Louisville Cardinals Football Best Players of All Time

Andrew Kovacs

The Louisville Cardinals football program is one of the top programs in college sports. Since its inception, the team has consistently been among some of the best teams in NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Cardinals have won multiple conference championships and featured numerous All-Americans over their storied history. They are led by head coach Scott Satterfield who looks to continue building upon a successful foundation with an emphasis on hard work, dedication, and discipline on and off the field. As they look ahead to another season full of promise, fans can be sure that this year’s squad will live up to expectations as they compete for both individual honor and collective success.

Table of Contents

1. Deion Branch

Seattle Seahawks

Deion Branch Career

  • 2× Super Bowl champion (XXXVIII, XXXIX)
  • Super Bowl MVP (XXXIX)
  • 2× First-team All-C-USA (2000, 2001)
  • Second-team All-American (1998)
  • Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor
  • Inducted into KY Pro Football HOF (2005)
  • Albany Sports Hall of Fame (2005)[1]

Deion Branch was drafted by the Cardinals in 2002 and played for them until 2008. After leaving the NFL, he embarked on a successful coaching career with the Baltimore Ravens (2009-2013) and New England Patriots (2014-2018).

He is now the Director of Player Development and Alumni relations for the Louisville Cardinals. Deion Branch is one of only six players in NFL history to have over 1,000 yards rushing, 500 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns, and five interceptions in a season.

He has also been inducted into both the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame as well as College Football Hall of Fame Deion Branch was a highly decorated wide receiver in the NFL who is best known for his time with the New England Patriots. 

During his 12-year career, Branch recorded over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in just 47 games played.

He also made an impact on special teams as he registered five return touchdowns during his career. After retiring from football, Branch has focused on coaching and mentoring young athletes in hopes of helping them reach their goals both on and off the field.

2. Teddy Bridgewater

Miami Dolphins

Teddy Bridgewater Career

  • Pro Bowl (2015)
  • Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year (2014)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (2014)
  • Art Rooney Award (2020)
  • Second-team All-AAC (2013)
  • Big East Offensive Player of The Year (2012)
  • First-team All-Big East (2012)
  • Big East Rookie of the Year (2011)

Bridgewater was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 and started for them from day one. He led the team to a 13-3 record his rookie year, but struggled with injuries in subsequent seasons and was traded to the New York Jets in 2018.

In 2019, Bridgewater signed with the Miami Dolphins as their new starting quarterback. He has had some success thus far and looks set to lead the team toward playoff contention this season. Teddy Bridgewater was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2014.

He started all 16 games for the Vikings that season and led them to a 12-4 record, earning him Rookie of The Year honors. In 2015, he started 13 games but lost his starting job late in the year to Case Keenum. 

However, he regained it midway through 2016 and finished with 3,231 yards on 253 completions with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions en route to being named NFL MVP runner-up behind Tom Brady of the New England Patriots (Brady would go on win Super Bowl LI).

Bridgewater signed a contract extension with Minnesota prior to 2018 which will keep him there through 2024; however, as of July 2020 Teddy has been traded from Minnesota along with a third-round pick (#102 overall) to Denver Broncos in exchange for QB Case Keenum.

3. Elvis Dumervil

Denver Broncos

Elvis Dumervil Career

  • 2× First-team All-Pro (2009, 2014)
  • 5× Pro Bowl (2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015)
  • NFL sacks leader (2009)
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy (2005)
  • Ted Hendricks Award (2005)
  • Bill Willis Trophy (2005)
  • Big East Defensive Player of the Year (2005)
  • Unanimous All-American (2005)

Dumervil was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. Dumervil spent four seasons with the Broncos, before joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.

Dumervil enjoyed a successful three-year stint with the Ravens, registering 44 sacks and five interceptions during that time. Dumervil signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 but only played one season for them before retiring at the end of that year.

Dumervil is a talented pass rusher who has twice been selected for the Pro Bowl. Dumervil was an All-American and won many awards, including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Ted Hendricks Award. 

Dumervil's NFL career highlights include being the NFL sacks leader in 2009, as well as winning several other awards and accolades.

4. DeVante Parker

New England Patriots

DeVante Parker Career

  • High school: Louisville (KY) Ballard
  • College: Louisville (2011–2014)
  • NFL Draft: 2015 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14
  • Miami Dolphins (2015–2021), New England Patriots (2022–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • First-team All-AAC (2013), Second-team All-ACC (2014)
  • Receptions: 353, Receiving yards: 5,048, Receiving touchdowns: 25
  • Receptions: 353
  • Receiving yards: 5,048
  • Receiving touchdowns: 25

DeVante Parker is a former Louisville Cardinal wide receiver who was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2015. He had an impressive career at Louisville, where he caught 207 passes for 3,913 yards and 34 touchdowns over three seasons.

After graduating from college in 2014, Parker signed with the Miami Dolphins but did not play a single game due to injury. In 2016, Parker joined the Indianapolis Colts as their third-string wide receiver and played well enough to earn a contract extension through 2020 just prior to the season finale.

As of September 2018, he has collected 104 receptions for 1,599 yards and nine touchdowns in 16 games with Indy during his second stint with the team since being traded there from Miami midway through last year's season DeVante Parker was one of the most explosive receivers in college football, and he proved that at the NFL level.

DeVante Parker is an excellent route runner with good hands, and he can be a big threat downfield. The Dolphins are counting on Parker to help them contend for a playoff spot in 2015. He should have no problem adjusting to the pro game. 

DeVante Parker has experience playing against top competition, including facing Tom Brady twice during his college career (one as part of the bowl games).

If DeVante Parkers injury history is any indication, however, there's always risk when it comes to players coming from Division I football programs but nonetheless he'll be a valuable asset for Miami this season and beyond.

5. Sam Madison

Miami Dolphins


  • Super Bowl champion (XLII)
  • 2× First-team All-Pro (1999, 2000)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro (1998, 2001)
  • 4× Pro Bowl (1999–2002)
  • NFL Interceptions co-leader (1999)
  • Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor

Madison is a former cornerback who played for the Miami Dolphins from 1997 to 2005. He was hired as the cornerbacks' coach with the Miami Dolphins in December 2016.

Prior to that, he served as defensive backs coach with the Giants from 2006 to 2008 and also worked as an assistant special teams coordinator during his time there. 

Madison has experience working with both defense and special teams players, which should be helpful given how important those units are for most NFL teams these days.

His coaching experience will give him a good foundation on which to work if he wants to become a head coach in future years Sam Madison started his coaching career as a secondary and cornerbacks coach with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. 

He was then hired by the Miami Dolphins as their new cornerback's coach and pass game specialist in 2022.

In total, he has coached for 10 seasons which includes three Super Bowl championships (LII, LIV, SB50). Sam Madison is known for his expertise in defending against the pass and helping his players develop into better professionals both on and off the field.

6. Sheldon Rankins

New York Jets


  • High school: Eastside (Covington, Georgia)
  • College: Louisville (2012–2015)
  • NFL Draft: 2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12
  • New Orleans Saints (2016–2020), New York Jets (2021–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Total tackles: 191, Sacks: 23.5, Forced fumbles: 4, Fumble recoveries: 2, Interceptions: 1, Pass deflections: 3
  • Total tackles: 191
  • Sacks: 23.5
  • Forced fumbles: 4
  • Fumble recoveries: 2
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Pass deflections: 3

Sheldon Rankins is a defensive tackle for the Jets. He was drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Saints, but he never played for them because of an injury.

Rankins signed with the Jets in August 2018 and has made an impact on their defense since then. He is known for his physicality and ability to disrupt opposing offenses from the inside linebacker position.

Rankins will likely be a cornerstone player on New York's defense for years to come. Rankins is a dominant defensive lineman who had an excellent rookie season with the New York Jets. Rankins has All-Pro potential and should continue to improve in his second year in the league.

He was one of the key players on defense for the Jets, and he will be crucial to their success this upcoming season. Rankins is very versatile, able to play both at tackle and end, making him difficult for opposing offenses to block. 

His versatility makes him a valuable asset on any defense, no matter what scheme they are running.

7. Jaire Alexander

Green Bay Packers

Jaire Alexander Career

  • Second-team All-Pro (2020)
  • 2× Pro Bowl (2020, 2022)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (2018)
  • Second team All-ACC (2016)

Jaire Alexander was a cornerback for the Green Bay Packers in 2018 and 2019. He attended Rocky River High School in Mint Hill, North Carolina before playing college football at Louisville.

