Mike Haynes had the size, speed, athleticism and hands to excel as a cornerback in the NFL.
And he did, intercepting 46 passes on his way to nine Pro Bowls. He has a Super Bowl ring and a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But achievement is what the NFL has come to expect from Arizona State defensive backs.
Eric Allen played 14 seasons in the NFL at cornerback, intercepted 54 passes and went to six Pro Bowls. Mike Richardson started at corner for the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears and Craig Newsome started there for the 1996 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Darren Woodson was in the first wave of NFL cover safeties, helping the Dallas Cowboys win three Super Bowls. He went to five Pro Bowls and became the franchise’s all-time leading tackler with 1,350. David Fulcher went to three Pro Bowls as a strong safety for the Cincinnati Bengals. He intercepted eight passes in 1989, helping the Bengals win their last AFC championship. Free safety John Harris intercepted 10 passes in 1981 for the Seattle Seahawks and 50 in his career.
Phillippi Sparks spent six seasons as a starting NFL cornerback and intercepted 27 passes. Adam Archuleta started at safety on the 2001 NFC champion St. Louis Rams and wound up with 530 career tackles and three defensive touchdowns in seven seasons. Strong safety Pat Tillman made 145 tackles in 2000 in an all-too-short four-year career.
All but Newsome, Sparks and Woodson earned All-America acclaim at Arizona State.
Here’s the Arizona State all-time NFL team:
QB Jake Plummer, 29,353 passing yards, 161 TDs
HB Gerald Riggs, 3 Pro Bowls, 1985 NFC rushing champ
FB John Henry Johnson, Hall of Fame
WR Charley Taylor, Hall of Fame
WR John Jefferson, 4 Pro Bowls, two 13-TD seasons
TE Todd Heap, 2 Pro Bowls, 499 career catches
OT Marvel Smith, Pro Bowl, 9 seasons, 108 starts
OT Levi Jones, 8 seasons, 97 starts
G Randall McDaniel, Hall of Fame
G Kyle Kosier, 10 seasons, 127 starts
C Grey Ruegamer, 9 seasons with starts at C, G, T
DE Jim Jeffcoat, 102 ½ sacks
DE Al Harris, 11 seasons, 20 sacks, 4 INTs
DT Curley Culp, Hall of Fame
DT Dan Saleaumua, Pro Bowl, 12 seasons, 35 ½ sacks
OLB Terrell Suggs, 13th on all-time sack list with 132 1/2
MLB Bob Breunig, 3 Pro Bowls, 1977 NFC champion
OLB Derek Smith, 11 years, 1,095 tackles
CB Mike Haynes, Hall of Fame
CB Eric Allen, 6 Pro Bowls, 54 INTs
S Darren Woodson, 5 Pro Bowls, Dallas all-time tackle leader
S David Fulcher, 3 Pro Bowls, 31 INTs
K Luis Zendejas, 3 seasons, 37 FGs, 189 points
P Danny White, Pro Bowl QB, 610 career punts
KR Travis Williams, 2-time NFL KR champion, 7 return TDs
ST Brian Jennings, 2 Pro Bowls, 13-year deep snapper for 49ers