During his year in New York, Jolley started seven games and caught 29 passes for 324 yards and a score.

Jolley had his best game with the Jets in 2005 when he caught nine passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in a December road loss to the Miami Dolphins.

For his career, he caught 120 passes for 1,303 yards and six touchdowns.
1. ekute
Layton, UT,
Dec. 27, 2013

I would put McMahon at 2 and Oats at 4. I don't think Richards is high enough either. Funny that Kyle didn't get mentioned.

Lehi, UT,
Dec. 27, 2013

It was looking over this list. But you missed some greats Brett Keisel, Kurt Gavia (?)Lee Thunder Foot Johnson all should have been at least a HM.

3. Saymyname
Draper, UT,
Dec. 27, 2013

First, of all this article is about best offensive nfl careers, Kyle played defense. Second of all he was in NFL for only 3 games...not much of a career...

4. Who am I sir?
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
Dec. 29, 2013

Loved the pictures. Look's like 10 of the 25 were after color photography.