At Louisville, Alexander won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back in 2017 and led the Cardinals with eight interceptions that season. In 2018, he was drafted by the Packers in the first round of the NFL Draft and made his debut during their regular season game against Chicago Bears on September 10th.

Alexander finished his rookie season with 43 tackles (32 solos), four pass deflections, two sacks, one forced fumble, and one interception returned for a touchdown en route to being named to both The Associated Press All-Pro Second Team as well as Pro Football Focus' All-NFL Second Team defense. 

In 2019 he totaled 54 tackles (38 solos) 2 passes defended 1 sack 3 interceptions returned for touchdowns Jaire Alexander is an all-purpose defensive back who was drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Alexander has been a standout player for both college and the pros, recording 241 tackles, 10 interceptions, and 58 pass deflections during his career thus far. 

His playmaking abilities have helped him to be named to various All-Pro teams and earn second-team honors from the Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA) twice – most notably in 2020 when he also participated in two Pro Bowls. 

With continued success on defense and special teams, there's no telling how high up on lists such as MVP or Most Valuable Player (MVP) Alexander could go given his elite level of play over an extended period of time.

8. Michael Bush

Las Vegas Raiders

Michael Bush Career

  • High school: Louisville (KY) Male
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2007 / Round: 4 / Pick: 100
  • Oakland Raiders (2007–2011), Chicago Bears (2012–2013), Arizona Cardinals (2014)
  • Rushing attempts: 809, Rushing yards: 3,250, Rushing touchdowns: 29, Receptions: 104, Receiving yards: 1,010, Receiving touchdowns: 2
  • Rushing attempts: 809
  • Rushing yards: 3,250
  • Rushing touchdowns: 29
  • Receptions: 104
  • Receiving yards: 1,010
  • Receiving touchdowns: 2

Michael Bush was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2007 and played for them until 2011. He is best known for his time with the Raiders, where he ran for over 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons there.

After leaving the NFL, Bush signed with the Detroit Lions but only managed to play one season before retiring from football altogether. In retirement, Bush has started a charity called "Running With The Bulls" which helps disadvantaged children achieve their dreams through running competitions and educational programmes.

Michael Bush was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 2007 NFL Draft. He played for the Chicago Bears from 2012 to 2013 and then moved on to play for the Arizona Cardinals in 2014. 

Michael Bush is known for his rushing ability and has earned a reputation as one of the most talented running backs in recent memory. In total, he has rushed for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns during his career thus far.

9. Mekhi Becton

New York Jets


  • Jacobs Blocking Award (2019)
  • First-team All-ACC (2019)

Mekhi Becton was one of the top offensive tackles in college football and is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He played for Louisville from 2017 to 2019, helping lead them to two bowl games during that time.

Becton is known for his athleticism and consistency as an offensive lineman, which could make him a long-term fixture on any team he joins in the NFL. Mekhi Becton was drafted by the New York Jets in the 2020 NFL Draft. He played college football at Virginia Tech, where he was a two-time first-team All-ACC selection.

In 2019, he won the Jacobs Blocking Award as the top blocker in the ACC. Mekhi is injured and on IR with the Jets but has the potential to be a very good player in the NFL.

10. Chatarius Atwell

Los Angeles Rams


  • High school: Miami Northwestern, (Miami, Florida)
  • College: Louisville (2018–2020)
  • NFL Draft: 2021 / Round: 2 / Pick: 57
  • Los Angeles Rams (2021–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Super Bowl champion (LVI), First-team All-ACC (2019), Second-team All-ACC (2020)
  • Receptions: 18, Receiving yards: 298, Receiving touchdowns: 1, Return yards: 141, Rushing yards: 34, Rushing touchdowns: 1
  • Receptions: 18
  • Receiving yards: 298
  • Receiving touchdowns: 1
  • Return yards: 141
  • Rushing yards: 34
  • Rushing touchdowns: 1

Chatarius Atwell was born on October 7, 1999 in Miami, Florida. He attended high school at Miami Northwestern and played football for the team there. After graduating from high school, Atwell attended Louisville University where he played wide receiver for the Cardinals.

In his two seasons with Louisville, Chatarius accumulated 102 receptions for 1,953 yards and 15 touchdowns in 36 games played (27 starts). As a result of his impressive playing career at Louisville, Atwell was selected by the Los Angeles Rams as their second round pick (#57 overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Currently, Chatarius is a member of the Rams and has appeared in 10 games (eight starts) during his rookie season so far accumulating 63 receptions for 854 yards and six touchdowns—including an 88-yard touchdown reception against Arizona Cardinals back in Week 2 of this year’s NFL Season.

11. Gary Barnidge

Cleveland Browns

Gary Barnidge Career

  • High school: Middleburg (FL)
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 5 / Pick: 141
  • Carolina Panthers (2008–2012), Cleveland Browns (2013–2016)
  • Pro Bowl (2015), First-team All-Big East (2007)
  • Receptions: 178, Receiving yards: 2,258, Receiving touchdowns: 14
  • Receptions: 178
  • Receiving yards: 2,258
  • Receiving touchdowns: 14

Gary Barnidge was a tight end for the Cleveland Browns from 2008-2016. He had his best seasons with the Browns in 2014 and 2016, when he totaled 43 catches for 511 yards and three touchdowns.

Barnidge has also played for the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Tennessee Titans during his NFL career. In 2018, Barnidge signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on a one-year deal worth $2 million.

At 37 years old, Gary Barnidge is still playing in the NFL; showing that age doesn't matter when it comes to football skills. Barnidge was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2013 and spent two seasons with the team before being traded to Carolina Panthers.

Barnidge has been a consistent player over his career, posting good numbers in both receptions and yards per game. He is also known for his touchdown totals, which are high for a tight end. Barnidge had a Pro Bowl appearance in 2015 and will likely be looking to continue that success this season with the Panthers.

12. Harry Douglas

Atlanta Falcons

Harry Douglas Career

  • Atlanta Falcons (2008–2014)
  • Tennessee Titans (2015–2017)

Harry Douglas was a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. He is best known for his punt return skills; in 2008, he returned one for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers.

Douglas has also played cornerback and special teams player throughout his career. In 2017, he announced his retirement from the NFL after eight seasons with the Falcons. Douglas is married to Ciara and they have two children together - son Harry Jr., born in 2009, and daughter Harlow Rose, born in 2013).

Harry Douglas was a major part of the Atlanta Falcons offense for several seasons. Douglas finished his career with 310 receptions for 3,759 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was an All-American in 2007 and Second Team All-Big East selection in 2006 and 2007. 

Douglas is now retired from the NFL but will continue to be involved as a commentator on Fox Sports Network's coverage of the NFC South divisional playoff game this weekend between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.

13. Geron Christian

Geron Christian Career

  • High school: Trinity Catholic (Ocala)
  • College: Louisville (2015–2017)
  • NFL Draft: 2018 / Round: 3 / Pick: 74
  • Washington Redskins / Football Team (2018–2020), Houston Texans (2021), Kansas City Chiefs (2022), Miami Dolphins (2022–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Games played: 46, Games started: 16
  • Games played: 46
  • Games started: 16

Geron Christian was originally a Louisville Cardinals football player, but he would eventually make the switch to offensive tackle in the NFL. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2018 and has since been playing for them as an offensive lineman.

Geron is 26 years old and stands at 6'5" tall with a weight of 302 pounds. Christian was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Christian played college football at Temple University and totaled 299 rushing yards, two touchdowns and 128 receiving yards in his senior season.

Christian is a versatile player who can play running back or receiver for the Redskins offense. In Week 9 of 2022, Christian had 21 rushes for 104 yards and one touchdown as well as seven receptions for 83 yards to help lead the Redskins to victory over division rival Houston Texans 19-15.

14. Ray Buchanan

Atlanta Falcons


  • Indianapolis Colts (1993–1996)
  • Atlanta Falcons (1997–2003)
  • Oakland Raiders (2004)

Ray Buchanan was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft. He played for the Colts from 1993 to 1996 and then moved on to play for the Atlanta Falcons from 1997 to 2003.

Ray Buchanan is best known for his time with the Atlanta Falcons, where he made a name for himself as one of the league's top cornerbacks. In 2001, he was named to both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams after recording career highs in interceptions (7) and passes defended (27).

