The Missouri Tigers have had some great seasons in their history, but they have also had some terrible years. Producing solid NFL players is always one thing that Missouri has been able to do through the years.
While the Tigers have had very few superstars at the NFL level, they have always found a way to make sure their players get a chance to play at the next level.
With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 best NFL players that played their college football for the Missouri Tigers:
Kellen WInslow is considered to be one of the best tight ends in the history of the NFL, and he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. Winslow was one of the first major receiving threats to play tight end and helped revolutionize the position to what it has become today. When you combine all of this with the fact that he had over 6,700 receiving yards and 45 touchdowns in his career, it is not hard to see why he tops this list.
2. Roger Wehrli
Roger Wehrli is the only other Missouri Tiger to make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Wehrli played 14 seasons in the NFL at cornerback from 1969-1982, and he played every game for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was able to record 40 interceptions and nine touchdowns in his career. It was tough not putting him at the top spot, but Winslow earned the top spot for being a pioneer at his position.
3. Andy Russell
Russell played 14 seasons in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers at the linebacker position, and he was able to make the Pro Bowl in half of those seasons. He earned two Super Bowl rings during his time with the Steelers, and he was one of those rare players that seemed to get better with age. His long career on some of the best teams in NFL history earn him the third spot.
4. Russ Washington
Russ Washington was taken fourth overall in the 1968 draft by the San Diego Chargers. During his 15-year career with the Chargers, Washington played on both the offensive and defensive lines. Washington made five Pro Bowls during his career, and he is a member of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame.
5. Tony Galbreath
Tony Galbreath is another player that helped change his position forever like Kellen Winslow. Galbreath caught 490 passes for over 4,000 yards during his 12-year career as a running back. He was also able to run for over 4,000 yards in his career. This dual threat out of the backfield was not common during the 1970s and 1980s. When Galbreath retired in 1987, he was the best pass-catching running back in the history of the NFL.
6. Mel Gray
Mel Gray is another Missouri Tiger that ended up playing his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals, and he will go down as one of the most underrated wide receivers to ever play the game. Gray made four straight Pro Bowls during his career, and he also made a catch in 121 straight games from 1973-1982. He never put up huge numbers, but he always found a way to make the big catch when it was needed.
7. Eric Wright
Eric Wright was one of the top cornerbacks in the league for several years. Wright played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1981-1990. During his time with the team, he was able to win four Super Bowl rings and go to two Pro Bowls. He owns 18 interceptions in his career and was also able to record interceptions in two different Super Bowls.
8. James Wilder
James Wilder was able to rush for 6,008 yards during his NFL career, which ranks him 73rd in the history of the league. Wilder did most of his work on terrible Tampa Bay Buccaneer teams, which makes the feat even more impressive. He is the all-time leading rusher in the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and also owns NFL records for the most rushes and touches in a single season.
9. Mike Jones
Mike Jones will always be known for his game-saving tackle to win Super Bowl XXXIV for the St. Louis Rams, but he had also had a very long and solid NFL career. Jones played 12 seasons in the NFL and owns 183 tackles from the linebacker position. Anytime you can play so long in the NFL after not being drafted, you know you are a solid player.
10. Jeremy Maclin
Maclin earns this spot because of his extreme amount of talent and what he potentially will do in his NFL career. There has not been a more promising young player to come out of Missouri in quite a long time, and he has already proved he can play at the NFL level. Jeremy Maclin has already become one of the best wide receivers in the NFL after only playing three full seasons. If he is able to stay healthy, Maclin has the talent to make the top five on this list at the end of his career.
Jake has lived in Missouri his entire life, and he grew up watching Missouri Tigers football games every Saturday.Sources: nfl.com, Yahoo Sports, pro-football-reference.com