The 2012 NFL Draft will be here in roughly two weeks. Everybody is focusing on where each of the blue-chip players will go in the draft, but what about all of those players that wind up going in the sixth or seventh-round that turn out to be diamonds in the rough like Tom Brady?
Who will wind up being the late-round gems of the 2012 NFL Draft? You know that they exist, because it has proven over the history of the league that most draft classes have some hidden gems that nobody was able to predict would happen.
By the way, this is a good time to define for this presentation what is the criteria we are using to define a late-round pick. For starters, anybody drafted in the fourth-round or earlier doesn't qualify, no matter how much of a steal the player is.
The other major consideration for this list is a star player. All-Pro, Pro Bowl, 1,000-yard seasons, etc. This list is primarily reserved for players that were thought to have issues or had too many flaws in their game to be considered for the top four rounds of their respective draft. Obviously some of these players had some unique scenarios that caused them to be drafted when they were (Roger Staubach and Bo Jackson are good examples of that).
Whether they just needed better coaching, or getting over some injuries that forced their draft day stock to plummet, there are guys that simply get drafted much later than they should have.
In this presentation, we want to call your attention to the best 48 late-round NFL draft picks of all-time.
Drafted when: 1987 draft by the Houston Oilers, overall pick No. 258, Round 10.
Accomplishments: wide receiver Curtis Duncan played for Houston from 1987 - 1993. He was part of the Oilers "Run & Shoot" offense that was directed by quarterback Warren Moon.
In his career, Duncan caught 322 passes, good for 3,935 yards and 20 touchdown receptions. Duncan caught 82 passes in 1992, good for 954 yards, both of which were career highs.
Drafted when: 1988 draft by Seattle Seahawks, overall pick No. 299, Round 11
Accomplishments: Corner Dwayne Harper played for Seattle from 1988-1993, and he he played in 93 consecutive games. He started in 61 straight games in Seattle, before he ultimately moved on to play for the San Diego Chargers from 1994-1998. His final NFL season was a three-game stint with the Detroit Lions in 1999.
During his career, Harper played a total of 148 games, and started in 128 of those. He amassed 536 career tackles, had 24 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and one career sack.
Drafted when: 2000 draft by Baltimore Ravens, overall pick No. 186, Round 6
Accomplishments: After spending three years on special teams, linebacker Adalius Thomas became a starter for the Baltimore Ravens defense. He went on to make the Pro Bowl team twice, and also was voted on two times as an All-Pro.
Thomas played for Baltimore from 2000-2006 and for the New England Patriots from 2007-2009. In his career, he played in 132 games, made 517 tackles, forced 15 fumbles, made seven interceptions and recorded 53 sacks. In 2005, Thomas led the entire NFL with three touchdowns off of turnovers.
Drafted when: 2005 draft by St. Louis Rams, overall pick No. 250, Round 7
Accomplishments: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played for the St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. He is the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, and just signed a long-term deal during the 2011 season to remain the starter for the Bills.
Fitzpatrick has now been in the NFL for six years. During that time, he has passed for 10,936 yards, thrown 68 touchdowns and completed 59.8 percent of his passes. A graduate of Harvard, the seventh-round pick has turned out to be quite a find with the No. 250 draft choice.
We will see if the 2012 season is the year he leads his team to the playoffs. Fitzpatrick has now thrown for at least 3,000 yards in consecutive seasons, and has at least 23 touchdown passes in each of the last two years in Buffalo.
Drafted when: 1965 draft by Washington Redskins, overall pick No. 118, Round 9
Accomplishments: Redskins tight end Jerry Smith was named to two Pro Bowl teams, and is a member of the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame. He gained 5,496 yards in receptions during his career and caught 60 touchdown passes.
Smith is regarded as the first NFL player that ever died from AIDS, according to his Wikipedia entry.
Drafted when: 2001 draft by Cincinnati Bengals, overall pick No. 204, Round 7
Accomplishments: wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2001-2008, and then went on to play for the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders. He was named to the All-Pro team and Pro Bowl team in 2007, which is the year that he was tied with Wes Welker at 112 receptions, to share the lead for most receptions in the NFL that season.