Ray Buchanan retired from professional football following a successful 16-year career that saw him amass 330 tackles, nine sacks, two fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles, two touchdown returns, and five special teams touchdowns. 

Since retiring from football full-time in 2004, Ray has worked as an analyst on Fox Sports 1's coverage of college football games.

He also serves as an ambassador for multiple charities affiliated with children's cancer research. Ray lives in Chicago with his wife Lori and their four children: Megan, Brooke, Collin, and Chase. Ray Buchanan was a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders from 1994-1998. 

He had 819 tackles and 47 interceptions in his career. Ray Buchanan is a two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler who played for the Louisville Cardinals prior to joining the NFL.

After retiring as a player, Ray became an analyst with CBS Sports and Fox Sports Southwest before being hired by ESPN in 2016 as an NFL Insider.

15. Eric Wood

Buffalo Bills

Eric Wood Career

  • Pro Bowl (2015)
  • First-team Freshman All-American (2005)
  • Second-team All-Big East (2006)
  • 2× First-team All-Big East (2007, 2008)

Wood was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2009 and has spent his entire career with them. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and a four-time All-Pro selection. 

Wood helped lead the Bills to their first playoff appearance in 18 years in 2015, but they were eliminated in the first round of that year's postseason tournament.

In 2017, he signed with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent but was released before the start of the season due to injury problems. 

Wood announced his retirement from playing football on January 2nd, 2019 after 13 seasons with Buffalo and five seasons with New Orleans Eric Wood is one of the best offensive linemen in NFL history.

He was a first-team All-American as a freshman at Ohio State and has been an integral part of some successful teams throughout his career. Wood has started all 120 games he's played in the NFL, which is quite an achievement for someone who just turned 27 years old this year. 

He was nominated for the Pro Bowl this year but did not make it to Hawaii due to injury, something that will doubtlessly frustrate him given his consistent play over the past few seasons.

Eric Wood may be coming to the end of his playing days, but he'll go down as one of the greatest offensive linemen in league history and a true legend within New England Patriots circles.

16. Preston Brown

Buffalo Bills

Preston Brown Career

  • High school: Cincinnati (OH) Northwest
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2014 / Round: 3 / Pick: 73
  • Buffalo Bills (2014–2017), Cincinnati Bengals (2018–2019), Oakland Raiders (2019), Jacksonville Jaguars (2019)
  • NFL tackles co-leader (2017), Second-team All-AAC (2013), Second-team All-BIG-EAST (2012)
  • Total tackles: 609, Sacks: 1.0, Forced fumbles: 3, Fumble recoveries: 5, Interceptions: 5, Defensive touchdowns: 1
  • Total tackles: 609
  • Sacks: 1.0
  • Forced fumbles: 3
  • Fumble recoveries: 5
  • Interceptions: 5
  • Defensive touchdowns: 1

Brown was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 2014 NFL Draft. Brown played for the Bills from 2014 to 2017, before spending time with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018 and 2019.

Brown has had a successful career playing linebacker in the NFL, earning Pro Bowl honors with both Buffalo and Cincinnati. Brown is currently a free agent, but is likely to return to play for either the Oakland Raiders or Buffalo Bills next season.

Brown was one of the Jaguars' most consistent defenders in 2019. He led the team with 59 tackles and also had 3 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. 

Brown has been a fixture on Jacksonville's defense for several years now, and his experience will be key as they look to rebound from their disappointing season in 2018.

17. Breno Giacomini

New York Jets

Breno Giacomini Career

  • High school: Malden, (Malden, Massachusetts)
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 5 / Pick: 150
  • Green Bay Packers (2008–2010), Seattle Seahawks (2010–2013), New York Jets (2014–2016), Houston Texans (2017), Oakland Raiders (2018)*
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Super Bowl champion (XLVIII), Second-team All-Big East (2007)
  • Games played: 94, Games started: 86
  • Games played: 94
  • Games started: 86

Giacomini played for the Packers from 2008 to 2010. He was drafted by Green Bay in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Giacomini has appeared in 60 career games, compiling 25 tackles and one sack.

In 2011, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks and played there until retiring at the end of that season due to an injury sustained during a game against Arizona Cardinals.. Giacomini is married and has two children.

Breno Giacomini has played four seasons in the NFL, all with Seattle Seahawks. He started 86 games and totaled 94 appearances. Giacomini was a Second-team All-Big East selection in 2007 after recording 43 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble over 13 games (12 starts).

After being traded to the Jets midway through the 2014 season for guard John Moffitt and linebacker Demario Davis, Giacomini helped lead New York to an AFC Championship game appearance before losing to eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots 34–22. 

In his lone year with Houston prior to signing with Oakland this offseason, he appeared in 10 games (9 starts) recording 38 tackles and 1 sack while also registering 2 passes defensed.

18. Frank Minnifield

Frank Minnifield Career

  • First-team All-Pro (1988)
  • 4× Pro Bowl (1986–1989)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1984)
  • Cleveland Browns Legends
  • Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor
  • Inducted into KY Pro Football HOF (2004)

Minnifield played cornerback for the Chicago Blitz, Cleveland Browns, and Arizona Wranglers in the NFL. He was drafted by the Chicago Blitz in 1983 but did not play a down for them before being traded to the Cleveland Browns where he became one of their starting cornerbacks.

Minnifield also appeared in 11 games for the US National Team during his career, making four interceptions and two touchdown receptions on punt returns. 

After 14 seasons with Cleveland, Minnifield retired from football in 1992 to start a family business that manufactures golf carts and other recreational vehicles Frank Minnifield was a four-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in the NFL.

He started his career with the Cleveland Browns before playing for the Boston Patriots, Cardinals, and Browns again in his final two seasons. Minnifield is one of only six players to have played in all 16 regular season games of a decade (the 1980s). 

After retiring from football, he worked as an analyst on NFL Network until his death at age 50 in 2016.

19. Chris Redman

Atlanta Falcons

Chris Redman Career

  • High school: Louisville (KY) Male
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2000 / Round: 3 / Pick: 75
  • Baltimore Ravens (2000–2003), New England Patriots (2004)*, Tennessee Titans (2005)*, Austin Wranglers (2007)*, Atlanta Falcons (2007–2011)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Super Bowl champion (XXXV), Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (1999), C-USA Offensive Player of the Year (1999), Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor, Inducted into KY Pro Football HOF (2012)
  • Pass attempts: 479, Pass completions: 273, Percentage: 57.0, TD–INT: 21–14, Passing yards: 3,047, QB Rating: 79.4
  • Pass attempts: 479
  • Pass completions: 273
  • Percentage: 57.0
  • TD–INT: 21–14
  • Passing yards: 3,047
  • QB Rating: 79.4

A four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, Redman spent his entire 10-year NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens. A three time starter, Redman led the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory in 2000 as their starting quarterback.

After being traded to New England in 2004, he was replaced by Tom Brady late in the season and retired at the end of that year. 

He has since become an analyst for CBS Sports Network and is also involved in various business ventures outside of football including investments into restaurants and golf courses He married his high school sweetheart in 2007 and they have one child together Redman played for the Atlanta Falcons from 2007-2011.

He was a 3rd round draft pick by the Falcons and helped lead them to their only Super Bowl victory in 2005. Redman holds several team records, including most completions (273) and passing yards (3,047). 

In 1999, he won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as C-USA's Offensive Player of the Year and led Louisville to an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl that year. Redman is also a member of both KY Pro Football HOFs: The Cardinals Ring of Honor (2012) and The Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame (2013).

After his playing career ended, Redman became an analyst on Fox NFL Sunday with Troy Aikman and Jimmy Johnson before retiring at season's end in 2016 due to health concerns.

20. Jeff Brohm

Jeff Brohm Career

  • High school: Louisville (KY) Trinity
  • College: Louisville
  • Undrafted: 1994
  • As coach, 2× C-USA Championships (2015, 2016), 2× C-USA East Division champion (2015, 2016), Big Ten West Division champion (2022), As player, Liberty Bowl MVP (1993), Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor
  • TD–INT: 1–1, Passing yards: 353, Passer rating: 79.2
  • TD–INT: 1–1
  • Passing yards: 353
  • Passer rating: 79.2

Jeff Brohm was the head coach at Louisville Cardinals from 2017 to 2019. He played football for San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins and then San Francisco 49ers.

After coaching for three seasons at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, he became the new head coach of Louisville in 2017. As a player, Jeff Brohm had an impressive playing career with stints with the San Diego Chargers (1994) and Washington Redskins (1995-1997).

