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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Flashback: The 1986 NFL Draft

The Brigham Young Cougars have a long history of sending its best players to the NFL. Naturally, some years are better than others. However, almost every year for over 30 years BYU has had at least one player drafted. In the NFL draft 25 years ago (1986), more Brigham Young Cougars were drafted (7) than any draft before and after.

Robbie Bosco, quarterback of the 1984 national championship team, was the first Cougar off the board in the third round to the Green Bay Packers. Leon White was next in the fifth round. One Cougar was drafted in each round from 8 through 12. The round numbers are not anything to get excited about, but these players had several exciting moments in their careers.

This was an eclectic group. It included a two-time Super Bowl champion, a two-time Pro Bowler, a fan favorite, as well as those who had careers cut short by injury, and those who didn’t make the team. In the end, this draft class delivered and made their alma mater proud. The majority had good, successful careers.

Here’s the rundown of each player, when they were drafted, the team that drafted them, and their BYU stats and NFL stats. (Note: The NFL does not have tackles data available prior to 2001.)

Robbie Bosco, 3rd Round, Green Bay Packers
BYU: 638-997, 8,400 yards, 66 TD, 36 Int. (4 rushing TD)
NFL: no stats accumulated due to injury

Leon White, 5th Round, Cincinnati Bengals
BYU: 249 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, 4 interceptions.
NFL: 6 sacks; 1 safety; 4 interceptions, 92 return yards; 3 fumble recoveries, 22 return yards, 1 touchdown.

White played in 119 games over 8 seasons (6 with the Cincinnati Bengals, 1986-91; and 2 with the Los Angeles Rams, 1992-93). He started in Super Bowl XXIII with the Bengals vs. the San Francisco 49ers.

Kurt Gouveia, 8th Round, Washington Redskins
BYU: 224 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 2 interceptions.
NFL: 5 sacks; 12 interceptions, 193 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 fumble recoveries, 39 yards, 1 touchdown.

Gouveia played in 183 games over 13 seasons (8 years with the Washington Redskins, 1987-1994; one year with the Philadelphia Eagles, 1995; 3 years with the San Diego Chargers, 1996-98; and one with the Washington Redskins, 1999). He played on two Super Bowl champion teams (Super Bowl XXII and XXVI). In Super Bowl XXVI, Gouveia intercepted a Jim Kelly pass and returned it 23 yards to the Buffalo Bills’ 2-yard line on the first play of the second half to set up a touchdown that pushed the Redskins’ lead to 24-0.

Cary Whittingham, 9th Round, Cincinnati Bengals
BYU: 340 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 4 sacks.
NFL: Played in 3 games in 1 year (1987) for the LA Rams.

Vai Sikahema, 10th Round, St. Louis Cardinals
BYU: 112 carries, 745 yards, 11 TD; 53 receptions, 658 yards, 2 TD;
42 kickoff returns, 973 yards; 153 punt returns, 1312 yards, 3 TD.
NFL: 59 rush, 217 yards; 53 receptions 537 yards 1 TD;
292 punt returns, 3,169 yards, 4 TD; 235 kickoff returns 4,933 yards.

Sikahema played in 118 games played over 8 seasons (St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals, 1986-90; Green Bay Packers, 1991; Philadelphia Eagles, 1992-93). He was the first Tongan player in the NFL. Sikahema was a two-time Pro Bowler (1986, 1987). He was first team All-Pro in 1987.

Glen Kozlowski, 11th Round, Chicago Bears
BYU: 136 receptions, 2,223 yards, 23 touchdowns.
NFL: 31 receptions, 471 yards 3 TD; 6 kickoff returns, 121 yards; 30+ tackles on special teams.

Kozlowski played in 66 games over 6 seasons. He was a fan favorite for his emotions on special teams.

Jeff Sprowls, 12th Round, San Diego Chargers
BYU: 111 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions.
NFL: no stats accumulated.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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