NFL Draft: Huskers History in Rounds Four Through Seven
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

NFL Draft: Huskers History in Rounds Four Through Seven

April 25, 2020

Two days and three rounds of the NFL Draft have passed without a Husker hearing his name called, but Saturday brings more promise for Lamar Jackson, Khalil Davis and others with four more rounds.

There have been plenty of Huskers drafted after round three who went on to have extended, productive careers. 

MORE: Round One | Rounds Two and Three

Let’s start with the fourth round. Nebraska has had 36 players drafted in round four: on in the 1940s, three in the 1950s, two in the 1960s, seven in the 1970s, four in the 1980s, eight in the 1990s, six in the 2000s and five this past decade.

The most recent fourth-round pick to come out of Nebraska is offensive lineman Alex Lewis. The tackle turned guard in the NFL went to Baltimore with the 130th overall pick in the 2016 draft. He’s dealt with some injury issues but has started 30 of his 35 career games and is currently with the New York Jets. He’s the only active fourth-round pick from Nebraska.

The history isn’t great in this round. Linebacker Demorrio Williams (101st overall pick in 2004) is one of the more productive players after a career that saw him start 68 of his 138 games for the Atlanta Hawks, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers. He racked up 618 career tackles, 7.5 sacks, seven interceptions, six forced fumbles and four defensive touchdowns.

Kicker Alex Henery got off to a great start in his career with Philadelphia after the Eagles drafted him 120th overall in 2011. After a record-setting career at Nebraska, Henery set a rookie record for accuracy after connecting on 24 of his 27 field goal attempts (88.9%). He followed that up by going 27-for-31 (87.1%) in year two. Things started to slip in year three (23-of-28, 82.1%) and Henery was never able to recover as he lost his job and then his roster spot. He gave it one more unsuccessful attempt with the Lions before retiring.

The fifth round includes 29 former Huskers heading into Saturday — one in the 1930s, two in the 1940s, one in the 1950s, four in the 1960s, five in the 1970s, two in the 1980s and five apiece in the 1990s and 2010s.

Nathan Gerry is the most recent fifth-round pick out of Lincoln. He was taken with the 184th pick in 2017 by the Philadelphia Eagles and converted from safety to linebacker. Gerry has carved out a nice role for himself in Philadelphia and is the only active former fifth-round pick from Nebraska.

Two players earned All-Pro honors. The first is Tyrone Hughes, a cornerback who made his biggest impact as a kick returner. The New Orleans Saints drafted Hughes with the 137th pick in the 1993 draft and he went on to earn Second-Team All-Pro and Pro-Bowl honors as a rookie kick returner. That season, he had a game with 347 return yards including 304 on kick returns (both single-game NFL records) and two return touchdowns (tying an NFL record). He racked up 8,140 career return yards and five scores.

Offensive guard Carl Nicks also had a terrific career that was cut short by injuries. Drafted 164th overall by New Orleans in 2008, Nicks started 70 of his 73 career games and was a two-time All-Pro and Pro-Bowler.

The sixth round has produced 33 draft picks for Nebraska — one in the 1930s, one in the 1940s, nine in the 1970s, three in the 1980s, six in the 1990s, eight in the 2000s and five in the 2010s.

The most recent sixth-round Husker is quarterback Tanner Lee, taken 203rd overall in 2018 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lee didn’t stick long in the league, but four other sixth-round Huskers are still in the league: fullback Andy Janovich, wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, running back Rex Burkhead and punter Sam Koch.

Koch was taken 203rd overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2006 draft and has started for his entire 14-year career. He was a second-team All-Pro selection and a Pro-Bowler in 2015 and sports a 45.4 yards-per-punt average for his career.

Fullback Cory Schlesinger was the 192nd pick in the 1995 draft and had a productive career with the Detroit Lions, making three Pro Bowls and amassing 1,918 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns.

Finally, we have the seventh round where 38 former Huskers have heard their names called (one apiece in the 1940s and 1950s, two in the 1960s, six each in the 1970s and 1980s, 11 in the 1990s, seven in the 2000s and four in the 2010s).

The most recent seventh-round pick is safety Daimion Stafford, the 248th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2013. There are currently no seventh-round picks from Nebraska in the NFL.

Once again, a specialist is among the standouts from this range of the draft as Kris Brown put together an extended career as a starting kicker in the league. He was the 228th pick in the 1999 draft by Pittsburgh. Brown converted 77.3% of his field goals and produced five seasons of better than 80% accuracy including 2007 when he earned All-Pro honors.

Scott Shanle isn’t an All-Pro or even a Pro-Bowler, but he still went from walking on at Nebraska to producing in the NFL. He was taken with the 251st pick in the 2003 draft by St. Louis but played his best football in New orleans. He started 105 of his 133 career games in 11 seasons and recorded 564 tackles, 21 passes defensed, 9.0 sacks and three interceptions.

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