EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the tenth article in a series examining the history of all 11 Texans selections. HoustonTexans.com is looking back through the NFL's past at some of the more notable players picked in the spots where the Texans are drafting in 2022. Today, we're checking out the 13th overall pick, which is in the first round. The 11th and final article in the series will appear on Monday. We've also profiled the following:
37th overall pick (2nd Round)
68th overall pick (3rd Round)
80th overall pick (3rd Round-New Orleans)
107th overall pick (4th Round-Cleveland through Detroit)
108th overall pick (4th Round)
183rd overall pick (6th Round)
205th overall pick (6th Round-Green Bay)
207th overall pick (6th Round-San Francisco through New York Jets)
245th overall pick (7th Round-Dallas)
The 13th overall pick has yielded five Pro Football Hall of Famers, the NFL's current most dominant defensive player, and a slew of Pro Bowlers over the years.
Houston's second pick in this year's NFL Draft is 13th overall, and it came to town in the March trade with the Cleveland Browns. In all, the Texans have 11 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Since 1936, 94 players have been drafted 13th overall. Just seven failed to ever suit up in an NFL regular season game, and every player picked in the 13th slot since 1956 has played in at lease one game. 60 wound up starting at least 32 contests, while 23 started 100 games or more. A trio of 13th overall picks started at least 200 NFL regular season games.
Nobody picked 13th overall played in (270) or started (254) as many games as tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Cal Bear was chosen by the Chiefs in 1997, and he was selected to 14 Pro Bowls in his 17-year NFL career. A 6-time All-Pro, Gonzalez finished with over 15,000 career receiving yards and 111 touchdown catches. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
Bob Lilly was chosen 13th in the 1961 NFL Draft by the Cowboys, and the defensive tackle from TCU was a terror in the middle of the Dallas defensive line for over a decade. Seven times Lilly was an All-Pro, and he was selected to 11 Pro Bowls. He helped the Cowboys win their first Super Bowl in 1971, and he sailed into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, five years after his 14-year career finished.
The Steelers selected running back Franco Harris 13th overall out of Penn State in 1972, and he wasted little time in making an impact. From his rookie season through the next eight years, Harris was a Pro Bowler. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in seven of those nine campaigns, and won four Super Bowl rings. Harris rumbled for over 12,000 yards and 91 touchdowns, and went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
Tight end Kellen Winslow was the Chargers 13th overall pick in 1979, and he was selected to the Pro Bowl five times in his nine-year NFL career. Thrice an All-Pro, Winslow led the NFL in receptions in 1980 and 1981, and had three separate seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards. He was a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in 1995.
In the second round of the 1937 NFL Draft, the Brooklyn Dodgers—yes, there was an NFL team called the Brooklyn Dodgers—plucked Ace Parker 13th overall from Duke University. Parker did it all, as he played quarterback, tailback, punter, kicker, return man, and defensive back. He threw for, ran for, and caught touchdowns in his career. He also returned an interception and punt for a score in his career. Because of World War II, Parker missed four seasons. But he was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972.
He's not in the Hall of Fame, yet, but Aaron Donald will be someday. The defensive lineman was the Saint Louis Rams' first-rounder in 2014, and the 13th overall pick out of Pitt has been a terror for opposing quarterbacks and offensive linemen. A Pro Bowl selection every year since entering the NFL, Donald's also won three Defensive Player of the Year awards and been a first-team All-Pro every year since 2015. He has 98 career sacks, and was the driving force defensively behind Los Angeles' Super Bowl title team of 2021.
The NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 28 in Las Vegas. The Texans will host a free NFL Draft Party for fans at Miller Outdoor Theatre.