The UCLA Bruins are year in and year out one of the tougher west coast football teams for any college to go and play. Over the years, they have had a lot of talent suit up in their school colors, including some who have gone on to prove themselves to be the best the game has ever seen. Quarterbacks get the most attention though and a lot of that attention is focused on who does well in the NFL Draft. Getting selected is a big honor and something any player can be very proud of. UCLA Bruins quarterbacks have had some great college careers, and through 2010 ten of them have been picked in the NFL Draft.
Bob Waterfield – 1944 – Rams – 5th Round
Bob Waterfield led UCLA to the 1943 Rose Bowl which the team lost to the University of Georgia. The Cleveland Rams drafted him in the 5th round in 1944 and he would win the Most Valuable Player Award during his rookie season. He would lead the Rams to a win in the 1945 NFL Championship Game and would go with the team when they moved to Los Angeles the next year. During his career, he would play quarterback and defensive back, as well as punt. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965.
Ronnie Knox – 1957 – Bears – 3rd Round
Ronnie Knox played for the California Golden Bears for one season before transfering to UCLA under controversial circumstances. After leaving UCLA early, Knox signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. He would also play for the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts of the CFL too. He briefly signed with the Chicago Bears but lasted only one year with the team.
Gary Beban – 1968 – Rams – 2nd Round
Gary Beban won the 1967 Heisman Trophy and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2nd round of the 1968 NFL Draft. Beban played just two seasons in the NFL, both of them with the Washington Redskins, and would retire in 1970.
Tom Ramsey – 1983 – Patriots – 10th Round
Tom Ramsey played very well for UCLA and even won a share of the MVP Award in the 1983 Rose Bowl. Even though the New England Patriots drafted him in 1983, he went to play for the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League. He would also play for the Oakland Invaders of the USFL briefly too. By 1985, Ramsey was ready to return to the NFL and he spent four seasons as a backup in New England before spending one final season in the same role with the Indianapolis Colts.
Jay Schroeder – 1984 – Redskins – 3rd Round
Jay Schroeder was mostly a backup while with UCLA but had a very productive NFL career. With first Joe Theismann and later Mark Rypien entrenched ahead of him with the Washington Redskins, he would find himself eventually doing well and playing for the Los Angeles Raiders. He would end his career by playing one season with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1993 followed by one season with the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.
Steve Bono – 1985 – Vikings – 6th Round
Steve Bono not only played quarterback for the UCLA Bruins, but he was also the catcher on the baseball team. Though Bono would be drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, he would see little action there and after two seasons would find himself playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After two seasons as a backup there he was on the move again and would spend five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He would also play for the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams, and Carolina Panthers before retiring in 2000.
David Norrie – 1986 – Seahawks – 11th Round
David Norrie quarterbacked the Bruins all the way to the 1986 Rose Bowl, though he couldn’t play in the game due to being injured just a week before the big game. The Seahawks picked him in the 11th round of the 1986 NFL Draft and he played with the New York Jets in 1987, including starting two games during the 1987 NFL strike. After leaving football, Norrie would move into the broadcasting booth.
Troy Aikman – 1989 – Cowboys – 1st Round
Troy Aikman was the first overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft and would go on to be one of the best quarterbacks the Dallas Cowboys would ever have. He won three Super Bowls with the team and would routinely make the Pro Bowl and be one of the more popular players in the league. After retiring from football, mainly due to repetitive concussions, he would find work in the broadcast booth.
Tommy Maddox – 1992 – Broncos – 1st Round
Tommy Maddox was not immediately successful in the NFL, but after winning the Player of the Year Award in the short lived XFL, the Steelers signed him on where he played well for a few seasons. He would also spend time on the rosters of the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, and Atlanta Falcons. He also spent time in the Arena Football League in two different stints, first with the New Jersey Red Dogs in 2000 and then with the Philadelphia Soul in 2006.
Cade McNown – 1999 – Bears – 1st Round
Cade McNown was a highly thought of prospect coming out of high school and actually became a starter at UCLA during his freshman year. He had an up and down college career, winning the Johnny Unitas Award in 1998, and would be drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1999 with the 12th overall pick. He spent two seasons with the Bears, one season with the Miami Dolphins, and one season with the San Francisco 49ers before retiring from pro football with some injury problems.
-Ten UCLA quaterbacks have been drafted into the NFL in history, but six of them were drafted in the ten year span from 1983 to 1992.
-The last three UCLA quarterbacks drafted, Troy Aikman, Tommy Maddox, and Cade McNown, all went in the first round.