The top-12 players to go from DMV high schools to NFL stars
From DMV high schools to NFL stars
With Vernon Davis and Kyle Long announcing retirements this offseason, the DMV area takes a slight hit in NFL representation. Fortunately for the area, several local products such as Mekhi Becton, Trevon Diggs, Terrell Lewis and Chase Young are set to join the professional ranks this April's draft.
Before the next wave of DMV products has their chance to shine, here are the players that have already ascended from the area's high schools to NFL notoriety.
12. Ronald Darby, CB, Philadelphia Eagles
Multiple outlets named Darby a high school All-American in 2011 as he starred at Potomac in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Darby continued his success at Florida State and worked his way into the second round of the 2015 NFL draft.
After two solid seasons in Buffalo, the Bills traded the young cornerback to Philadelphia. Since joining the Eagles, Darby has enjoyed success when he has been able to stay healthy. Over his three seasons in Philadelphia, Darby has played just 28 games but has five interceptions in that limited action.
11. Sean Davis, S, Pittsburgh Steelers
Davis played at the Maret School in Washington D.C. before taking his talents to College Park and playing for the Terps from 2012-2015. After his college career, the Steelers selected Davis in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.
In his first three seasons, Davis emerged as a consistent starter in Pittsburgh with 40 starts in his first three seasons. Before a shoulder injury ended his 2019 season after just one game, Davis already had 242 tackles and five interceptions in a promising start to his career.
10. Zach Brown, LB, Free Agent
The Columbia, Maryland, native has enjoyed a productive career since breaking into the NFL as a second-round pick out of North Carolina with the Tennessee Titans. Before Brown was eclipsing 100 tackles in the NFL, he terrorized opposing offenses at Wilde Lake High School.
In 100 career NFL games, Brown has 662 tackles, 17.5 sacks, seven interceptions and six forced fumbles, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2016. Brown spent two seasons back in the area with the Washington Redskins but was cut in March 2019. The 30-year-old is currently a free agent after the Cardinals cut him in November.
9. Rodney McLeod, S, Philadelphia Eagles
McLeod played at DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, before starring as a defensive back at Virginia. After four years with the Cavaliers, McLoed went undrafted in the 2012 draft. He quickly made his mark with the St. Louis Rams, and eventually signed a 5-year, $37 million contract with the Eagles in 2016.
McLeod has recorded 467 tackles, 13 interceptions and 11 forced fumbles in 97 games over his first eight years.
8. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington Redskins
When the Redskins selected Haskins with the No. 15 pick in the 2019 NFL draft, the team was bringing the Ohio State signal-caller back to where he spent the bulk of his youth. Haskins played high school at the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, and was one of the most sought-after quarterbacks in his recruiting class.
After flipping his commitment from Maryland to Ohio State, Haskins shined in the 2018 season, his lone year as the full-time Buckeyes' starter. Haskins flashed his star potential in the NFL, finishing his last six quarters with a completion percentage over 70% of his passes for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns.
7. Jonathan Allen, DT, Washington Redskins
Allen's youth took him around the country with stops in Seattle, the Carolinas and Pittsburgh before ultimately ending up in Ashburn, Virginia, where he attended Stone Bridge High School. After high school, Allen joined the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide, returning to his birth state for college.
Allen showcased his talent at Alabama, totaling 28 sacks over his four-year career. During the 2017 NFL draft, Allen slid to No. 17 because of concerns over shoulder injuries in his past. But Allen has become a team leader and major producer for the Redskins, totaling 139 tackles and 15 sacks over his first 36 professional games.
6. Rob Havenstein, OT, Los Angeles Rams
The 6-foot-8 offensive tackle made his way from Linganore High School in Frederick County, Maryland, to the 2019 Super Bowl with the Rams. In between, Havenstein played at Wisconsin and was a second-round pick of the 2015 NFL draft.
Havenstein has started 68 games in his first five years of the NFL and played a key role in paving the way for running back Todd Gurley's 2018 MVP season. After that season, the Rams rewarded Havenstein with a four-year, $32 million contract extension.
5. Kendall Fuller, CB, Kanses City Chiefs
Fuller played high school at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland, and attended college at Virginia Tech. After his Hookies career, Fuller stayed in the area as the Redskins selected him in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft.
After a breakout 2017 season where Fuller solidified the slot corner spot, Washington traded him in the deal that brought quarterback Alex Smith to Washington. Fuller reminded Redskins' fans what they're missing out on when he intercepted a pass in the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory.
4. Joe Haden, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Friendly High School product was the No. 3 athlete in the 2007 recruiting class and chose Florida over offers from other top schools. At Florida, Haden was a freshman All-American, 2009 national championship winner and 2009 Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year.
After his college career, the Cleveland Browns selected the Fort Washington, Maryland, native with the seventh pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Haden spent his first seven seasons in Cleveland before joining the Steelers. In his career, Haden has 27 interceptions and three Pro Bowl selections to his name.
3. Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Ngakoue was the D.C. Gatorade Football Player of the Year after his senior season at Friendship Collegiate Academy before becoming a Terp. In his three-year college career, Ngakoue totaled 21 sacks and 32 tackles for loss.
His college production was enough for the Jaguars to make him a third-round pick in 2016. Since then, Ngakoue has emerged as one of the league's best young pass rushers. Over his first four seasons in the NFL, the 6-foot-2 defensive end has 37.5 sacks.
2. Cameron Wake, DE, Tennessee Titans
Wake's productivity took a hit in his age-37 season, recording just 2.5 sacks over nine games in 2019. But over his 11-year career, Wake has been a standout pass rusher in the league.
After exceptional careers at DeMatha High School and Penn State, Wake has posted 100.5 sacks over 155 games in his 11-year NFL career. Wake is a five-time Pro Bowl selection was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2012.
1. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Diggs was a highly rated prospect out of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Maryland but chose to stay home for college. In his three years at Maryland, Diggs remained effective despite a constantly unsettled quarterback situation. Diggs fell to the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft and has since proved that evaluators made a mistake on him.
In his first five seasons, Diggs has emerged as one of the league's promising young skill players. Over 70 career games, Diggs has 365 catches for 4,623 yards and 30 touchdowns. In the summer of 2018, the Vikings signed the Gaithersburg, Maryland, native to a 5-year, $81 million contract extension.