Heller: Ranking the Five Former Heisman Winners in Saturday’s Game


More often than not, the winner of the Heisman trophy in college doesn’t guarantee a successful NFL career. Names like Gino Torretta, Matt Leinart Johnny Manziel, and Eric Crouch are a few examples of this.

Some have moderate success at the professional level like Bo Jackson, Eddie George, Ricky Williams and Carson Palmer.

A select few break the mold and have Hall of Fame careers like Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, and Tony Dorsett.

Saturday’s AFC Divisional game between the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens will feature five of the last 11 players to win the Heisman trophy.

Here’s a ranking of the five who will be in uniform for Saturday’s game. 


Robert Griffin III, 2011

The No. 2 pick by the Washington Redskins in 2012, Griffin won Offensive rookie of the Year and led his team to an eventual playoff loss to Seattle in his first season. He drew comparisons to Michael Vick but was derailed by injuries. He’s in his sixth season after spending the first three with the Redskins, one in Cleveland and the last two in Baltimore. Griffin started the Week 17 meaningless game against the Steelers. 


Marcus Mariota, 2014

Mariota was the No. 2 pick of the 2015 draft and was selected by the Tennessee Titans. After an impressive debut against the Buccaneers where he threw four touchdowns and had a perfect passer rating, Mariota played very inconsistently. When he was good, he was good, but when he was bad, he was downright horrible. He led the Titans to a wild card, come-from-behind victory against the Kansas City Chiefs only to lose to the Patriots the following week two seasons ago. Last season, he had a lingering injury that forced him to not only miss games, but in the games he did start, he was ineffective. He lost his starting job in Week 6 of this year to Ryan Tannehill, who led the team to this game.


Mark Ingram, 2009

The 28th pick in the 2011 draft by the New Orleans Saints, Ingram is a three-time Pro Bowler. He ran for over 1,000 yards twice in eight seasons with the Saints as part of the two-headed monster backfield with Alvin Kamara. He joined the Ravens this season and all he did was run for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Derrick Henry, 2015 

Henry was the 45th overall pick by the Titans in the 2016 draft. He rushed for over 1,000 yards for the first time last season, most of that coming in the second half of the season, including 238 in one game against the Jaguars. He captured the NFL rushing title this season (1,540 yards) and ran for 182 yards against the Patriots in the Titans’ upset in the Wild Card matchup. 

Lamar Jackson, 2016

The 32nd pick in the 2018 draft, Jackson was given the starting job by head coach John Harbaugh halfway through last season. He led the Ravens to the playoffs only to lose to the Chargers. Encore you say? Jackson led his team to a 14-2 record this year. He broke Michael Vick’s quarterback rushing record with weeks to spare and is the lock for 2019 MVP.



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