New Jersey might not be the first place you think of when naming off NFL players, but The Garden State has produced a few gems over the years. The state is larger than many may think with over 9.2 million residents and currently has 56 active players in the league which ranks tenth on states with the most NFL players.
There are many players to consider when naming off the top five NFL players from New Jersey, which made this list particularly tricky. While there are no unanimous Hall of Fame players on this list, there is no question that these guys are some of the best at their respective positions.
Top 5 NFL Players from new jersey
5: Clark Harris (Ls, cincinnati bengals – Manahawkin, nj)
Not a sexy pick I know, but the Bengals long snapper has played in a ridiculous 200 games during his professional career. Clark grew up in Manahawkin, New Jersey where he was focused on his role as a tight end more than being a long snapper. He went on to play at Rutgers where he dominated as a tight-end his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons being named First-Team All-Big East each season.
As a professional, he was drafted in the 7th round by the Packers and then bounced around practice squads of the Packers, Lions, and Texans before being signed to the Bengals as a long-snapper, a role he has yet to relinquish.
4: Mark Ingram Jr. (RB, New Orleans Saints – hackensack, nj)
Although Mark was raised in Michigan, he was actually born in New Jersey. During his high school years in Michigan he was a 9x All-State track star while achieving all-state accolades in football his senior year. Mark then played collegiately at Alabama where he won the Heisman in 2009, the same year that he led the Crimson Tide to the national championship.
His NFL career has been prolific, spending most of his time with New Orleans, he has nearly 8,000 yards rushing, 2000 yards receiving, and 74 total touchdowns. Ingram has been named to the pro-bowl three times (2014, 2017, 2019).
3: Malcolm Jenkins (ss, new orleans saints – piscataway, nj)
Malcolm grew up in Piscataway, NJ where he won three state championships in football along with a state title in track. The three star athlete took his talents to Columbus where he led the buckeyes to four conference championships under Jim Tressel. In his senior year, he was named All-American for the second time, All-Big Ten for the third time, and earned the Jim Thorpe award as the nation’s top defensive back.
As an NFL player, he has spent his career split between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints. A 3x pro-bowler (2015, 2017, 2018) and 2x super bowl champion, Jenkins has over 1,000 career tackles along with 21 interceptions.
2: Minkah Fitzpatrick (s, Pittsburgh steelers – old bridge, nj)
The 25 year old Old Bridge native was a fantastic high school receiver catching 45 passes for 1111 yards during his senior year while being rated the No.4 cornerback prospect by ESPN.com. He would go on to play three seasons for Alabama playing in 42 games tallying 171 tackles, 5 sacks, 9 interceptions, and 4 touchdowns.
As a member of the Crimson Tide, he won two national championships, was a two-time All-American, won the Jim Thorpe award as the nation’s top defensive back, and the Chuck Bednarik award which is given to the nation’s top defensive player. Minkah was drafted 11th overall in 2018 by the Pittsburgh Steelers and was named an All-Pro and pro-bowler during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
1: Quenton Nelson (G, Indianapolis Colts – holmdel, nj)
Few players come into the league and have such a consistently positive impact on their team as Quenton Nelson has had. The Holmdel Township native would play collegiately for Notre Dame where he red-shirted his freshman year before eventually earning All-American honors as a junior.
Quenton would forgo his extra year of eligibility and enter the draft where he became the 6th overall pick in 2018 NFL Draft. As a professional, Quenton has played his entire career for the Indianapolis Colts as a starter. During his rookie season, he was named to the pro-bowl and All-Pro team, awards he has repeated during each of his four professional seasons.
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