In his first season as a head coach, Jeff Brohm led the Louisville Cardinals to their first bowl game since 2013 - defeating Georgia Southern 45-42 in the TaxSlayer Bowl on New Year’s Day 2019. Jeff Brohm is a former quarterback at Louisville and has coached in the NFL for 10 seasons.

He was most recently the head coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini, but he fired after just one season. Jeff Brohm is currently coaching with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their quarterbacks coach.

Also Played For: western kentucky hilltoppers football

21. Bruce Armstrong


  • 3× Second-team All-Pro (1988, 1990, 1996)
  • 6× Pro Bowl (1990, 1991, 1994-1997)
  • New England Patriots All-1980s Team
  • New England Patriots All-1990s Team
  • New England Patriots 35th Anniversary Team
  • New England Patriots 50th Anniversary Team
  • New England Patriots Hall of Fame
  • New England Patriots No. 78 retired
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1987)
  • Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor

Armstrong was drafted by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft. He spent 11 seasons with the Patriots, amassing 151 tackles and 10 sacks during that time.

After playing his final season with the Detroit Lions in 2000, Armstrong retired from professional football. In 2002, Armstrong began coaching at Miami Central High School and has remained there since then.

Bruce Armstrong was one of the most dominant defensive players in NFL history. He was a key part of New England's success during the 1990s and played an important role on three Super Bowl championship teams.

Armstrong is also widely regarded as one of the best safeties to have ever played the game, earning six Pro Bowl selections and several All-Pro honors over his career. In 2016, he was elected into the Patriots Hall of Fame alongside quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

22. Roman Oben

Roman Oben Career

  • High school: , Gonzaga College High School, (Washington, D.C.), Fork Union Military Academy, (Fork Union, VA)
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 1996 / Round: 3 / Pick: 66
  • Super Bowl champion (XXXVII), Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor, Inducted into KY Pro Football HOF (2013)
  • Games played: 143, Games started: 130, Fumble recoveries: 4
  • Games played: 143
  • Games started: 130
  • Fumble recoveries: 4

Roman Oben was born on October 9, 1972 in Yaounde, Cameroon. He attended Gonzaga College High School before transferring to Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA).

After two seasons at FUMA, Oben played college football for Louisville from 1995-1997. In the 1996 NFL Draft, Roman was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 66th overall pick.

He spent three years with SF and then signed with the Giants in 2001 as a free agent. With New York he started 67 games over eight seasons before retiring after the 2015 season due to an Achilles injury sustained while playing against Philadelphia on November 19th of that year.

Since his retirement from professional football, Roman has been working as a television analyst for NFL Network and Fox Sports.

Roman Oben is a former NFL player and executive who most recently served as the Director of Player Health & Safety for the NFL. Prior to his time with the NFL, Roman also spent time with Cleveland Browns (2000-2001) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-2003).

In 2004, he was hired by San Diego Chargers where he worked in various capacities including Vice President of Youth Football before being promoted to Senior Director in 2007. 

He joined the National Football League in 2014 as a Deputy Commissioner overseeing Officiating Operations before being named Head of Player Health & Safety later that year. 

Roman has been instrumental in developing new safety initiatives such as Heads Up Play which helps teach players how to protect themselves on the field while avoiding injury or even death from head injuries sustained during playtime activities like football drills or tackling practice sessions.

As an Executive with both experience playing and managing football talent at all levels, Roman brings valuable insight and perspective to his current role leading youth football development within the NFL hierarchy through its nationwide programming footprint across high schools and amateur leagues alike.

23. Tyrus McCloud


  • College: University of Louisville
  • Position: Linebacker
  • NFL Draft: 1997 / Round: 4 / Pick: 118
  • Baltimore Ravens (1997–1998)
  • 2× C-USA Defensive Player of the Year (1995, 1996)

Tyrus McCloud was a linebacker for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars from 1997-2003. He played in 143 games, recording 941 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1 sack.

In 2003, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys where he spent 4 seasons before retiring in 2007 due to injury. After his retirement from football, Tyrus became an analyst with Fox Sports' college football coverage and has also worked as a color commentator for broadcasts of both American and Canadian Football League (CFL) games.

Tyrus is married to Shantel Jackson and they have two children - Tyrese Jr., born on November 23rd, 2006; and Taya Rae who was born on December 14th, 2009). 

Tyrus currently resides in Nashville , Tennessee . McCloud was a two-time C-USA Defensive Player of the Year for the Baltimore Ravens. McCloud is known as one of the best defensive backs to play in the NFL, and he has been inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.

Mccloud was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1998, but he only played three seasons in Denver before being traded to Baltimore where he would remain until his retirement in 2006. In 2001, McCloud won Super Bowl XXXV with the Ravens over the New York Giants.

24. Joe Jacoby

Joe Jacoby Career

  • 3× Super Bowl champion (XVII, XXII, XXVI)
  • 3× First-team All-Pro (1983, 1984, 1987)
  • 4× Pro Bowl (1983–1986)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1981)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • Washington Redskins Ring of Fame
  • Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor

Joe Jacoby was a 6'7" left tackle for the Washington Redskins from 1981 to 1993. He started all 112 games he played in and helped lead the team to four Super Bowl appearances, winning one (1988).

Joe Jacoby was born in Louisville, Kentucky on July 6th, 1959. After high school graduation, he attended Western Kentucky University where he played football and majored in business administration.

In 1981, Joe Jacoby was drafted by the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent and spent six seasons with them before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992. He retired after playing three seasons with Philadelphia and finished his career with 14 sacks and five fumble recoveries.

Joe Jacoby is currently involved in several businesses including coaching youth football at Fairfax Christian School and being a color commentator for college bowl games on ESPNU TV channel.. 

Joe Jacoby was one of the most successful offensive linemen in NFL history. He won three Super Bowls and was First-team All-Pro four times.

Joe Jacoby also had a long career with the Washington Redskins, where he became a Ring of Fame member in 2010. After retiring from football, Joe Jacoby started his own business which helps injured athletes heal faster and better.

25. Bilal Powell

New York Jets

Bilal Powell Career

  • High school: Lake Gibson, (Lakeland, Florida)
  • College: Louisville (2007–2010)
  • NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 4 / Pick: 126
  • New York Jets (2011–2019)
  • Fourth-team Phil Steele All-American (2010), First-team All-Big East (2010)
  • Rushing yards: 3,675, Rushing average: 4.3, Rushing touchdowns: 15, Receptions: 211, Receiving yards: 1,600, Receiving touchdowns: 5
  • Rushing yards: 3,675
  • Rushing average: 4.3
  • Rushing touchdowns: 15
  • Receptions: 211
  • Receiving yards: 1,600
  • Receiving touchdowns: 5

Bilal Powell played college football at Louisville and was drafted by the New York Jets in the 2011 NFL Draft. After spending four seasons with the Jets, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns in February of 2018.

Bilal Powell is a running back who has established himself as one of the better players in the league over his career. He is known for his speed and power on the ground, as well as his pass-catching ability out of the backfield.

In 2017, Bilal Powell led all running backs with 1,287 yards on 158 carries (5.1 avg.) while also catching 53 passes for 473 yards and two touchdowns en route to being named to his third Pro Bowl appearance overall.

Making him only player in franchise history with multiple trips to both an AFC/NFC Pro Bowl game Bilal Powell was a four-year starter at Rutgers and played in 42 games.

He had 1,600 receiving yards and 15 rushing touchdowns in his career with the Jets. Bilal Powell is a versatile running back who can run between the tackles or catch passes out of the backfield. 

In 2019, he became the first Jet to rush for over 1,000 yards in three straight seasons since Curtis Martin did it from 2006-08. Bilal Powell is signed through 2024 and will be an important part of the Jets offense moving forward.

26. Doug Buffone

Chicago Bears

Doug Buffone Career

  • 100 greatest Bears of All-Time
  • Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor
  • Inducted into KY Pro Football HOF (2015)

Doug Buffone was a linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 1966 to 1979. He played in 158 games and recorded 1,585 tackles, 12 interceptions, nine sacks, six forced fumbles and one touchdown.

Buffone also won two Super Bowls with the Bears (1971 and 1973). After retiring as a player, Buffone became an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1980–1982) and then served as defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders (1983–1986).

In 1988, he returned to coaching with the Bears before being named head coach of Division II Northern Arizona University in 1991. He stayed there until his retirement in 1999. 

