Oklahoma football: Which NFL team has landed most OU draft picks?

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 30: A football helmet is displayed featuring the 2022 NFL Draft on April 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 30: A football helmet is displayed featuring the 2022 NFL Draft on April 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images) /

Seven players from the Oklahoma football program were selected over the three days of the 2022 NFL Draft last weekend.

Five of this year’s OU draft picks were defensive players — at least one in every defensive position group — which is somewhat ironic from a program that has long prided itself as an offensive powerhouse.

Many experts believe Oklahoma’s concentration on building the sport’s most potent offense over the time that Lincoln Riley was at OU as offensive coordinator and then as head coach was done at the expense of the defense, and that is what makes the Sooners’ 2022 draft selections so surprising.

Three of the seven Oklahoma players who were selected in this year’s NFL Draft — DT Perrion Winfrey, WR Michael Woods and DL Isaiah Thomas — were taken by the Cleveland Browns.

he last time one team selected that many Sooners in the same draft was in 1988, when 13 OU players were drafted, the largest OU NFL Draft class in history. The Chicago Bears selected three Sooners that year: LB Dante Jones with the 51st overall pick in the 2nd round, LB Troy Johnson in the 5th round and OT Caesar Rentie in the seventh round.

This got us to thinking, which NFL team has selected the most Oklahoma players overall in the 87-year history of the draft?

Interestingly, with their three OU draft selections this year, the Chicago Bears moved into the No. 2 spot all-time for the number of Oklahoma Sooners selected in the draft. But the top spot belongs to the NFL franchise that has taken up residency in three different cities. The Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals have combined to draft a total of 34 Oklahoma football players, dating back to 1939, three years after the first NFL Draft was held,

In the 1939 NFL Draft, the Chicago Cardinals’ brain trust selected OU quarterback Eddie Crowder in the 10th round with the 82nd overall pick. Twenty spots later in the same draft, the Cardinals selected Sooner guard Jim Thomas.

J. W. Wheeler, a tackle, had the honor of being the first Sooner selected in an NFL Draft, taken by the Green Bay Packers in the second round in 1936 with the 16th overall pick.

The NFL franchise with the second most OU draft picks over the history of the draft is the Chicago Bears with 25 Sooner draft selections all-time. Following the Bears comes the Los Angeles/St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams with 24 Sooner draft selections, then the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens with 23 and the Green Bay Packers with 22.

If we were to get really picking, it is the city of Chicago that is rightfully the city that has selected the most OU football players in the NFL Draft. By combining the 19 selections by the Chicago Cardinals and the 25 by the Chicago Bears that comes to a grand total of 44 Sooner players drafted by NFL teams operating in the Windy City.

It would stand to reason that these teams would be ones with the highest concentration of Oklahoma Sooners because they are also among the oldest NFL franchises.

Here is a list of the top-10 teams in NFL history who have drafted Oklahoma Sooners”

  1. Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals (34)
  2. Chicago Bears (25)
  3. Los Angeles/St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (24)
  4. Original Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens (23)
  5. Green Bay Packers (22)
  6. Detroit Lions (20)
  7. New York Giants/Pittsburgh Steelers (16)
  8. Philadelphia Eagles (15)
  9. Washington Redskins (13)
  10. Minnesota Vikings (11)

Taking a little deeper dive into the history of the NFL Draft as it relates to the Oklahoma football program, the top two NFL landing spots since the 2000 draft for players out of the University of Oklahoma are the Baltimore Ravens, who have drafted nine players from OU, and the Cleveland Browns with eight Sooner draft picks.

The Dallas Cowboys are next with seven Sooner draft selections since 2000, followed by the Miami Dolphins with six and the Detroit Lions with five.

Six NFL franchises (Washington, LA/St. Louis/LA Rams, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eageles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) have drafted three Oklahoma Sooner players each in the first round in the history of the NFL Draft.