Summer is almost here, which is good for a lot of reasons and bad for the single reason that Louisville sporting events don't take place. Louisville baseball is the last team to cross the finish line, and they'll be worth following as they inch closer to what will hopefully be a lengthy postseason run in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
To fill in those gaps between Louisville baseball games until football season rolls around, we've been ranking the 20 best NFL careers by Louisville football alums leading up to the NFL Draft. We'll crack into the top 10 today and reveal the top five next week on draft day.
The formula here isn't exact, but an attempt at structure was made. Here's a reminder of how it works.
Points are awarded for individual awards received by some of the greatest Cardinals to play in the NFL. They are as follows:
Hall of Fame: 7 points
League MVP: 6 points
All-Pro selection: 5 points
Pro Bowl selection: 4 points
Super Bowl MVP: 3 points
The brief explanation here is that the Hall of Fame is obviously the highest honor possible, league MVP is the next hardest to achieve, while All-Pro is ahead of Pro Bowl because less players are named All-Pro than make Pro Bowls. Finally, Super Bowl MVP is a great accomplishment, but is only for one game, no matter how big that game is.
To fill in the cracks, Pro Football Reference's Career Approximate Value (CarAV) numbers were used. Again, not strictly.
Before we get to the third group of our top 20, here's a reminder of five former Cards who we'll all remember that could get on this list later in their careers based on CarAV numbers:
Teddy Bridgewater — 9 CarAV in rookie season
Preston Brown — 8 CarAV in rookie season
Calvin Pryor — 5 CarAV in rookie season
Eric Wood — 30 CarAV over six seasons (5 average)
William Gay — 33 CarAV over eight seasons (4.1 average)
Without further ado, we roll along with numbers 10-6 on the authoritative rankings of Louisville football players in the NFL.
10. Frank Minnifield, DB, 21 points
Years at Louisville: 1979-82
NFL team: Cleveland Browns (1984-1992)
Why he's here: Minnifield went to four straight Pro Bowls from 1986-89, and is also a member of the 1980s All-Decade team as decided by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He named All-Pro in 1988, and recorded 20 interceptions over his nine-year career. Perhaps most importantly, Minnifield was a co-creator of the Dawg Pound in Cleveland, making him a hero to the author of these rankings. The author may or may not have Minnifield's autograph on a t-shirt hanging in his childhood bedroom. He does.
9. Elvis Dumervil, DE, 26 points
Years at Louisville: 2002-05
NFL teams: Denver Broncos (2006-12), Baltimore Ravens (2013-Pres.)
Why he's here: The most recent Cardinal on this list, as we know, has had a phenomenal NFL career. Dumervil is a four-time Pro-Bowler (2009, '11, '12, '14) and two-time All-Pro selection (2009, '14). The former Nagurski winner was also the NFL's sacks leader in 2009 with 17. Over his eight NFL seasons, Dumervil has recorded 90 sacks.
8. Joe Jacoby, OT, 26 points
Years at Louisville: 1978-80
NFL team: Washington Redskins (1981-93)
Why he's here: Jacoby was undrafted out of Louisville, but ended up going to four straight Pro Bowls from 1983-86. Like Dumervil, Jacoby also made two All-Pro teams (1983-84). There are a couple of reasons Jacoby gets the nod for No. 8 here, the first being his place on the 1980s All-Decade team with the aforementioned Minnifield and the other being his three Super Bowl titles with Washington (XVII, XXII and XXVI).
7. Ted Washington, DT, 31 points
Years at Louisville: 1987-90
NFL teams: San Francisco 49ers (1991-93), Denver Broncos (1994), Buffalo Bills (1995-2000), Chicago Bears (2001-02), New England Patriots (2003), Oakland Raiders (2004-05), Cleveland Browns (2006-07)
Why he's here: Washington bounced around a lot, but made four Pro Bowls (1997-98, 2000-01) and three All-Pro teams (1997-98, 2001). He won a Super Bowl with the Patriots during the 2003 season and has 603 tackles with 34.5 sacks to his credit over his 17-year NFL career.
6. Sam Madison, CB, 31 points
Years at Louisville: 1993-96
NFL teams: Miami Dolphins (1997-2005), New York Giants (2006-08)
Why he's here: Madison has the same credentials as Washington points wise, with four straight Pro Bowl trips (1999-2002) and three straight All-Pro selections (1999-2001). Like Washington, Madison has a Super Bowl title to his credit as well, winning XLII with the Giants after the 2007 season. The tiebreaker here is that Madison's seven interceptions in 1999 tied for the NFL lead.
Next week is draft week, so we'll have the five best Louisville players to ever play in the NFL on Thursday morning as we wait to see where the latest Cardinals land.