Houshmandzadeh holds the Bengals franchise record for most punt return yards in a game with 126 and for the most receptions in a season with 112. Not bad for a 204-overall draft pick.
Drafted when: 1983 draft by San Francisco 49ers, overall pick No. 289, Round 11
Accomplishments: Jessie Sapolu was an offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers from 1983 - 1997. During his career, Sapolu played in 182 games and started 154 of them.
He was voted to two All-Pro teams and to two Pro Bowl teams. Sapolu played on four Super Bowl champion teams, which were Super Bowls XIX, XXIII, XXIV and XXIX.
Drafted when: 2003 draft by Miami Dolphins, overall pick No. 213, Round 6
Accomplishments: Safety Yeremiah Bell played for the Miami Dolphins from 2003 - 2011. He is currently a free agent, looking to find a new employer for the 2012 season.
Bell was voted to the Pro Bowl team in 2009. In the past four-straight seasons, 2008-2011, Bell has registered at least 100 tackles in every year, and has been leading the Dolphins in tackles all four years.
Drafted when: 1969 draft by Washington Redskins, overall pick No. 191, Round 8
Accomplishments: running back Larry Brown played for the Washington Redskins from 1969 - 1976. During his career, Brown was named to four Pro Bowl teams and to four All-Pro teams. He was the NFL MVP winner in 1972, as well as the NFL Offensive Player of the Year winner.
During his career, Brown had 35 rushing touchdowns and 20 touchdowns as a receiver out of the backfield. He gained 5,875 rushing yards and 2,485 yards as a receiver. Brown had two seasons where he rushed for more than 1,000 yards (1970 and 1972).
Drafted when: 1998 draft by Minnesota Vikings, overall pick No. 173, Round 6
Accomplishments: Center Matt Birk played for the Minnesota Vikings from 1998-2008. In those 11 seasons, Birk was elected to six Pro Bowl teams and two All-Pro teams. Birk has been playing for the Baltimore Ravens since 2009 - present.
After the 2011 season, Birk was voted as the Walter Payton Man of the Year in the NFL, which is a very prestigious award to win.That speaks to Birk's character, as he also won the Vikings Man of the Year award for six-straight years running from 2002-2007. Those are some lofty accomplishments for a guy drafted at No. 173.
Drafted when: 1986 draft by Philadelphia Eagles, overall pick No. 233, Round 9
Accomplishments: Defensive end Clyde Simmons played for Philadelphia, Arizona, Jacksonville, Cincinnati and Chicago. Career lasted from 1986 - 2000. Simmons had 19 sacks in 1992, which led the NFL that year.
During Simmons career, he was named to two Pro Bowl teams, along with two All-Pro selections. He was credited with 121.5 sacks, which placed him at No. 11 all-time on NFL sacks list.
Drafted when: 2006 draft by Buffalo Bills, overall pick No. 143, Round 5
Accomplishments: Defensive tackle Kyle Williams has gone from an obscure fifth-round draft pick to a two time Pro Bowl player, and has also been named to an All-Pro team.
Williams has registered over 300 tackles in his career, as a very active defensive tackle and has 13.5 career sacks. Williams played a key role in helping the Buffalo Bills recruit Mario Williams during the 2012 free agency period. With both of the All-Pro Williams on the defensive line, to go along with Marcell Dareus and Mark Anderson, the Bills are looking forward to the 2012 season.
Drafted when: 1981 draft by the Washington Redskins, overall pick No. 119, Round 5
Accomplishments: Defensive end Dexter Manley played for the Washington Redskins from 1981-1989. He also played for the Phoenix Cardinals in 1990 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1991.
Manley was named to one Pro Bowl team in 1986 and was named to All-Pro teams in both 1986 and 1987. Manley came up with 103.5 sacks during his NFL career. Manley was honored by having his name placed on the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame.
Manley had plenty of talent but he also had a problem with drugs. Manley failed a drug test in 1989, which turned out to be his third offense. He was banned from the NFL following the third strike, but was allowed to be reinstated after sitting out for one year. Manley came back, but failed a fourth test, and then he was permanently banned from the NFL for life.
