Rating UConn Football's Best NFL Picks: From Beatty To Torkelson

Included among our list of top 10 UConn players drafted are, from left, Dan Orlovsky, Will Beatty, Donald Brown and John Dorsey.

What follows is a list of the top 10 UConn football players drafted. Wondering about guys like Nick Giaquinto and Brian Kozlowski? They worked in the NFL, sure, but they weren't drafted. This history is not as rich and the names not as big as on the basketball side, but UConn has had 36 players drafted, 21 since 2005.

WILL BEATTY, LT, New York Giants

UConn career: Letter winner 2005-08 and was an important blocker as running back Donald Brown rushed for a school-record 2,083 yards in 2008.

NFL career: Selected by the Giants in the second round of the 2009 draft, 60th overall

Comment: Beatty didn't reach his full potential at UConn until his senior year but the Giants have seen it. Beatty signed a five-year, $38.75 million contract in February 2013. He played in all 16 games his rookie season. But the Giants' starting left tackle broke his leg in the 2013 season finale and is questionable for the 2014 opener. Beatty was on the roster when the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2011 but didn't play because of an injury.

TYVON BRANCH, S, Oakland Raiders

UConn career: Letter winner 2004-07 and was recognized as one of the fastest players in college football at the time, particularly as a kick returner. In '07 he led the Big East, averaging 29 yards a return, and had been the only player in school history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same season before Nick Williams did it in 2010. Branch nearly had a third in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in '07.

NFL career: A fourth-round pick of the Raiders, 100th overall, in 2008. Was designated the team's franchise player in 2012 and signed a four-year, $26.6 million deal that was reworked for salary cap reasons. He missed much of 2013 with an injury, but has 445 tackles, including seven sacks, going into his seventh season. He also has four interceptions.

Comment: Branch is one of the fastest athletes to come out of UConn, winning the 2004 national indoor track championship in the 60-meter dash (6.82) as a senior at Cicero-North Syracuse High. He has grown into a good NFL player, although after going down with an injury in Week 2 last season, Raiders fans are going to want to see how one of their top investments performs in 2014 along with another UConn player, Sio Moore, who the Raiders took with the 66th overall pick (third round) in 2013.

CODY BROWN, DE, Montreal Alouettes via Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets

UConn career: Letter winner 2005-08 and was third all-time in sacks with 24 and third in tackles for a loss with 45.5, and was named first-team All Big East as a senior.

NFL career: Was part of UConn's first class that saw as many as four players selected in the 2009 draft. Brown was one of three who went in the second round, to the Cardinals with the 63rd pick overall. Brown sustained an injury the summer and was waived in 2011.

Comment: Brown was part of a special group drafted. Four at one time was a record when it happened.

DONALD BROWN, RB, San Diego Chargers

UConn career: Letter winner 2006-08, he led the nation in yards per game with more than 160 in 2008 and became UConn's first AP All-American (second team). Career leader in net rushing yards (3,800) including the 2,083 in '08.

NFL career: The only UConn player selected in the first round, going to the Indianapolis Colts with the 27th pick in 2009. He signed a five-year deal and in 2010 became the third Husky (Brian Kozlowski and Nick Giaquinto) to play in the Super Bowl. He started 20 games and rushed for 2,377 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Colts before signing a three-year, $10 million deal with San Diego in March. He rejoins fellow UConn teammate and defensive tackle Kendall Reyes (second round, 2012).

Comment: The potential of Trent Richardson made it easier for the Colts to part with Brown, despite Brown having a fairly productive 2013 (537 yards rushing and six TDs on about five yards a carry). Brown will join Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead in San Diego in what could be a nice rotation at running back, particularly if Brown can become a top pass-catching option. He caught 83 passes for 767 yards and two TDs in his career at Indy.

DARIUS BUTLER, S, Indianapolis Colts

UConn career: Was a four-year starter (2005-08), two-year captain and was Mr. Versatility during his college career. Butler had 10 career interceptions (two for touchdowns), tied for ninth all-time in school history.

NFL career: Butler was the 41st overall pick for the Patriots, a second-rounder in 2009, signing a four-year deal. He spent two seasons with the Patriots, including a disappointing 2010. He spent the next season in Carolina before signing a two-year deal with the Colts in March 2013. He had four interceptions in 2012 and '13 in Indianapolis.