Need a quarterback? Purdue would be the campus to start the search.
Few schools have the track record of the Boilermakers, who have sent five quarterbacks into the NFL as first-round draft picks. Three Purdue quarterbacks have won Super Bowls and two have busts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A third will have a bust in Canton by the end of this decade. Drew Brees, the NFL’s all-time leading passer, will soon join Len Dawson and Bob Griese with gold jackets.
Dawson was the first to win a Super Bowl in 1970, collecting game MVP honors in Kansas City’s 23-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Griese then won back-to-back Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins in 1974-74, and Brees collected his championship ring and game MVP honors in 2010 when the New Orleans Saints upset the Indianapolis Colts.
Dawson was the fifth overall pick of the 1957 draft and Griese the fourth overall choice of the 1967 draft. Brees was not a first-rounder, going to the San Diego Chargers on the first overall choice of the second round in 2001.
Both Mike Phipps and Jim Everett were the third overall selections in their drafts – Phipps by the Cleveland Browns in 1970 and Everett the Los Angeles Rams in 1986.
Cecil Isbell was the other first-round selection from Purdue, going to the Green Bay Packers on the seventh overall pick of the 1938 draft. Isbell remains the only Purdue quarterback ever named to an NFL all-decade team, the 1930s. He also won an NFL championship with the Packers in 1938.
Brees played 20 seasons and went to 13 Pro Bowls. He became the first – and only – player in NFL history to pass for 80,000 career yards (80,358) and ranks second all-time with his 571 touchdown passes. Everett threw for 34,837 yards and 203 touchdowns, Dawson 28,711 and 239 TDs, Griese 25,092 and 192 TDs and Phipps 10.506 and 55 TDs. Kyle Orton, a fourth-round pick in 2005 by the Chicago Bears, also passed for 10,000 yards and 101 touchdowns in his nine-year career (18.037).
Mark Herrmann, Scott Campbell and Curtis Painter were other Purdue quarterbacks drafted into the NFL who started games and threw touchdown passes.
Here is Purdue’s all-time NFL team:
QB Drew Brees the NFL’s all-time leading passer
HB Mike Pruitt 2 Pro Bowls, four 1,000-yard rushing seasons
FB Mike Alstott 6 Pro Bowls, 5,088 rushing yards, 305 receptions
WR Mark Jackson caught Elway's GW TD pass in “The Drive”
WR Pete Brewster 2 Pro Bowls, 9 years, 210 catches
TE Dustin Keller 5 seasons, 241 career catches
OT Matt Light 3 Pro Bowls, 3 Super Bowl rings with Patriots
OT Dennis Kelly 8 seasons, 47 starts
G Dick Barwagen 1950’s NFL all-decade team
G Abe Gibron 4 Pro Bowls, 11 seasons, 109 starts
C Ed Flanagan 4 Pro Bowls, 11 seasons, 164 starts
DE Cliff Avril Pro Bowl, 10 seasons, 74 sacks
DE Lamar Lundy Pro Bowl, 12 seasons, 68 ½ sacks
DT Dave Butz Pro Bowl, 16 seasons, 65 sacks
DT Kawann Short 2 Pro Bowls, 8 seasons, 32 ½ sacks
OLB Ryan Kerrigan 4 Pro Bowls, 10 seasons, 95 ½ sacks
MLB Fred Strickland 13 seasons, 712 tackles
OLB Shaun Phillips Pro Bowl, 11 seasons, 81 ½ sacks
CB Rod Woodson Hall of Fame
CB Erich Barnes 6 Pro Bowls, 14 seasons, 45 interceptions
S Ross Fichtner 9 years, 27 interceptions
S Tim Foley Pro Bowl, 11 seasons, 22 interceptions
P Shawn McCarthy 2 years, 169 punts, 40.7-yard average
KR Mel Gray 1990s NFL all-decade team
ST Jim Schwantz Pro Bowl, coverage ace of 1995 NFL champs