Drafted when: 1972 draft by Cleveland Browns, overall pick No. 330, Round 13
Accomplishments: Quarterback Brian Sipe went from being selected with the No. 330 overall pick to becoming an NFL MVP easily qualifies him as one of the 50 greatest late-round draft picks of all-time in NFL history. Sipe played for the Cleveland Browns from 1974-1983.
He was voted to two All-Pro teams and to one Pro Bowl game. In 1980, Sipe was named the NFL MVP. In his career, Sipe passed for 23,713 yards and threw 154 touchdown passes.
For football fans that remember the Browns team being referred to as the "Kardiac Kids", that was the time period when Sipe was the quarterback, leading the team to furious comeback wins.
Drafted when: 1996 draft by Kansas City Chiefs, overall pick No. 135, Round 5
Accomplishments: Wide receiver Joe Horn played for the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.
In his career, Horn came up with 603 receptions, for 8,744 yards and 58 touchdowns.
He was named to four Pro Bowl teams and he is a member of the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.
Drafted when: 2008 draft by Buffalo Bills, overall pick No. 224, Round 7
Accomplishments: The Buffalo Bills were founded in 1960, and in the 2011 season, wide receiver Steve Johnson became the first person in team history to record consecutive 1,000 plus seasons in receiving yards. Johnson just signed a new long-term deal to stay with the Bills, so he hopes to have many more 1,000-yard plus seasons.
Johnson has caught 19 touchdown passes over his career, and is averaging 12.9 yards per catch. His new deal will make him one of the highest paid players on the Bills, as he signed a five-year deal that will pay him $36.25 million, of which $19.5 million is guaranteed. Johnson promised that his touchdown celebration antics are a thing of the past, so we will see if this new deal transforms him into a team leader going forward, or not.
Drafted when: 1977 draft by Philadelphia Eagles, overall pick No. 154, Round 6
Accomplishments: Running back Wilbert Montgomery played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1977-1984, setting a number of team records. He led the team in rushing six times. Some of the records that Montgomery established were: career rushing attempts (1,465) rushing yards (6,538), rushing yards in a season (1,512) and career 100-yard plus rushing games (26).
During the 1979 season, Montgomery led the NFL with 2,012 all-purpose yards. Montgomery also played for the Detroit Lions in 1985 and was named to two Pro Bowl teams.
Drafted when: 1977 draft by New York Jets, overall pick No. 144, Round 6
Accomplishments: Defensive lineman Joe Klecko played for the Jets from 1977-1987 and then he played one final year for the Indianapolis Colts in 1988. Klecko was great at rushing the passer, and he led the NFL with 20.5 sacks in 1981, which is one of the reasons he was voted as NFL Defensive Player of the Year that season.
Klecko was named to four Pro Bowl teams and was named to two All-Pro teams. His jersey number, 73, is one of only three jerseys that have ever been retired in New York Jets team history.
Pretty good value returned for a sixth-round draft pick.
Drafted when: 2006 draft by New Orleans Saints, overall pick No. 252, Round 7
Accomplishments: Wide receiver Marques Colston signed a new deal in the 2012 offseason to continue playing with the New Orleans Saints. In his career with the Saints, which began in 2006, Colston has averaged over 1,000-yards in receiving yardage per season. In total, Colston has gained 6,240 yards on 449 receptions for an average gain of 13.9 yards per catch. He has also scored 48 touchdown passes for the Saints in his career.
According to his entry in Wikipedia, Colston holds an NFL record, which is the most receptions in a player's first two seasons with 168 catches. In Super Bowl XLIV, Colston helped lead the Saints to a win with his seven receptions for 83 yards in the game.
Drafted when: 1986 draft by Philadelphia Eagles, overall pick No. 208, Round 8
Accomplishments: Linebacker Seth Joyner played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986-1993. Joyner was a member of three Pro Bowl teams and was named in 1991 as Sports Illustrated's NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and finished as the runner-up for the same award by AP.
His final NFL game was with the Denver Broncos, where he helped them win Super Bowl XXXIII, going out on top. In addition to Denver and Philadelphia, Joyner played for the Arizona Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers.
