April 21, 2001
Stanford Year-by-Year NFL Draft Picks
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Stanford University senior defensive tackle Willie Howard (Mountain View, CA/Los Altos HS) was selected in the second round of the National Football League draft by the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday.
Howard was the 26th pick of the second round, and 57th pick overall. The draft position is the highest by a Stanford player since Kailee Wong was selected with the 51st pick by the Vikings in the 1998 draft. He is also the sixth Cardinal to be selected in the first or second round since 1992.
The Vikings have now drafted a Stanford player in three of the last four years. Along with Howard and Wong, Minnesota selected wide receiver Troy Walters in the fifth round last year. Howard, who started all 45 games the Cardinal played during his career, was a 2000 Associated Press Third Team All-America and a semifinalist for the 2000 Lombardi Award. He was a two-time First Team All-Pacific-10 Conference selection (1999 & 2000), making him just the fourth defensive lineman in Stanford history to earn first team all-conference honors in back-to-back seasons. Howard finished his career with 22.5 quarterback sacks and 40 tackles-for-loss.
In 1999, he captured the Morris Trophy as the top defensive lineman in the Pacific-10 Conference. He also helped lead the Cardinal to the conference title that season and first Rose Bowl appearance since the 1971 season. Howard was an honorable mention all-conference selection in 1998, and started all 11 games at nose tackle as a freshman in 1997.
The first three rounds of the NFL Draft were held on Saturday, with the event to conclude with rounds four through seven on Sunday.