The Texas Tech Red Raiders’ football program has a lot to be proud of lately. Texas Tech is coming off a strong eight-win 2022 campaign – one where the Red Raiders beat both the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners in the same season for the first time ever. Less than two months after Texas Tech clobbered the SEC’s Ole Miss Rebels by a score of 42-25 in the 2022 TaxAct Texas Bowl, Zach Thomas became the first Red Raider in program history to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Additionally, now-former Red Raiders defensive end Tyree Wilson became the 10th player in program history to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft last month. And let’s not forget that former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes won his second NFL MVP, Super Bowl, and Super Bowl MVP last season.
Obviously, Mahomes is representing Texas Tech very well in the NFL, but what other former Red Raiders are currently making an impact at the professional level? Listed below are the Top Five current NFL players that went to Texas Tech:
5. Broderick Washington, DT, Baltimore Ravens (Years With Texas Tech: 2015-19)
His stats don’t jump off the page, but Broderick Washington undoubtedly serves an important purpose on the Ravens’ defensive line. Washington is sound with his tackling and has a prowess for generating penetration against opposing offensive lines, which makes him an absolute force against the run. In 2022, Washington helped Baltimore’s defense rank No. 3 in rushing yards allowed per game (92.1).
Washington also has a knack for batting down passes at the line of scrimmage. In the fourth quarter of a Week 11 clash with the Carolina Panthers last season, Washington deflected a pass that led to a game-clinching interception by teammate Jason Pierre-Paul. He registered a career-high two pass deflections in a 27-22 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Week 8 of the 2022 campaign.
Over the span of his five-year tenure at Texas Tech, Washington compiled 134 total tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two pass defections, and one fumble recovery. He was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection by conference coaches in each of his final three seasons with the Red Raiders.
4. Terence Steele, OT, Dallas Cowboys (Years With Texas Tech: 2016-19)
Terence Steele joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2020, but it didn’t take long for him to get meaningful reps. Because of a season-ending hip injury to starting right tackle La’el Collins, coupled with the fact that backup right tackle Cameron Erving had trouble staying healthy, Steele wound up becoming the ninth offensive tackle in NFL history to start at least 14 games as an undrafted rookie. Steele had his share of growing pains in the 2020 campaign, but gradually showed improvement over the course of his rookie season.
In 2021, Steele started 10 contests for Dallas and caught his first NFL touchdown pass from Dak Prescott in a 56-14 thumping of the Washington now-Commanders in Week 16 – becoming the first offensive lineman to score a receiving touchdown for the Cowboys since 1968. Steele earned a 73.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2022, which ranked 23rd out of 81 qualifying offensive tackles. Unfortunately, Steele’s impressive 2022 campaign was cut short when he tore his left ACL and MCL during Dallas’ 27-23 victory over the Houston Texans in Week 14.
During his four-year tenure with Texas Tech, Steele started 47 games – primarily at right tackle. In 2019, Steele was a part of an offensive line that allowed only 18 sacks despite 531 pass attempts. He earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors with the Red Raiders in 2018 and 2019.
3. Jakeem Grant, WR, Cleveland Browns (Years With Texas Tech: 2012-15)
He may be undersized (5-foot-6, 170 pounds), but Jakeem Grant is also a certified ankle snatcher. Grant has proven to be a headache for opposing teams as both a wide receiver and a return man. That being said, Grant has made his biggest splash on special teams.
Over the course of his seven NFL seasons, Grant, who missed the entire 2022 season due to a torn left Achilles tendon, has returned 119 punts for 1,228 yards and four touchdowns, along with 110 kickoffs for 2,699 yards and two scores. Grant earned Second-Team All-Pro honors in 2020 and 2021 and a Pro Bowl nod in 2021. He has also caught 100 passes for 1,140 yards and seven touchdowns.
Over the span of his four-year tenure with Texas Tech, Grant returned 40 kickoffs for 1,017 yards and two scores. He also caught 254 total passes for 3,286 yards and 27 touchdowns. He earned Second-Team All-American honors and Second-Team All-Big 12 recognition in 2015 with the Red Raiders.
2. Jordyn Brooks, LB, Seattle Seahawks (Years With Texas Tech: 2016-19)
The Seahawks surprised a lot of NFL experts when they took Jordyn Brooks with the No. 27 overall pick in 2020, but it turned out to be the right decision. Brooks has elite run-stopping ability, and his tackle production is incredible. In 2021, Brooks finished second in the league with 184 total tackles, which also eclipsed the single-season franchise record (164) that perennial All-Pro Bobby Wagner set in 2016.
Brooks then tallied 161 total tackles in 2022, which ranked sixth in the NFL – a number that would’ve likely been higher if he didn’t suffer a torn right ACL in Seattle’s 23-6 win over the New York Jets in Week 17. Despite posting impressive numbers in each of the past two seasons, the Seahawks elected to decline Brooks’ fifth-year option, which means the talented linebacker will be set to enter free agency in 2024. It will be interesting to see if Brooks continues to play for Seattle following the 2023 campaign, but even if the Seahawks don’t re-sign him, he shouldn’t have any trouble finding interested suitors in free agency.
During his four-year collegiate career at Texas Tech, Brooks tallied 360 total tackles, 32.0 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, two interceptions, six pass deflections, and two forced fumbles. In 2019, Brooks earned Second-Team All-American honors and First-Team All-Big 12 recognition with the Red Raiders.
1. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (Years With Texas Tech: 2014-16)
Saying Patrick Mahomes put Texas Tech football on the map would be a massive understatement. He’s arguably the best player in the NFL today and is already a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite being the Chiefs’ full-time starting quarterback for just five seasons. And despite being just 27 years old, Mahomes has already cemented himself in the discussion for best NFL quarterbacks of all time.
Mahomes is a two-time Super Bowl Champion, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, a two-time regular-season MVP, and has garnered First-Team All-Pro recognition twice. He also earned NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2018, was named Second-Team All-Pro in 2020, and has five Pro Bowl nods to his name. Mahomes, who has reached the AFC Championship Game in each of his five seasons as an NFL starter, is one of just three quarterbacks to throw 50 touchdown passes in a single season and is one of only three signal-callers with multiple 5,000-yard seasons.
Over the span of his three-year collegiate career at Texas Tech, Mahomes completed 857 passes for 11,252 yards and 93 touchdowns. He accounted for 12,097 total yards and was responsible for 115 total touchdowns over the span of those three seasons. In 2016, Mahomes led the FBS in passing yards (5,052) and won the Sammy Baugh Award.