Though it has been some time since the Colorado Buffaloes were among college football’s best, they have still managed to put out a fair number of NFL players.
The list of NFL players from the University of Colorado is too long to list here, but the top 10 is definitely worth talking about.
Current Players from Colorado University in the NFL
|Laviska Shenault Jr.
|Green Bay Packers
|Los Angeles Rams
|San Francisco 49ers
Top 10 Buffaloes in the NFL
Narrowing down the list of the greatest NFL players from Colorado University was certainly a task. There are a few names that will no doubt cause a bit of uproar with their omission from the list. That said, there is no doubt that these names have earned their way onto the list of NFL players from the University of Colorado.
#10 – Greg Biekert
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) June 28, 2022
Seemingly an afterthought as the 181st pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, Biekert would go on to spend 11 years in the NFL. During the 1990s, he became a staple of the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders defense. He made 123 starts over that time, a constant force and tackling machine.
Though he didn’t win any individual awards, he racked up impressive tackle totals. During his final four years in Oakland, he had seasons of 146, 138, 134, and 108 tackles. He would play out his final two seasons as a starter in Minnesota before retiring following the 2003 season. Biekert wasn’t the flashiest player but he made himself known as one of the most consistent, dependable linebackers in the NFL for a decade.
- 11 Years in the NFL (9 with Oakland, 2 with Minnesota)
- 176 career games played with 155 career starts
- 1,096 career tackles, with more than 800 of them as solo tackles, 16 sacks, and 10 forced fumbles
#9 – Andre Gurode
Taken in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Cowboys, Gurode became a staple for the ‘Boys. He spent nine years with Dallas, enjoying a great five-year run from 2006-2010. Though the Cowboys couldn’t find sustained success, Gurode carved out a reputation as one of the best guards in the league.
Gurode would make five straight Pro Bowls and earn a Second-Team All-Pro nod in 2009. He would finish his career with a year in Baltimore and a year in Oakland before hanging them up for good. For a team with a reputation for dominant guards, Gurode certainly fits the bill.
- 9-year starter for the Dallas Cowboys
- 161 career games, 131 career starts
- Five straight Pro Bowl selections
- 2009 Second-Team All-Pro
#8 – Kordell Stewart
— KeepItRealBuffs (@keepitbuffs) August 31, 2023
The man known as “Slash” was one of the most electric players in the history of Colorado University. He parlayed that success into being selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft. Though he would play for three teams over 11 years, his time in Pittsburgh is the most memorable.
After watching from the bench for most of his first two years while contributing in other areas, Stewart took over as the starter in 1997. He would have six very good years with the Steelers but could not get them to the promised land. He finished as the runner-up for the 2001 Comeback Player of the Year, making his first and only Pro Bowl while finishing fourth in MVP voting.
- Backup during Super Bowl XXX appearance with Steelers
- Runner-up for Comeback Player of the Year in 2001
- Finished fourth in MVP voting in 2001
- Threw for 13,328 yards in Pittsburgh, with 70 touchdowns through the air and another 35 on the ground
#7 – Mark Haynes
Former Colorado Buffalo Mark Haynes takes it back to the house against the New England Patriots
— Football History by SGPN (@FootballSGPN) January 6, 2023
As the 8th overall pick in 1980 to the New York Giants, Haynes became one of the highest-drafted NFL players from Colorado University. He was quite good during his time with the Giants, earning four All-Pro nods and three Pro Bowl selections.
His biggest impact no doubt came during his final four years, all with Denver. During that time, the Broncos would make three Super Bowls, unfortunately all losses. Haynes became a premier defensive back during the early 1980s and left a mark on behalf of the University of Colorado.
- 8th overall pick in 1980 (New York Giants)
- Three-time Pro Bowl selection
- Four-time All-Pro selection
- Three Super Bowl appearances with Denver
#6 – Chad Brown
Taken in the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown went on to have a long, successful career in the NFL. Though he lasted just five seasons in Pittsburgh, he would go on to play eight years in Seattle and a pair of years in New England. He also made Super Bowl XXX with the Steelers in a losing effort to the Dallas Cowboys.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Brown also earned a pair of First-Team All-Pro selections. His best season may have been 1996 when he finished fourth in the voting for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Brown was as solid a force in the NFL as you could ask out of a second-round pick.
- Appeared in Super Bowl XXX as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Three-time Pro Bowl selection
- Two-time First-Team All-Pro
- Finished 4th in the 1996 Defensive Player of the Year voting
#5 – Boyd Dowler
Though most current fans won’t recognize the name, there was a time when Boyd Dowler was one of the unquestioned greatest NFL players from the University of Colorado. Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 1959 NFL Draft, Dowler would spend 11 years with the Packers.