Buffone passed away on April 20th 2015 at age 70 after a long battle with cancer Doug Buffone was one of the most feared linebackers in NFL history.

He played for the Chicago Bears from 1974-1981 and recorded over 500 tackles during that time. Doug Buffone also had a stellar career with the Louisville Cardinals, where he won two NFC Central division titles and was inducted into the Ky Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. 

Buffone is considered one of the best linebackers to ever play the game and his passion for football showed through on every play he made.

27. Brian Brohm

Louisville Cardinals football


  • High school: Louisville (KY) Trinity
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 2 / Pick: 56
  • Conference USA Freshman of the Year (2005), Orange Bowl MVP (2007)
  • TD–INT: 0–5, Passing yards: 252, QB Rating: 26.0
  • TD–INT: 0–5
  • Passing yards: 252
  • QB Rating: 26.0
  • Passing yards: 907, TD–INT: 1–5, Rating: 61.8
  • Passing yards: 907
  • TD–INT: 1–5
  • Rating: 61.8

Brian Brohm is a quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for the Louisville Cardinals. He played football at Louisville Trinity, where he was an All-American in 2004.

After playing two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, he spent one year each with the Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Locomotives before joining the Cardinals in 2013. As a player, Brohm was known for his accuracy and passing ability from the pocket as well as his toughness on offense and defense.

In 2018, Brohm led Louisville to their first College Football Playoff appearance since 1986 despite losing to Georgia in the National Championship Game Brohm was a quarterback at Western Kentucky and spent the 2009 season as an assistant coach for the New Orleans Saints. 

Brohm was hired by Purdue in early December of 2017, after serving as quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars during their playoff run.

The interim head coaching position at Purdue is not his first rodeo; he served as co-offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach from 2016 to 2022 with Western Kentucky before taking over midseason when Jeff Brohm left to become head coach at Missouri.

28. Amobi Okoye

Houston Texans

Amobi Okoye Career

  • Houston Texans (2007–2010)
  • Chicago Bears (2011)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012)*
  • Chicago Bears (2012)
  • Dallas Cowboys (2014)
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders (2016)*

Okoye was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2007 and made an immediate impact as a defensive lineman. He played for the Texans until 2010 when he signed with the Chicago Bears.

Okoye has since become one of the most respected players at his position, playing on four teams over six seasons before retiring in 2016. In total, Okoye has recorded 94 tackles and seven sacks in his career.

Now 35 years old, Okoye is still involved in football coaching and working to raise awareness about mental health issues among athletes Amobi Okoye was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

He played for Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys before signing with Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016. 

Amobi is a dominant defensive tackle who has been able to make an impact on multiple teams over his career. His athleticism, strength, and size have made him one of the most feared defenders in the NFL.

Amobi will be looking to continue his success with Saskatchewan this season and help them compete for a Grey Cup championship.

29. William Gay

Pittsburgh Steelers

William Gay Career

  • High school: James S. Rickards, (Tallahassee, Florida)
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2007 / Round: 5 / Pick: 170
  • Super Bowl champion (XLIII)
  • Total tackles: 571, Sacks: 7.0, Forced fumbles: 10, Pass deflections: 87, Interceptions: 13, Defensive touchdowns: 6
  • Total tackles: 571
  • Sacks: 7.0
  • Forced fumbles: 10
  • Pass deflections: 87
  • Interceptions: 13
  • Defensive touchdowns: 6

Gay was a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2007-2011. He played in all 16 games with the team during his rookie season, starting 10 of them. Gay was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2012 and started 11 games before being released in 2013.

After being out of football for two years, Gay signed with the Missouri State Bears as their defensive backs coach in 2016. In his first year at Mizzou State, Gay helped guide the Bears to an 8-5 record and a berth in the Division I FCS Playoffs where they lost to North Dakota State University 52-14 on December 3rdth, 2017.

Gay is married with three children and resides in Tallahassee, Florida William Gay is a former linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants. He played college football at Missouri State before being drafted in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Steelers. 

In his thirteen seasons in the NFL, Gay has recorded 571 tackles, 10 forced fumbles, and one interception.

After playing for three seasons with the Giants from 2014 to 2017, he signed with the Steelers for 2018 season and helped them win Super Bowl XLIII against Arizona Cardinals on Feburary 3rd 2019.

30. Kerry Rhodes

New York Jets

Kerry Rhodes Career

  • High school: Bessemer (AL) Lanier
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2005 / Round: 4 / Pick: 123
  • New York Jets (2005–2009), Arizona Cardinals (2010–2012)
  • Second-team All-Pro (2006), PFWA All-Rookie Team (2005)
  • Tackles: 608, Sacks: 13.0, Interceptions: 23, Forced fumbles: 8
  • Tackles: 608
  • Sacks: 13.0
  • Interceptions: 23
  • Forced fumbles: 8

Kerry Rhodes was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He played for New York from 2005 to 2009, recording 137 tackles, two interceptions and one sack.

After leaving the Jets, Rhodes signed with the Arizona Cardinals but only played five games before being released in 2010. In 2011, he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but again only played a small number of games before retiring that year due to injury.

Kerry currently works as an analyst for Fox Sports 1 and is also involved in various charity work throughout his home state of Alabama. Kerry Rhodes was a highly touted prospect coming out of college and made an immediate impact as a rookie for the Arizona Cardinals.

His talent allowed him to be one of the most consistent players on defense throughout his career, even when injuries took their toll. Rhodes is also known for his passion for the game and willingness to give 110 percent every play, no matter what situation he's in. 

He finished his 12-year career with 608 tackles, 13 sacks, 23 interceptions, 8 forced fumbles and 2 Super Bowl rings - both with Arizona in 2008 and 2010.

Rhodes retired after the 2012 season and currently works as a television analyst for NFL games

31. Jason Spitz

Green Bay Packers

Jason Spitz Career

  • High school: Jacksonville (FL) Bolles
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2006 / Round: 3 / Pick: 75
  • Green Bay Packers (2006−2010), Jacksonville Jaguars (2011−2012), Seattle Seahawks (2013)
  • Super Bowl champion (XLV)
  • Games played: 75, Games started: 45, Fumble recoveries: 1
  • Games played: 75
  • Games started: 45
  • Fumble recoveries: 1

Jason Spitz was a center for the Packers from 2006-2011. He played in all 16 games of the 2007 season and started 9 of them, helping lead Green Bay to their first NFC North title since 1999.

In 2008, he missed time due to an ankle injury but still appeared in all 16 games and helped guide the team to another NFC North title. The next year, 2009, saw Jason suffer a knee injury that forced him to miss most of the season; however, he did make it back for Super Bowl XLV against Pittsburgh.

After three successful seasons with Green Bay (2006-2008), Jason signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent in 2011 but only lasted one year before being released at the end of 2012 campaign. Jason Spitz played for the Green Bay Packers from 2006-2010, and was a Super Bowl champion in his final season.

He also played for Jacksonville Jaguars from 2011-2012, before signing with Seattle Seahawks in 2013. Jason has had success both as a pass rusher and run stuffer throughout his career, amassing 91 sacks and 458 tackles during his time in the NFL. 

Jason is now an analyst on ESPN's Monday Night Football coverage, providing analysis of game play alongside color commentator Jon Gruden.

32. Johnny Patrick

New Orleans Saints


  • High school: DeLand (FL)
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13
  • New Orleans Saints (2011−2012), San Diego Chargers (2013), New York Jets (2014)*, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2016)*
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • First-team All-Big East honors (2010)
  • Tackles: 68, Sacks: 1.5, Pass deflections: 13, Interceptions: 1, Forced fumbles: 1
  • Tackles: 68
  • Sacks: 1.5
  • Pass deflections: 13
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Forced fumbles: 1

Johnny Patrick was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 2011 NFL Draft. He played for the San Diego Chargers from 2013-2014 before joining the New York Jets in 2015.

Patrick has made a name for himself as a cornerback and is considered one of the best players at his position in the NFL today. Johnny Patrick is married with two children and lives in Florida where he enjoys playing golf and spending time with family and friends.

Johnny Patrick was a standout linebacker at Syracuse, and he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After playing one year with the Jaguars, Patrick signed with Winnipeg as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He has spent his entire career with Winnipeg (except for 2014 when he played for Tampa Bay), recording 68 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 13 pass deflections and one interception while forcing one fumble over six seasons. 

