Kansas football: Top five former Kansas Jayhawks in the NFL

Kansas football (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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No. 1: Khalil Herbert: (2016-2019) RB, Chicago Bears

Coming in on top and at No. 1 on the list is Khalil Herbert, running back for the Chicago Bears. Keep in mind that this list does not account for what these players did as a Kansas Jayhawk, as Herbert transferred to Virginia Tech for his senior season.

The Fort Lauderdale, Florida native spent a little more than three seasons at KU. After playing the initial four games of his senior season, he controversially redshirted to gain a fifth year of eligibility. He entered the transfer portal and decided to attend Virginia Tech for his final year. Herbert’s decision paid off, as he ran for 1,183 yards on a ridiculous 7.6 yards per attempt and 8 rushing touchdowns. He was selected 217th overall by the Bears in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Herbert’s numbers in his first two seasons in the NFL do not make you jump out of your seat, but he is the understudy behind starter David Montgomery. The potential of what Herbert could become is what gave him the No. 1 spot over Armstrong.

The Bears’ offensive line going in 2022 was ranked dead last in the NFL. They improved significantly as the season went on, but they are not the sole reason why Herbert performed as well as he did.

Herbert averaged 5.7 yards per carry in 2022, which was by far the best of all qualified running backs. For reference, his running back counterpart David Montgomery only averaged 4.0 yards per carry on the year. Despite racking up 72 fewer carries than Montgomery, Herbert only trailed his rushing yards total by 70.

For a running back to average nearly 2 more yards per carry than the starter is impressive on its own. It should not be long until Herbert leads the Chicago backfield, as Montgomery is a free agent this upcoming offseason. If the Bears front office can recognize the talent that Herbert possesses, he will go into the season as their top running back and he could be in store for a monster year. Herbert should be in the conversation of the best running backs in the NFL if he keeps this up.

  • 129 carries
  • 731 rushing yards
  • 4 rushing touchdowns
  • 9 receptions
  • 57 receiving yards
  • 1 receiving touchdown

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