First-round NFL Draft picks are supposed to hang around a while. After all, they’re first-round picks. Sure things. Can’t miss.
Except when they do.
As the NFL Draft conducts its first round on Thursday night in Chicago, let’s look back at Wichita’s three entries into the first round of the draft. They all have had staying power and all have made an impact.
Mike Bell, DE, Class of 1979
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Wichita’s highest draft pick, taken second overall in 1979 by the Chiefs. (Ohio State LB Tom Couisneau was No. 1 by Buffalo.)
High school: Top 11 defensive lineman at Bishop Carroll.
College: Consensus All-American at Colorado State as a senior in 1978.
NFL: Spent 12 seasons in Kansas City, recording 40 sacks (though the statistic wasn’t kept in his first three years). He had 13 1/2 sacks in 1984. He’s in the Chiefs’ Ring of Honor.
Barry Sanders, RB, Class of 1989
Sanders was taken third overall in 1989 by the Lions. (UCLA QB Troy Aikman went first to Dallas, Michigan State T Tony Mandarich went second to Green Bay.) The next picks after Sanders? Derrick Thomas (KC) and Deion Sanders (Atlanta).
High school: Wasn’t used much at North until the fourth game of his senior season, when he became the starting tailback. Finished Top 11 anyway.
College: Heisman Trophy winner and single-season NCAA rushing record holder at Oklahoma State in 1988.
NFL: More than 15,269 career rushing yards, leading the league four times (including 2,053 in 1997). Retired unexpectedly at the age of 31 after 10 seasons that put him in the discussion for the league’s greatest running back.
Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Class of 2006
Wimbley was the 13th pick in a talented defensive first round that included Mario Williams, A.J. Hawk, Antonio Cromartie and Tamba Hali.
High school: He punted, played defense and was even Northwest’s quarterback. He made the All-City League team as a punter and defensive back, and he made All-American teams because of his college potential.
College: A Florida State backup until his senior season, he suffered a knee injury in the middle of the season before returning for the Orange Bowl.
NFL: He’ll begin his 10th season this fall, the last four with the Tennessee Titans. He played four seasons in Cleveland and two in Oakland and has been a starter throughout his career.