Patrick is best known for making an incredible leaping catch against Montreal in 2013 that helped preserve a victory in what would be the final game of Jim Schwartz's tenure as head coach of the Blue Bombers; it's widely regarded as one of Manitoba's most memorable sports moments.

33. Byron Stingily

Tennessee Titans

Byron Stingily Career

  • High school: Romeoville (IL)
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 6 / Pick: 175
  • Tennessee Titans (2011–2014), Pittsburgh Steelers (2015), New York Giants (2016)*
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Games played: 20, Games started: 9
  • Games played: 20
  • Games started: 9

Byron Stingily was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 9th 1988. He attended Romeoville High School and played offensive tackle for the Cardinals there before going on to play at Louisville.

He earned First-Team All-Big East honors as a senior after leading his team with 11 tackles for loss and six sacks while also blocking two kicks as part of an offense that averaged 397 yards per game overall.

The 6'5", 318lb (144kg) offensive lineman was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2011 NFL Draft, but has since been released three times before landing back with the Cincinnati Bengals last year where he started all 16 games at right tackle helping them reach their first playoff appearance since 2005 despite playing through a torn ligament in his thumb.

Byron Stingily may have found a home, signing a four-year deal worth $32 million (£24m/$40m) with Jacksonville Jaguars this off-season.

34. Greg Scruggs

Seattle Seahawks

Greg Scruggs Career

  • High school: St. Xavier, (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2012 / Round: 7 / Pick: 232
  • As player, 2× Super Bowl champion (XLVIII, LI)

Greg Scruggs is an assistant defensive line coach with the New York Jets. He played college football at Louisville, and was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012.

After playing for the Seahawks for three seasons, he joined the Jets in 2015 as an assistant coach. Greg Scruggs is a well-known defensive lineman who has played for the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots.

He was most recently a coach with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he worked as director of player development. Greg Scruggs has had an illustrious playing career, winning two Super Bowl championships with the Chicago Bears.

He also started in all 48 games that he appeared in during his time with the team, amassing 137 tackles and 5 sacks over four seasons. After retiring from football, Greg Scruggs took up coaching duties with the Cincinnati Bengals as director of player development.

In this role, he helped to develop players both on and off the field while working alongside head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

35. Brandon Johnson

Louisville Cardinals football

Brandon Johnson Career

  • High school: Minor (Adamsville, Alabama)
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2006 / Round: 5 / Pick: 142
  • Arizona Cardinals (2006−2007), Cincinnati Bengals (2008−2011), Pittsburgh Steelers (2012)
  • Total tackles: 224, Sacks: 3.5, Forced fumbles: 1, Fumble recoveries: 1, Interceptions: 3
  • Total tackles: 224
  • Sacks: 3.5
  • Forced fumbles: 1
  • Fumble recoveries: 1
  • Interceptions: 3

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Brandon Johnson attended Minor High School before playing college football at Louisville. After being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2006, Johnson made an immediate impact as a linebacker for the team and was named to two Pro Bowls (2010-2011).

In 2013, he signed with the New York Jets and played there until 2016 when he was released after one season. Since 2017, Johnson has been a member of the Carolina Panthers where he is still currently playing football. 

Brandon Johnson is a versatile defensive lineman who played for the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers during his career.

2. He was drafted in 2006 by the Arizona Cardinals and spent three seasons with them before being traded to the Bengals in 2008. 3. In 2011, he signed with the Steelers and remained there until 2012 when he retired from professional football.

Brandon Johnson has accumulated 224 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 3 interceptions during his time in the NFL.

36. Ted Washington


  • High school: Tampa (FL) Tech
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 1991 / Round: 1 / Pick: 25
  • San Francisco 49ers (1991–1993), Denver Broncos (1994), Buffalo Bills (1995–2000), Chicago Bears (2001–2002), New England Patriots (2003), Oakland Raiders (2004–2005), Cleveland Browns (2006–2007)
  • Super Bowl champion (XXXVIII), First-team All-Pro (2001), Second-team All-Pro (1997), 4× Pro Bowl (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001), Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor
  • Tackles: 603, Sacks: 34.5, Interceptions: 2
  • Tackles: 603
  • Sacks: 34.5
  • Interceptions: 2

Ted Washington was a nose tackle for the San Francisco 49ers from 1991-1993. He then played for the Denver Broncos from 1994-2000 and helped them win two Super Bowls (1994, 1995).

The Bills signed him in 2001, but he only played one season with them before going to Chicago. In 2002, he joined the New England Patriots and won another Super Bowl title that year.

Washington retired after playing three more seasons with the Patriots (2003-2005) before turning to coaching full time in 2006 at Louisville University where he is currently head coach of their defensive line unit He was one of the most feared defensive players in NFL history.

Washington played for three different teams during his career, and each team respected him immensely. He led the league in sacks twice, and was a four-time Pro Bowler. Washington is also known for being an excellent run defender, which helped him accumulate over 600 tackles throughout his career.

Ted Washington will always be remembered as one of the greatest defenders to ever play in the NFL - he's definitely someone you don't want on your side.

37. Dorian Etheridge


  • High school: Capital (Charleston, West Virginia)
  • College: Louisville (2017–2020)
  • Undrafted: 2021
  • Atlanta Falcons (2021–present)
  • Roster status: Practice squad
  • Freshman All-American by ESPN
  • Total tackles: 1
  • Total tackles: 1

Etheridge attended Capital High School in Charleston, West Virginia. He starred as a linebacker for Louisville Cardinals from 2017 to 2020. Etheridge was not drafted by any NFL teams after graduating from Louisville in May 2021 but signed with the Atlanta Falcons later that month.

Etheridge has made an immediate impact on the Falcons' roster and is now one of their starting linebackers. 

His impressive play has helped the Falcons make it to playoffs for the first time in three years and he is looking forward to adding more trophies to his cabinet soon. Dorian Etheridge is a hard-working player who always puts 110% into every game he plays and deserves all the success that comes his way.

Dorian Etheridge was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school and he showed his skills early on for the Falcons. Etheridge has quickly developed into an important part of the Atlanta defense, recording 1 sack and 5 tackles in just 4 games this season. 

He is also very versatile, being able to play both linebacker positions as well as defensive end effectively. Etheridge will only get better with experience and hopefully can continue to develop his game over time at the NFL level.

38. Jamon Brown

Los Angeles Rams

Jamon Brown Career

  • High school: Fern Creek, (Louisville, Kentucky)
  • College: Louisville
  • Position: Guard
  • NFL Draft: 2015 / Round: 3 / Pick: 72
  • St. Louis / Los Angeles Rams (2015–2018), New York Giants (2018), Atlanta Falcons (2019), Chicago Bears (2020)*, Philadelphia Eagles (2020)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Second-team All-ACC (2014)
  • Games played: 62, Games started: 48
  • Games played: 62
  • Games started: 48

Jamon Brown started his career with the Rams, but was traded to the Chargers in 2018. Jamon Brown is a versatile guard who has played both tackle and guard positions in the NFL.

Jamon Brown primarily plays center, but can also play right or left guard depending on need. Jamon Brown is an excellent run blocker and excels at getting to the second level of defense.

Jalen Ramsey said that he “doesn’t know how people are not watching [Brown] more” after reviewing tape from last season alone . He finished his rookie year as one of only three players (along with Andrew Whitworth and Trestman) selected for Pro Bowl consideration despite playing less than half of their team's offensive snaps .

Brown was a dominant player in college and the NFL. Brown has started every game he's played in his career, which is impressive. He has also been an All-ACC selection twice and helped lead Notre Dame to two BCS National Championships (2012, 2016). 

At 6'1" and 285 pounds, Brown is a big linebacker with speed to spare. His skills on the field have made him one of the most sought after free agents this offseason.

39. Klaus Wilmsmeyer


  • High school: Mississauga (ON) Lorne Park
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 1992 / Round: 12 / Pick: 311
  • CFL Draft: 1992 / Round: 5 / Pick: 34
  • San Francisco 49ers (1992–1994), New Orleans Saints (1995–1996), Miami Dolphins (1998)
  • Super Bowl champion (XXIX), PFWA All-Rookie Team (1992)

Klaus Wilmsmeyer is a punter in the NFL who has played for the St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts. He was born in 1967 in Mississauga, Ontario Canada and attended Lorne Park High School before going on to play college football at Louisville.

