Montana’s top NFL draft picks

Since the first draft was held in 1936, the National Football League (NFL) has used its annual elimination of the country’s top college talent to swell its ranks, renew the sport’s popularity and increase competitive parity among all teams in soccer. . Although the draft process has gone through several iterations since that first draft took place, it remains true to its original design as an equalizer. In its current arrangement, the draft consists of seven rounds, where each of the NFL’s 32 teams receives one pick per round. The order of selection takes place in the reverse order of how each team finished the previous season – in other words, unless swapped between teams, each round starts with the team with the worst overall record and ends with the Super Bowl champions.

There’s a long and storied history of teams rising from the trash of failure to resurrecting themselves through the strategic drafting of top college players. In 1989, for example, the Dallas Cowboys finished 1-15, the worst record in franchise history. But after drafting Emmitt Smith, who would become the NFL’s all-time greatest rusher, first-round pick Russell Maryland, and first-round pick and future Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, “Team America ‘ transformed into a powerhouse that won three Super Bowls during the 1990s.

And while for every first draft pick who went on to gridiron glory, like seven-time All-Pro quarterback Peyton Manning, there are equally historic tales of star players who almost failed to out of the draft, let alone make a team’s first pick, the NFL’s annual strategic raffle has retained, for teams and colleges, its power to change the face of the game with a single draft pick. For that, you need look no further than the 2017 draft, when nine teams passed Patrick Mahomes, who then took the once-struggling Kansas City Chiefs to three Super Bowl appearances.

With the 2022 Draft set to be held April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker has compiled a list of the top NFL draft picks born in Montana since 1970 using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the final draft year.

#5. Mike Friede (WR)
– Birth: Havre, Montana
– Draft pick: round 3, #62 overall in 1980
– Drafted by: Detroit Lions
– University: Indiana
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#4. Dwan Edwards (DT)
– Born: Billings, Montana
– Draft pick: round 2, #51 overall in 2004
– Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
– University: Oregon St.
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Shane Collins (DE)
– Born: Roundup, Montana
– Draft pick: round 2, #47 overall in 1992
– Drafted by: Washington Football Team
– University: Arizona St.
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 0

#2. Pete Lazetich (DE)
– Born: Billings, Montana
– Draft pick: round 2, #36 overall in 1972
– Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
– University: Stanford
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#1. Ryan Leaf (QB)
– Born: Great Falls, Montana
– Draft pick: Round 1, No. 2 overall in 1998
– Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
– University: Washington St.
– Years as a starter in the NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

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