The All-Time Duke NFL Team

Sonny Jurgensen, Mike Curtis and more

When you played quarterback at Duke, you learned how to hold a clipboard.

The Blue Devils have sent 12 quarterbacks to the NFL but only three became primary starters. Cliff Lewis was a backup to Otto Graham with the Cleveland Browns in the 1940s and Al Woodhall the backup to Joe Namath with the New York Jets in the 1960s. Those nine backups played a combined 22 seasons but started only 60 games, winning just 10 of them. They passed for a combined 6,302 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Of the three who became primary starters, two became first-round draft picks of the New York Giants and the third now has a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The one wearing the gold jacket is Sonny Jurgensen, so pencil him as the quarterback on the all-time Duke NFL team.

Jurgensen played 18 seasons, the first seven with the Philadelphia Eagles and the last 11 with the Washington Redskins. Jurgensen himself started off as a backup to Norm Van Brocklin, who quarterbacked the Eagles to the 1960 NFL championship. He took over as the starter in 1961 and was voted to the first of his five Pro Bowls. The other four came with Washington.

Jurgensen won 69 off his 147 career starts, passing for 32,225 yards and 255 touchdowns. There 36 quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Jurgensen is the only one who never won a playoff game.

The Giants drafted Dave Brown with a first-round pick in the 1992 NFL supplemental draft, which turned out to be the ninth overall choice of the 1993 draft. The Giants claimed Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick of the 2019 draft. Jones has been a starter for the Giants all four of his seasons, winning 19 of his 47 career starts and passing for 10,335 yards and 54 touchdowns.

Brown started 53 games for the Giants over his first six seasons, then started seven more games over his final four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He won 26 of his starts, passing for 10,248 yards and 44 touchdowns.

Here is the all-time Duke NFL team:

QB—Sonny Jurgensen, Hall of Fame

HB—George McAfee, Hall of Fame

FB—Ace Parker, Hall of Fame

*-WR—Jamison Crowder, 8 seasons, 415 receptions, 28 TDs

WR—Cedric Jones, 9 seasons, 191 receptions, 16 TDs

TE—Ben Patrick, 4 seasons, 45 receptions, 4 touchdowns

T—Brian Baldinger, 11 seasons, 47 starts

T—Joel Patton, 6 seasons, 56 starts

G—Ed Newman, 4 Pro Bowls, 12 seasons, 113 starts

*-G—Laken Tomlinson, Pro Bowl, 8 seasons, 116 starts

C—Bill Bryan, 12 seasons, 151 starts

DE—Bernard Holsey, 7 seasons, 33 starts, 9 sacks

DE—Ed Meadows, 6 seasons, 39 starts (1950s)

DT—Chuck Walker, Pro Bowl, 12 seasons, 53 ½ sacks

DT—Al DeRogatis, 4 seasons, 36 starts, 4 fumble recoveries

OLB—Bob Matheson, 12 seasons, 12 interceptions, 2 Super Bowl rings

MLB—Mike Curtis, 4 Pro Bowls, 14 seasons, 25 interceptions

OLB—Vincent Rey, 9 seasons, 496 tackles, 7 takeaways

CB—Ernie Jackson, 8 seasons, 15 interceptions

CB—Ross Cockrell, 7 seasons, 49 starts, 7 interceptions

S—Howard Hartley, 5 seasons, 28 interceptions

S—Cliff Lewis, 6 seasons, 30 interceptions, 5 championship rings

K—Ace Parker, 25 career extra points, one field goal

P—Bob Grupp, Pro Bowl, NFL punting leader in 1979 (43.6 yard average)

KR—George McAfee, 2 PR, 2 KR for touchdowns

ST—Patrick Bailey, 6 seasons, 71 career ST tackle

LS-Patrick Mannelly, 16 seasons, 245 games

*-Still active

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