In 1992, he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams as 12th overall and spent five seasons with them before joining the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1997 where he played until 2002 when he joined Indianapolis Colts (2003-2004). 

He retired from professional football after playing two years with the Edmonton Eskimos of Canadian Football League (CFL) from 2005-2006 season but came back to NFL for one year with Baltimore Ravens during 2007 campaign which ended up being his final season playing pro football Wilmsmeyer was drafted in the third round by the San Francisco 49ers in 1992.

He played for the New Orleans Saints from 1995-96 and then Miami Dolphins from 1998-2000. Wilmsmeyer won a Super Bowl championship with the 49ers in 1994 and also made an All-Rookie Team appearance that year. 

After his NFL career, Klaus went on to play professional football in Europe with teams such as Frankfurt Galaxy, Berlin Thunder, and Cologne Crocodiles before retiring in 2007 at age 37 years old.

40. Carwell Gardner


  • High school: Trinity High School, Louisville, Kentucky
  • College: Kentucky / Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 1990 / Round: 2 / Pick: 42
  • Buffalo Bills (1990–1995), Baltimore Ravens (1996), San Diego Chargers (1997)
  • Games played-started: 101-30, Rushing attempts-yards: 211-749, Receptions-yards: 36-281, Fumble recoveries: 7, Touchdowns: 12
  • Games played-started: 101-30
  • Rushing attempts-yards: 211-749
  • Receptions-yards: 36-281
  • Fumble recoveries: 7
  • Touchdowns: 12

Carwell Gardner is a fullback who played for the Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Lions in the NFL. He was born on November 27, 1966, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Carwell attended Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky and then went to play football at the University of Kentucky before being drafted by the Ravens in 1990.

In his career with the Ravens he became one of their most important players and helped them win two Super Bowls (XXXVIII & XXXIX). 

After finishing his playing career with Detroit he remained active as a coach and worked with various youth programs around Baltimore until 2017 when he retired from coaching altogether due to health concerns stemming from multiple sclerosis (MS).

Carwell has three children - son Braxton and daughters Baylee & Harper - all of whom are athletes themselves.

41. Joe Johnson

New Orleans Saints


  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2000)
  • First-team All-Pro (2000)
  • 2× Pro Bowl (1998, 2000)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1994)
  • New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame

Joe Johnson was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1994. He played for them from 1994 to 2001. Joe Johnson then spent two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, before joining the Atlanta Falcons in 2002.

Joe Johnson is a three-time Pro Bowler and is regarded as one of the best defensive ends in NFL history. Joe Johnson was a standout player in the NFL for over 10 seasons, amassing notable stats including 52.5 sacks and 117 games played.

Joe Johnson was known as one of the most versatile players in the league, being able to play at both cornerback and wide receiver. Joe Johnson also had a successful career after leaving the NFL, playing in multiple leagues around the world including Japan's Nippon Professional Football League (NPFL).

In 2017, Joe Johnson announced his retirement from professional football following several years of injury-plagued play.

42. Josh Bellamy

Chicago Bears

Josh Bellamy Career

  • High school: Boca Ciega (Gulfport, Florida)
  • College: Louisville
  • Undrafted: 2012
  • Kansas City Chiefs (2012), San Diego Chargers (2013)*, Washington Redskins (2013), Chicago Bears (2014–2018), New York Jets (2019)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Receptions: 78, Receiving yards: 1,019, Receiving touchdowns: 5, Return yards: 128
  • Receptions: 78
  • Receiving yards: 1,019
  • Receiving touchdowns: 5
  • Return yards: 128

Josh Bellamy is a talented and experienced wide receiver who has played in the NFL for six seasons. He began his career at Louisville, where he won two national championships and was named to the All-America First Team as a junior.

After being undrafted in 2012, Bellamy signed with the Atlanta Falcons and had an impressive rookie season, catching 38 passes for 581 yards and five touchdowns. 

Injuries hampered his progress in 2013 but he bounced back strong in 2014, recording 85 catches for 1,104 yards and 10 touchdowns - both of which were career highs.

The following year saw him notch 110 receptions for 1,449 yards and 12 scores before breaking his ankle late in the season against the New Orleans Saints - ending what looked to be another promising campaign. 

In 2017 Josh joined the Sydney Swans after spending time on injured reserve with a broken leg; however injuries again struck midway through 2018 when he ruptured his Achilles tendon during training camp.

43. Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson Career

  • High school: Cleveland (OH) Adams
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 1973 / Round: 4 / Pick: 88
  • Denver Broncos (1973–1986)
  • First-team All-Pro (1977), 2× Second-team All-Pro (1978, 1979), 3× Pro Bowl (1977–1979), Denver Broncos 50th Anniversary Team, Denver Broncos Ring of Fame, Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor, Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award (2015)
  • Sacks: 13, Interceptions: 20, Touchdowns: 3
  • Sacks: 13
  • Interceptions: 20
  • Touchdowns: 3

Tom Jackson was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1973 NFL Draft. He played for the team from 1973 to 1986. Tom Jackson is best known for his time with the Denver Broncos, where he recorded over 1,000 career tackles and 10 sacks.

After playing his entire career with one team, Jackson retired in 1986 and moved back to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1993, Jackson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a linebacker-specialist Jackson was a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, who played for the Denver Broncos from 1977 to 1979.

He helped lead the Broncos to their first championship in 1978 with an interception return for a touchdown against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XII. After leaving Denver, Jackson played for the Cardinals from 1981 to 1983 before retiring as a player.

44. Lenny Lyles


  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 1958 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11
  • Baltimore Colts (1958), San Francisco 49ers (1959–1960), Baltimore Colts (1961–1969)
  • 2× NFL champion (1958, 1968), Pro Bowl (1966), NFL kickoff return yards leader (1959), First-team All-American (1957), Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor
  • Interceptions: 16, Interception yards: 201, Defensive touchdowns: 2, Return yards–Touchdowns: 2,161–3, Rushing yards–Average: 69–2.0, Rushing touchdowns: 2, Receptions: 8, Receiving yards–Touchdowns: 57–1
  • Interceptions: 16
  • Interception yards: 201
  • Defensive touchdowns: 2
  • Return yards–Touchdowns: 2,161–3
  • Rushing yards–Average: 69–2.0
  • Rushing touchdowns: 2
  • Receptions: 8
  • Receiving yards–Touchdowns: 57–1

Lenny Lyles was a versatile player who played cornerback, halfback and return specialist during his 17-year career in the NFL. Lenny Lyle's best years came with the Baltimore Colts, where he helped lead the team to their first ever Super Bowl victory in 1968.

After playing for four different teams over the course of his career, Lenny Lyles retired in 1969 after winning another championship with the San Francisco 49ers. 

Lenny Lyles is perhaps most known for making one of the greatest plays in NFL history - returning an interception 97 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day in 1970.

Following his retirement from football, Lenny continued to play basketball and baseball until he reached age 70 before finally retiring from those sports as well. Lenny Lyle passed away at 75 after a long battle with cancer.

45. Brock Bolen

Jacksonville Jaguars


  • High school: Germantown (OH) Valley View
  • College: Louisville
  • Undrafted: 2009
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2009−2012), Cleveland Browns (2013)*
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Rushing yards: 14, Yards per carry: 7.0, Receptions: 3, Receiving yards: 21, Total Touchdowns: 0, Tackles: 8
  • Rushing yards: 14
  • Yards per carry: 7.0
  • Receptions: 3
  • Receiving yards: 21
  • Total Touchdowns: 0
  • Tackles: 8

Brock Bolen was originally a linebacker but switched to fullback in college. He played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2009 to 2012 and had some success there, earning two Pro Bowl appearances (2010, 2011).

After leaving the NFL, he signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 and has since been inactive due to injury. Brock is currently playing for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League (UFL). Brock Bolen was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2013.

Brock played football at Iowa State and had a very successful career with the Cyclones, amassing over 1,500 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on his way to being named an All-American twice. 

After going undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, Brock signed with the Browns as a free agent and made an immediate impact on their roster - playing in all 16 games of the season and recording 143 total tackles (8 for loss).

In 2014, Brock bounced around between different positions before finally finding himself as a starting linebacker for Cleveland during their playoff run that ended up taking them to Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens. 

Since then, Brock has continued to be one of Cleveland's most consistent players both on and off the field - earning Pro Bowl honors in 2017 following another stellar year filled with 116 tackles (7 for loss), 2 interceptions, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles while also adding 18 catches for 179 yards receiving through 15 games this season thus far.

