Oregon Ducks Football: The 9 Best Ducks in the NFL
Although a number of great football players have come through the gates of the University of Oregon over the course of the last century, only a select few have succeeded in few NFL. Dan Fouts, Norm Van Brocklin, Dave Wilcox, and Gary Zimmerman are among those that were able to thrive after they left Eugene.
Furthermore, as the program gained momentum during the years that Mike Bellotti was at the helm, the school saw an increase in the number of athletes that made their way to the pros.
While Joey Harrington and Akili Smith are among the notable Oregon players that have been busts in the NFL, the last decade has also seen a handful of ex-Ducks prevail as Pro-Bowl and All-Pro selections.
In this slideshow I will rank the nine best former Ducks that are currently on NFL rosters. To qualify for this list, these athletes must have played at least two full seasons in the NFL. These rankings will be based on their performance in the pros, not at Oregon.
9. Adam Snyder, OL (2001-2004)
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A 6"6, 325 lbs offensive lineman out of Fullerton, California, Adam Snyder came to the Ducks at the turn of the millennium. Snyder played an important role for four consecutive seasons shifting around the offensive line. In 2004, he won the Morris Trophy, awarded to the best lineman in the Pac-10.
He was chosen by the 49ers in the third round of the 2005 draft, where he has spent his entire career.
Although Snyder has seen a drop in action since he started all 16 games for San Francisco in 2009, the seven year veteran has still appeared in each of his team's first five games this season.
8. Dante Rosario, TE (2003-2006)
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After playing a number of positions and receiving a Pac-10 honorable mention during his time with the Ducks, Dante Rosario was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2007 to play tight end.
Rosario thrived in John Fox's system, catching as many as 32 passes as the Panthers primary tight end for four seasons.
While he was dropped by Carolina over the offseason and then picked up and subsequently cut by a few other squads, Rosario has reunited with Coach Fox in Denver.
He earned his first reception of the 2011 season this past week and is now just 96 yards away from 1,000 for his career.
7. Patrick Chung, S (2005-2008)
Born in Jamaica and raised in Southern California, Patrick Chung enrolled at the University of Oregon in 2004. Beginning in 2005, Chung started in 51 straight games, more than any other defensive player in program history.
After earning first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2007 and 2008, Chung was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the draft.
In his short time in the NFL, Chung has emerged as the starting safety and a key special teams player for New England.
In 2010 he recorded 96 tackles and three interceptions to help his team complete a fantastic 14-2 regular season.
The best game of Chung's young career came in Miami on Monday Night Football last October, when he blocked a punt and a field goal, and also returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown.
6. Jairus Byrd, S (2006-2008)
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A quarterback, wide receiver and safety in high school, Jairus Byrd stuck with defense when he began playing at the University of Oregon in 2006. It was that year that he was honored as the co-Pac-10 freshman player of the year as a cornerback.
Byrd ditched his senior season with the Ducks for the NFL after recording 17 interceptions in 39 career college games.
He was drafted by the Bills in the second round in 2009 and immediately became an impact player.
Byrd finished off his rookie season tied for the league lead in interceptions, with nine. Not only was he a member of the NFL All-Rookie team, but he was also selected to the Pro-Bowl and the All-Pro team that same year.
5. A.J. Feeley, QB (1999-2000)
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During his days with the Ducks A.J. Feeley was a nominee for the Davey O'Brien as a junior, before he suffered an injury to his elbow. After losing the starting quarterback job to Joey Harrington, Feeley spent his senior year as a backup.
Feeley was selected by the Eagles in the fifth round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He took over as the team's starter at the end of the 2002 season after injuries to Donovan McNabb and Koy Detmer. He led went on to lead the Eagles to four wins in five games, which helped them secure a spot in the playoffs.
After leaving Philadelphia in 2003, Feely earned a number of periodical starts as he bounced around to the Dolphins, Chargers, back to the Eagles, and the Panthers.
Feeley is currently roaming the Rams' bench, where he is looking for a chance to add to his 4,091 career passing yards.
T-4. Maurice Morris, RB (2000-2001)
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A junior college transfer from South Carolina, Maurice Morris was a key member of the 2001 Oregon squad that went on to win the Fiesta Bowl.
He was drafted in the second round of 2002 NFL Draft by the Seahawks. Morris spent the first seven years of his career in Seattle, where he served as the team's starting running back in 2007. He ran for 628 yards and scored five total touchdowns that season.
Morris signed a three-year contract worth $7 million with the Lions in 2009. He currently sits behind fellow Pac-12 product Jahvid Best on the depth chart.
T-4. Jonathan Stewart, RB (2005-2007)
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Jonathan Stewart came to Eugene in 2005 after an unbelievable high school career in Lacey, Washington. He played with the Ducks for three seasons and earned some sort of All-Pac-10 honor each of those years.
After running for 253 in the 2007 Sun Bowl, Stewart decided to forgo his senior season and head to the NFL. That choice paid off, as Stewart was selected by the Panthers with the thirteenth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Although he has had to split most of his time in the Carolina backfield with DeAngelo Williams, "the Daily Show" has managed to accumulate 2,901 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns over the last four seasons.
His amount of carries has slowed down since John Fox was removed as the team's coach this offseason, but at age 24, Stewart still has a whole lot of time to get back on track.
2. Igor Olshansky, DE (2001-2003)
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Originally born in Ukraine, Igor Olshansky was a menacing defender throughout his days at the University of Oregon. Over the course of three years with the Ducks, he totalled 146 tackles and 11.5 sacks.
Olshansky signed with the Cowboys in 2009, where he played until he was cut this past September.
He signed with the Dolphins following the second week of this current regular season. Olshansky brings 261 career tackles, as well as 12.5 sacks to Miami's defense.
1. Haloti Ngata, NT (2002-2005)
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Haloti Ngata's college career got off to a rough start, when he heart his knee during his freshman year in 2003 and was sidelined until the 2004 season. However, Ngata made the most of his last two years in Eugene, as he was selected as a a consensus All-American in 2005.
Ngata left Oregon with one of the best careers for a defender in program history. He was picked by the Ravens with the twelfth pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and has remained with the team since.
Ngata has emerged into the best nose tackle in the entire NFL during his career. In the midst of his sixth season in the pros, he has been selected to two AFC Pro Bowl rosters and three All-Pro teams.
Overall he has 260 tackles, 13 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions for his career. Expect these statistics to continue escalating in Baltimore's amazing defense.