Josh Kendall

Ranking South Carolina’s first-round NFL Draft picks

John Abraham (55) with the Arizona Cardinals
John Abraham (55) with the Arizona Cardinals USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the NFL Draft will be held Thursday night in Chicago. If A.J. Cann hears his name called, he will become the 13th first-round selection in the history of South Carolina’s football program. Here is a look at the 12 Gamecocks to be picked in the first round. I have ranked the selections, based on the length and productivity of their careers.

1. JOHN ABRAHAM

13th pick, New York Jets, 2000

Had a 15-year professional career and is 10th all-time in NFL sacks with 133.5. He played for the Jets, Falcons and Cardinals and totaled 533 tackles.

2. GEORGE ROGERS

1st pick, New Orleans Saints, 2001

Played seven seasons in the NFL with the Saints and Redskins. He rushed for 1,674 yards in his rookie season and finished with 7,176 yards and 54 touchdowns.

3. STERLING SHARPE

7th pick, Green Bay Packers, 1988

Played seven seasons for the Packers. He had at least 55 catches every year and finished with 595 catches for 8,134 yards and 65 touchdowns, which is tied for 50th in NFL history.

4. JOHNATHAN JOSEPH

24th pick, Cincinnati Bengals, 2006

Heading into his 10th season. He has played for the Bengals and the Texans and had at least 42 tackles each season. He has 25 career interceptions and 495 career tackles.

5. DUNTA ROBINSON

10th pick, Houston Texans, 2004

He just wrapped up a 10-year career that saw him play for the Texans, Falcons and Chiefs. He had 590 career tackles and 17 career interceptions.

6. RICK SANFORD

25th pick, New England Patriots, 1979

Played seven seasons, six with the Patriots and one with the Seahawks. He had 16 career interceptions and 262 career returns yards, including kickoffs and punts.

7. STEPHON GILMORE

10th pick, Buffalo Bills, 2012

Heading into his fourth season with the Bills. He had one interception as a rookie, two the next season and three the following season. He has 119 tackles.

8. TROY WILLIAMSON

7th pick, Minnesota Vikings, 2005

He went high in the first round thanks to a 4.32 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He played five seasons with the Vikings and Jaguars and finished with 87 catches, 1,131 yards and four TDs.

9. WILLIE SCOTT

14th pick, Kansas City Chiefs, 1981

He played eight seasons with the Chiefs and Patriots. He had 89 catches for 766 yards and 15 TDs. His best season was 1983, when he had 29 catches for 247 yards and six TDs.

10. MELVIN INGRAM

18th pick, San Diego Chargers, 2012

Entering his fourth season, he has been limited to 29 games due to knee, hamstring and hip injuries. He has 44 career tackles and six career sacks.

11. ERNEST DYE

18th pick, Arizona Cardinals, 1993

Might deserve a higher spot, but it’s tough to rank the accomplishments of offensive linemen. In six seasons, he started 23 games. His career was cut short by injury in a car accident.

12. JADEVEON CLOWNEY

1st pick, Houston Texans, 2014

Played in four games last year, his rookie season, due to a knee injury that required microfracture surgery. He is expected to be ready for the upcoming season.

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