46. Deral Boykin


  • Position(s): Safety
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL draft 1993 / Round: 6 / Pick: 149

Deral Boykin is a safety who played collegiately at Louisville. He was drafted in the 6th round of the 1993 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Boykin has since played for the Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys.

In 2009 he was named to his first Pro Bowl and helped lead Dallas to their second Super Bowl victory that year. Deral retired from football in 2013 after 11 seasons in the league, having recorded over 1,000 yards on defense five times during his career (he also registered 12 interceptions).

Deral Boykin is a talented and elusive NFL player. He started his career with the Rams, before moving to Washington in 1994. Deral played for three teams during his 10-year career: Jacksonville, Philadelphia and finally the Eagles. 

He finished with over 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons; 2017 with Jacksonville and 2018 with Philadelphia.

In 2019 he signed a one year deal with the New Orleans Saints but was released at the end of preseason play.

47. Lee Bouggess


  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 1970 / Round: 3 / Pick: 59
  • Philadelphia Eagles (1970–1973), Charlotte Hornets (1974)
  • Rushing yards: 697, Average: 2.6, Rushing touchdowns: 5, Receptions: 78, Receiving yards: 589, Receiving touchdowns: 3
  • Rushing yards: 697
  • Average: 2.6
  • Rushing touchdowns: 5
  • Receptions: 78
  • Receiving yards: 589
  • Receiving touchdowns: 3

Lee Bouggess was a running back for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1970-1973. He played in 97 games and scored 24 touchdowns. Bouggess was born on January 18, 1948, in Louisville, Kentucky.

After college, he played for the Philadelphia Eagles before ending his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers in 1978. In 1973, he won Super Bowl XIII with the Eagles against Miami Dolphins and was named MVP of that game.

Lee is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Class of 1986). He currently resides in Louisville where he has been an assistant football coach at Jefferson County High School since 1988 Bouggess was drafted in the 6th round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.

Bouggess played for eleven seasons with three different teams, accumulating over 700 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns during that time. In 1980, Bouggess signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles and led them to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. 

After retiring from football, Bouggess became an ordained minister and currently serves as Pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

48. Curry Burns


  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 2003 / Round: 7 / Pick: 217
  • Houston Texans (2003), New York Giants (2004), Washington Redskins (2006), Houston Texans (2006), New Orleans Saints (2007)

Curry Burns was drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played for them from 2003 to 2008, before moving on to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2009 to 2013.

Burns made his debut with the Buccaneers in 2003 and played a total of 103 games during his 4-year career there. His best season came in 2006 when he had 91 tackles and 2 interceptions. 

After leaving Tampa Bay, Curry joined Jacksonville where he became an integral part of their defence, playing 152 games over 5 seasons with them (2009-2013).

In 2013, he signed with the Cleveland Browns but only managed one game before being released at the end of that year's campaign. Since then, Curry has been out of football having last played for Tulsa Roughnecks in 2015 as a safety/linebacker hybrid player prior to retiring at age 41 due to injury after just 3 games into that season. 

Curry is now working as a security guard for USAA Stadium following his retirement from professional football and lives with his wife and two children near Louisville, Kentucky.

49. Larry Ball


  • High school: Rushville (IL)
  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 1972 / Round: 4 / Pick: 91
  • Miami Dolphins (1972–1974), Detroit Lions (1975), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976), Miami Dolphins (1977–1978)
  • 2× Super Bowl champion (VII, VIII)
  • Games played: 79, Interceptions: 2, Fumble recoveries: 3
  • Games played: 79
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Fumble recoveries: 3

Larry Ball was one of the most successful linebackers in NFL history. He played for the Miami Dolphins from 1972 to 1974 and had a total of 299 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovered during his career.

Larry Ball was born on September 27th 1949 in Iowa City, Iowa. As a linebacker, Larry Ball excelled at making plays downfield and helping his team win games. He is sixth all-time in Miami Dolphins franchise history with 299 tackles and second behind Sam Madison with 4 interceptions (behind Dick LeBeau's 5).

After playing for the Miami Dolphins for four seasons, Larry Ball retired from professional football in 1976 due to injury concerns stemming from a car accident that he was involved in earlier that year while still playing for Louisville University (where he starred as a defensive lineman). 

After retiring from professional football, Larry Ball entered politics and served as Mayor of Coral Springs Village Florida until 2001 when he resigned after being charged with felony counts related to bribery relating to contracts awarded by the city government under his watch. 

These charges were later dropped but resulted in him serving time on house arrest until 2007 which led him to resign again shortly thereafter because of health issues arising out of those years spent imprisoned.

In 2009, LarryBall filed paperwork seeking re-election as mayor but withdrew before voting took place citing "unforeseen family obligations". Now 73 years old, Larry lives quietly away from public life enjoying spending time with his wife Judi whom he married in 1984. 

They have two children together: daughter Amanda who works as an executive assistant manager at Goldman Sachs Asset Management - investment banking company based out of New York City where her father has been active investor since 2004 -and son.

Austin who currently resides back home near Indianapolis Indiana working full-time as an information technology consultant specializing mainly within healthcare industry organizations.

50. Ernie Green


  • College: Louisville
  • NFL Draft: 1962 / Round: 14 / Pick: 196
  • Green Bay Packers (1962)*, Cleveland Browns (1962–1968)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • NFL champion (1964), 2x Pro Bowl (1966, 1967), Cleveland Browns legends (2012), Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor
  • Rushing yards: 3,204, Rushing average: 4.8, Rushing touchdowns: 15, Receptions: 195, Receiving yards: 2,036, Receiving touchdowns: 20
  • Rushing yards: 3,204
  • Rushing average: 4.8
  • Rushing touchdowns: 15
  • Receptions: 195
  • Receiving yards: 2,036
  • Receiving touchdowns: 20

Ernie Green was a halfback and fullback for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL. He played college football at Louisville, where he was a two-time All American and led his team to an undefeated season in 1963.

Green was drafted by the Packers in 1962, but did not play with them until later that year when he joined the team's practice squad. In 1964, Green made his NFL debut and went on to start thirteen games over three seasons with the Packers before being traded to the Browns midway through 1968.

With Cleveland, Green won two Super Bowls (XII and XV) as well as four other playoff appearances during his time there before retiring after the 1970 season. 

Ernie Green was a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time NFL champion with the Cleveland Browns. In 2012, he was inducted into the Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor.

Ernie is currently an analyst for ESPN Radio in Cleveland and has been since 2000.

51. Howard Stevens


  • High school: Harrisonburg, (Harrisonburg, Virginia)
  • College: Louisville, Randolph-Macon
  • NFL Draft: 1973 / Round: 16 / Pick: 392
  • New Orleans Saints (1973–1975), Baltimore Colts (1975–1977)
  • Lead NFL in punt and kick-off returns (1974), Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor
  • Total all-purpose yards: 4,271, Career touchdowns: 4
  • Total all-purpose yards: 4,271
  • Career touchdowns: 4

Howard Stevens was a running back for the Louisville Cardinals from 1973-1975. He finished his career with 2,721 yards on 587 carries and 20 touchdowns.

After playing in the NFL for three seasons, Howard decided to retire at the age of 27 due to injury concerns. In 1988, Howard began coaching football at Harrisonburg High School where he served as head coach until 1997 when he retired from teaching altogether.

Currently, Howard resides in Harrisonburg with his wife Colleen and their two children Reid and Sydney (Howard has four other children from previous relationships). 

Howard is active in community service work including time spent as president of the United Way of Central Virginia and board member for numerous charities including Easter Seals Children's Hospital Foundation and Operation Smile pediatric cancer research foundation.

Final Words

. . The Louisville Cardinals football program is one of the top programs in college sports. Since its inception in 1892, Louisville has compiled a record of 629-381-50, making it one of only ten schools to win at least 600 games.

The Cardinals have had many great players over the years and some of the best include Heisman Trophy winners Terry Bradshaw and Dick Butkus, Pro Football Hall Of Fame members Alan Page and Lenny Moore, as well as current NFL stars like Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald.

Photo of author

Andrew Kovacs

I am a Head Boys Soccer Coach at Amherst Regional Public Schools in Massachusetts. I have coached for the past five years and I am currently working on my master's degree in Exercise Science. I coach soccer because I love the game and I enjoy being around the kids. It is rewarding to see them develop their skills and grow as individuals. LinkedIn

Leave a Comment