Dowler went on to win five Super Bowls with the Packers, including the first two Super Bowls. In 143 career starts, Dowler caught 448 passes for 6,918 yards and 40 touchdowns. He captured the AP Rookie of the Year in 1959 and made a pair of Pro Bowls in 1965 and 1967.
- 11 seasons with the Green Bay Packers
- Two-time Pro Bowl selection
- 1959 AP Rookie of the Year
- Five-time Super Bowl champion
- Named to NFL’s All-1960s Team
#4 – Stan Brock
A highly touted pick drafted 12th overall by the New Orleans Saints in 1980, Brock would go on to have a celebrated career. He would spend 13 years in the Big Easy, unfortunately playing for some pretty bad Saints teams. He would find a late resurgence, spending three years with the San Diego Chargers, even making it to Super Bowl XXIX.
Brock would become a reliable force throughout his NFL career. Though his 1982 and 1988 seasons were cut in half by injuries, he would start 182 games over his 13-year tenure in New Orleans. With more than 220 career starts, Brock is easily one of the best NFL players from Colorado University.
- 12th overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft
- 16 NFL seasons, 13 with New Orleans, 3 with San Diego
- 234 career games, with 223 starts
- Appeared in Super Bowl XXIX with Chargers
#3 – Dick Anderson
Drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third round of the 1968 NFL Draft, Anderson would go on to play nine years with the franchise through the 1970s. Anderson was a key component to three Super Bowl teams, two of which won it all. Most notably, Anderson was a part of the perfect 17-0 team that is still legendary.
In seven years as a starter, Anderson racked up three Pro Bowl appearances. He was named a member of the NFL’s All-1970s Team and even won the 1973 AP Defensive Player of the Year. Anderson was a force in 121 games for the Dolphins, ultimately having his career shortened by knee injuries, forcing him to retire at 31 years old.
- Part of three Super Bowl teams, two of which won plus the 17-0 team from 1972
- Three-time Pro Bowler
- Two-time First-Team All-Pro
- Second-Team All-Pro
- 1968 AFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
- 1973 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
#2 – David Bahktiari
Selected with the 109th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Bahktiari defied the odds to become a staple for the Green Bay Packers, a team that consistently fields one of the best offensive lines in the league. Bahktiari is in his 11th season with the Packers, though he has dealt with injuries the last few years, including playing just 12 of 33 possible games between 2021 and 2022.
That said, Bahktiari has done all a lineman can do in the NFL. He is a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He has five All-Pro team appearances, three second-team and a pair of first-team selections. The talented, consistent lineman is hoping to rebound from injury and remain a focal part of the Packers’ offensive line.
- 11 years with the Green Bay Packers
- Three-time Pro Bowl selection
- Two-time First-Team All-Pro selection
- Three-time Second-Team All-Pro selection
#1 – Cliff Branch
A stud at Colorado in 1970 & 1971, Branch went on to be selected in the 4th round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He would spend his entire career – 14 years and 183 games – with the franchise, both in Oakland and Los Angeles. He had plenty of individual accolades but his proudest achievement is no doubt being a part of three Super Bowl championship teams in Oakland.
Of all the NFL players from Colorado University, Branch has arguably the most impressive list of achievements. From 1974 to 1977, Branch made four straight Pro Bowls while also earning a trio of First-Team All-Pro nods. One of the most recognizable names in Oakland Raiders history is also one of the best NFL players from the University of Colorado.
- 14 seasons with Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
- Four-time Pro Bowl selection (1974-77)
- Three-time First-Team All-Pro (1974-76)
- Led the NFL in receiving touchdowns twice (1974, 1976)
- 8,685 career receiving yards, 67 touchdown receptions
Colorado University Buffaloes Alumni Honorable Mentions
Though the top 10 NFL players from Colorado University are impressive, they aren’t the only ones. There have been dozens and dozens of NFL players from the University of Colorado. Jimmy Smith, the 27th overall pick in 2011, spent 10 years in the NFL, most of them with the Baltimore Ravens.
Tight end Christian Fauria, selected in the 2nd round of the 1995 NFL Draft, spent 12 years in the league, spending nine of them as a starter. Tom Brookshier, a DB and 10th-round pick in 1953, made a pair of Pro Bowls in seven years as a primary starter. A whole other list could be made of honorable mentions from the University of Colorado.