Top 5 Louisiana Tech players to make it in the NFL

Plenty of Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have enjoyed successful post-grad careers in the National Football League over the past few decades.

Here are our top five Bulldogs to ever grace an NFL uniform:

5. Cloyce Box, WR

Technically, Box was listed as an end/halfback (according to pro-football-reference.com), but let’s just make it easier and listed him as wide receiver. The former Louisiana Tech standout spent just five seasons playing professional football with the Detroit Lions but his success over that short span is enough to warrant a spot on the list.

Drafted in the 20th round of the draft, Box played during an era that featured run-first offenses, but he still managed to reel in 50 balls for 1,0009 yards and 11 touchdowns in just 11 starts. Two years later, he led the league with 15 touchdown catches — only two other players reached double digits in that category.

In his five-year tenure, Box was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and helped the Lions win two league championships.

4. Matt Stover, PK

Interesting to see a placekicker crack the top five, but considering Stover’s success at the NFL level there’s no way we can keep him out of the top three.

In 19 pro seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts, Stover kicked a lot of field goals. He was a Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection just one, in 2000, but led the league in kicking percentage twice, missed just three extra point attempts and was a clutch kicker when it mattered most — the postseason.

In 16 career playoff games, Stover went 25-of-31 including a perfect 11-for-11 during the Ravens’ Super Bowl run in 2000. He went 4-for-4 in that 34-7 Super Bowl win over the New York Giants.

3. Fred Dean, DE

Dean, an Arcadia native, was selected in the second round of the 1975 NFL Draft following his successful career at La. Tech.

In his 12 seasons with the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers, the defensive end was selected to four Pro Bowls, two First Team All-Pro teams and earned two Super Bowl championships with the Niners in 1981 and ’84.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer recorded a career-high 17.5 sacks during the 1983 season and was a sack machine during the postseason, registering 9.5 in his 12 career playoff games.

2. Willie Roaf, OT

An eighth-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, Roaf spent much of the 1990s throwing blocks for the New Orleans Saints before spending his final four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs in the early 2000s.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame tackle was an 11-time Pro Bowler, six-time First Team All Pro and three-time Second Team All Pro across his 189 starts in 13 pro seasons.

There’s not a single better offensive lineman who attended Louisiana Tech.

1. Terry Bradshaw, QB

As the story goes, Bradshaw was originally the second-string quarterback behind the famous Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, but when it finally came time for Bradshaw to shine, the Shreveport native took full advantage.

Bradshaw led the Bulldogs to 9-2 and 8-2 records in his junior and senior seasons before being selected No. 1 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970 NFL Draft.

The rest, as they say, is history. During his 14 professional seasons — all with the Steelers — the three-time Pro Bowler racked up nearly 28,000 passing yards and 212 touchdowns (but also 210 interceptions, as he was a true gunslinger) and led Pittsburgh to four Super Bowl championships during the 1970s.

In 19 postseason starts, including those four Super Bowls, Bradshaw went 14-5 and posted a QB rating of 83.0. Sure, he had plenty of help from those Steel Curtain defensive units, but I don’t think Chuck Noll’s squad could have won some of those games without Bradshaw leading the charge.

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