(STACKER) – While most colleges and universities field a football team as part of its general athletics program, there are some for which football is more than merely a sport—it’s akin almost to a religion. Devotion to the team and its colors is as important to that school’s culture as a religious icon is to a believer. These programs actively scout and recruit notable high school players, and are in turn rigorously applied to by matriculating seniors eager to make a name for themselves at the collegiate level.

Among the most notable college football empires are Notre Dame, the universities of Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, Penn State, Ohio State — the list goes on and on.

But for every touchstone football school, there is an outlier that has produced some of the most successful and cherished players in the game. Think Jackson State, which gave us “Sweetness” himself, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. Or Mississippi Valley State, which yielded 3-time Super Bowl champion and #1 Player in NFL History, as voted by the NFL Network, ‘49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Each year, the college draft serves as a source of renewal to professional football and a testament to the quality of college programs nationwide. With the 2022 NFL draft set to take place April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker compiled a list of the highest NFL draft picks from the BYU Cougars using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Chris Farasopoulos (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #58 overall in 1971
– Drafted by: NY Jets
– Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#19. Todd Christensen (TE)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #56 overall in 1978
– Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
– Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (5 Pro Bowls)

#18. Doug Jolley (TE)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #55 overall in 2002
– Drafted by: Oakland Raiders
– Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#17. Mat Mendenhall (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #55 overall in 1980
– Drafted by: Washington Football Team
– Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#16. Paul Howard (G)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #54 overall in 1973
– Drafted by: Denver Broncos
– Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. Golden Richards (WR)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #46 overall in 1973
– Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
– Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. Clay Brown (TE)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #42 overall in 1981
– Drafted by: Denver Broncos
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#13. John Beck (QB)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #40 overall in 2007
– Drafted by: Miami Dolphins
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#12. Kyle Van Noy (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #40 overall in 2014
– Drafted by: Detroit Lions
– Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#11. Gordon Gravelle (T)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #38 overall in 1972
– Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Rob Morris (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 2000
– Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
– Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Trevor Matich (C)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 1985
– Drafted by: New England Patriots
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#8. Todd Shell (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #24 overall in 1984
– Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. Jason Buck (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #17 overall in 1987
– Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
– Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#6. Marc Wilson (QB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #15 overall in 1980
– Drafted by: Oakland Raiders
– Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#5. John Tait (T)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #14 overall in 1999
– Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
– Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (0 Pro Bowls)

#4. Shawn Knight (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #11 overall in 1987
– Drafted by: New Orleans Saints
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#3. Ezekiel Ansah (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 2013
– Drafted by: Detroit Lions
– Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (1 Pro Bowls)

#2. Jim McMahon (QB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 1982
– Drafted by: Chicago Bears
– Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (1 Pro Bowls)

#1. Zach Wilson (QB)
– Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 2021
– Drafted by: NY Jets
– Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)