When ESPN recently did their NFL ultimate All-Conference teams for current players, they ranked the Pac-12 as the fourth-best conference overall.

After looking at the best players at each Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC school in the NFL since 1980, let’s now move on to the Pac-12. For this exercise, what they did in college means nothing, it’s only what they did at the professional level. The five best players from each college over that timeframe are ranked, and the 12 schools in the conference are placed from worst to first based on those five players.

12. Washington State

  • 1. Drew Bledsoe (QB)
  • 2. James Hasty (CB)
  • 3. Keith Millard (DT)
  • 4. Mark Rypien (QB)
  • 5. Robbie Tobeck (C/G)

It’s unfortunate that injuries limited Millard to just 22 games after 1989, a year where he sacked the quarterback 18 times and was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Honorable mentions: Ricky Reynolds (CB), Mark Fields (LB), Marcus Trufant (CB), Jason Hanson (K)

11. Colorado

  • 1. Chad Brown (LB)
  • 2. Mark Haynes (CB)
  • 3. David Bakhtiari (OT)
  • 4. Andre Gurode (C/G)
  • 5. Stan Brock (OT)

Brown had a productive 15 seasons in the NFL as he recorded over 100 tackles five times and finished with 79 sacks.

Honorable mentions: Nate Solder (OT), Greg Biekert (LB), Kordell Stewart (QB), Alfred Williams (DE), Phillip Lindsay (RB)

10. Oregon State

  • 1. Chad Johnson (WR)
  • 2. Steven Jackson (RB)
  • 3. Brandin Cooks (WR)
  • 4. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (WR)
  • 5. Johnny Hekker (P)

Choosing a punter could be considered controversial, but Hekker has earned First Team All-Pro honors four times in his eight seasons.

Honorable mentions: Nick Barnett (LB), Andy Levitre (G), Jordan Poyer (S)

9. Utah

  • 1. Steve Smith (WR)
  • 2. Eric Weddle (S)
  • 3. Alex Smith (QB)
  • 4. Jordan Gross (OT)
  • 5. Jamal Anderson (RB)

Smith has been a better quarterback than many people realize as he owns a 94-66-1 record as a starter and has close to a two-to-one touchdown to interception ratio.

Honorable mentions: Barry Sims (OT), Luther Elliss (DT), Zane Beadles (G), Star Lotuleli (DT)

8. Oregon

  • 1. Gary Zimmerman (OT)
  • 2. Haloti Ngata (DT)
  • 3. Max Unger (C)
  • 4. Kyle Long (OT)
  • 5. DeForest Buckner (DT)

Zimmerman was one of the standouts left tackles throughout his 12 NFL seasons with the Vikings and Broncos which culminated in his induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Honorable mentions: Jonathan Stewart (RB), Jairus Byrd (S), T.J. Ward (S)

7. Arizona

  • 1. Rob Gronkowski (TE)
  • 2. Lance Briggs (LB)
  • 3. Chris McAlister (CB)
  • 4. Tedy Bruschi (LB)
  • 5. Darryll Lewis (CB)

McAlister was a valuable part of a Ravens defense that was scary to play against for quite some time in the early 2000s, and he was named to the Pro Football Reference All-2000s Second Team.

Honorable mentions: Glenn Parker (G/OT), John Fina (OT), Antonio Pierce (LB), Nick Foles (QB)

6. Washington

  • 1. Warren Moon (QB)
  • 2. Lawyer Milloy (S)
  • 3. Corey Dillon (RB)
  • 4. Olin Kreutz (C)
  • 5. Marcus Peters (CB)

Despite not coming into the NFL until seven years after his college career was over, Moon fell just shy of throwing for 50,000 yards and 300 touchdowns.

Honorable mentions: Mark Brunell (QB), Kevin Gogan (G), Lincoln Kennedy (OT), Dashon Goldson (S), Budda Baker (S)

5. Arizona State

  • 1. Randall McDaniel (G)
  • 2. Terrell Suggs (LB)
  • 3. Eric Allen (CB)
  • 4. Darren Woodson (S)
  • 5. David Fulcher (S)

McDaniel was named to 12 Pro Bowls in his career which is tied with Will Shields and Jim Otto for the second-most by an offensive lineman only behind the 14 for Bruce Matthews.

Honorable mentions: David Dixon (G), Dan Saleaumua (DT), Trace Armstrong (DE), Jim Jeffcoat (DE), Gerald Riggs (RB), Todd Heap (TE)


  • 1. Troy Aikman (QB)
  • 2. Jonathan Ogden (OT)
  • 3. Kenny Easley (S)
  • 4. Carnell Lake (S)
  • 5. Ken Norton Jr. (LB)

At first, Anthony Barr was inserted into the fifth slot, but three-time Pro Bowler Norton Jr.

ultimately received the edge in large part due to his three Super Bowl wins (two with the Cowboys, one with the 49ers).

Honorable mentions: Donnie Edwards (LB), Anthony Barr (LB), Freeman McNeil (RB), Maurice Jones-Drew (RB), Mark Tuinei (OT), Eric Turner (S), Eric Kendricks (LB)

3. California

  • 1. Aaron Rodgers (QB)
  • 2. Tony Gonzalez (TE)
  • 3. Hardy Nickerson (LB)
  • 4. Marshawn Lynch (RB)
  • 5. Cameron Jordan (DE)

The holder of the majority of tight end records, Gonzalez is third all-time among all players with 1,325 receptions, sixth with 15,127 receiving yards, and eighth with 111 receiving touchdowns.

Honorable mentions: Tarik Glenn (OT), Todd Steussie (OT), Mitchell Schwartz (OT), Keenan Allen (WR), DeSean Jackson (WR), Alex Mack (C), Ken Harvey (LB), Nnamdi Asomugha (CB), Andre Carter (DE), Jared Goff (QB)

2. Stanford

  • 1. John Elway (QB)
  • 2. Richard Sherman (CB)
  • 3. John Lynch (S)
  • 4. Andrew Luck (QB)
  • 5. Christian McCaffrey (RB)

What a 2019 season it was for McCaffrey as he became the third player ever to go over 1,000 yards in both rushing (1,387) and receiving (1,005) in a single year.

Honorable mentions: Bob Whitfield (OT), Ed McCaffrey (WR), David DeCastro (G), Doug Baldwin (WR), Zach Ertz (TE), Andrus Peat (G), Austin Hooper (TE)

1. USC

  • 1. Anthony Munoz (OT)
  • 2. Ronnie Lott (S/CB)
  • 3. Bruce Matthews (G/C)
  • 4. Junior Seau (LB)
  • 5. Tyron Smith (OT)

Apologies to Hall of Famers Troy Polamalu and Marcus Allen for not including them, but these first four have also been enshrined (and Smith all likely will once he’s eligible), and the five have combined for 54 Pro Bowl nods.

Honorable mentions: Troy Polamalu (S), Carson Palmer (QB), Dennis Smith (S), Marcus Allen (RB), Joey Browner (S), Clay Matthews (LB), Mark Carrier (S), Tim McDonald (S), Keyshawn Johnson (WR), Jurrell Casey (DT), Tony Boselli (OT), Everson Griffen (DE)