Kentucky Football: 3 former Wildcats make the list of Sports Illustrated’s top 400 NFL Players

Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images
Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images /

Sports Illustrated released their ranking of the top 400 players in the NFL. Three former Kentucky Football stars made the list.

Kentucky Football hasn’t been the NFL Pipeline as of late. But, the talent being sent to the league has grown tremendously in just a few short seasons. There are three former Wildcats who made the prestigious list of Sports Illustrated’s top 400 players in the NFL.

In the past few seasons, Kentucky has been noted for producing some significant NFL contributors at the linebacker position. It makes sense that two out of the three Kentucky Football players on this list are linebackers.

Avery Williamson (No. 336)

Avery Williamson was a standout linebacker for Kentucky from 2010 to 2013. The Tennessee native was a stud on the defensive side of the football. In his tenure, he was probably the only bright spot on Kentucky’s defense. Williamson’s teams won just 15 games in his collegiate career. But, that didn’t stop the Tennessee Titans from drafting him in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

While with the Titans, Williamson has become a true run stopper. Playing on the interior of that defense alongside another former Wildcat, Wesley Woodyard, Williamson has established himself as a top tier linebacker in the league. The Titans love his ability to make plays. Williamson is entering his fourth season. After coming off of a career high 103 total tackles 2016, the former Wildcat would like to improve that number in 2017.

Bud Dupree (No. 242)

Let’s be honest, Bud Dupree was drafted into a perfect situation in Pittsburgh. Whether or not you’re a Steelers fan or not, you know the linebackers in the Steel City are always at another level. Also, Dupree is being coached by Joey Porter who starred at linebacker in the 2000’s. In addition to Porter, Bud is playing with a future Hall of Famer in James Harrison. In that, Dupree is learning how to truly train like a professional and learn how to take care of his body from one of the greats. If you don’t follow James Harrison on Instagram, you’re missing out.

Dupree starred at Kentucky from 2011-2015. The Wildcat defensive end was considered the best player on Kentucky’s team in that span. His Junior and Senior seasons stand out to Kentucky Football fans. With many SEC awards and accolades, Dupree worked his way to become a first round pick in 2015. He was taken with the 22nd overall pick by the Steelers. Although he is still finding his footing in the NFL, Dupree is also turning some heads. Also, with the move to an outside linebacker position, Dupree has a condensed focus on rushing the passer. He is a significant player and could possibly become one of the best players in the NFL from the University of Kentucky.

Randall Cobb (No. 209)

For those who didn’t know, Randall Cobb is really good. As one of Aaron Rodgers’ go to targets, Cobb has flourished in his NFL Career. Cobb is arguably Kentucky’s best player in the last 20 years. He wasn’t a top rated recruit out of high school but he thrived on the Rich Brooks-led Wildcats in the prime of the 2000’s. At Kentucky, Cobb literally did it all. He rushed for touchdowns, he caught touchdowns, and he also threw for scores as well.

Next: Ranking the 10 best Kentucky Football players in the NFL

After being drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Cobb has made his money catching passes from one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Cobb is undersized for a significant number one receiver, but he makes do with his speed and footwork on the edge. Entering the 2017 season, a healthy Randall Cobb could take his career to the next level alongside Jordy Nelson. He’s also sitting on 35 career touchdown receptions but that number should rise and approach 50 within the next year.