Joyner is part of a 20/20 club that has 11 total members. These 11 players all have at least 20 interceptions and 20 sacks in their NFL career. Joyner leads all of them with 52 sacks.
Drafted when: 2003 draft by Indianapolis Colts, overall pick No. 138, Round 5
Accomplishments: Historically a defensive end in his NFL career for the Indianapolis Colts (2003-present), Mathis is going to be asked to transform into an outside linebacker starting in 2012.
In his career, Mathis has been on four Pro Bowl teams, and has amassed 395 tackles, 83.5 sacks and has forced 39 fumbles. He was a member of the Colts team that won Super Bowl XLI. Mathis just signed a new deal in the 2012 offseason to remain with the Colts through their current rebuilding efforts.
Drafted when: 1987 draft by Los Angeles Raiders, overall pick No. 183, Round 7
Accomplishments: Running back Bo Jackson was the No. 1 overall draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986, but never signed a contract with the team. He played baseball instead. The Los Angeles Raiders then drafted Jackson the following year with the No. 183 pick in the seventh-round.
Jackson played for the Los Angeles Raiders from 1987-1990, but in those four years Jackson flashed amazing talent. He played in usually just 10 or 11 games a season due to playing in the NFL and in MLB at the same time. Despite playing in just 38 games in his entire NFL career, Jackson amassed 515 carries for 2,782 rushing yards, good for an average of 5.4 yards per rush and 16 rushing touchdowns.
The longest run that Jackson had from scrimmage in three of his four years in the NFL were: 88 yards, 91 yards and 92 yards. He was literally a threat to score from anywhere on the field. What is more impressive about Jackson's totals, is that he was the Raiders second-string running back, as he was backing up Marcus Allen during his career in Los Angeles.
Jackson's football career ended due to an injury he suffered in a playoff game versus the Cincinnati Bengals in 1990, which was also the year that he was elected to the Pro Bowl team. Jackson suffered a serious hip injury and he would never play another down in the NFL.
Drafted when: 1971 draft by Philadelphia Eagles, overall pick No. 161, Round 7
Accomplishments: Wide receiver Harold Carmichael played for the Eagles from 1971-1983 and finished out his career playing one year with the Dallas Cowboys in 1984. Carmichael retired after the 1984 season.
During his career, Carmichael caught 590 passes for 8,985 yards and 79 touchdowns. Carmichael was elected to four Pro Bowl teams and was named to three All-Pro teams. He was also named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1970's.
Drafted when: 1994 draft by San Diego Chargers, overall pick No. 145, Round 5
Accomplishments: Defensive back Rodney Harrison played for San Diego from 1994-2002, and then played another six years with the New England Patriots from 2003-2008. Harrison was a tough, hard-hitting defensive back that excelled at laying opponents out, along with sacking the quarterback and coming up with interceptions.
During his career, Harrison had 1,205 tackles, 30.5 sacks and 34 interceptions. Harrison was named to two Pro Bowl teams and was named to four All-Pro teams. He was on two New England Patriots teams that won a Super Bowl, which were Super Bowl XXXVIII, and XXXIX.
Harrison is unique in that he was elected to be a member of both the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots 50th Anniversary teams. It is special for a player to make just one team's list, but making two teams list is very rare. He was also voted on to the Patriots All-2000's Team.
Drafted when: 1983 draft by Cincinnati Bengals, overall pick No. 276, Round 10
Accomplishments: Defensive tackle Tim Krumrie played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1983-1994. During his career, Krumrie was voted on two Pro Bowl teams and two All-Pro teams. In 188 career games, Krumrie made 34.5 sacks, 1017 tackles and recovered 13 fumbles.
Krumrie was a member of the Bengals team in Super Bowl XXIII when he suffered a horrific broken leg. They had to place a 15" steel rod in his leg to stabilize it, and he then went on to play six more years in the NFL with the rod in place.
Drafted when: 1994 draft by Atlanta Falcons, overall pick No. 201, Round 7
Accomplishments: Running back Jamal Anderson played for the Atlanta Falcons form 1994-2001. During his career, Anderson gained 5,336 rushing yards, 1,645 receiving yards and scored 41 touchdowns. In 2001, Anderson suffered a torn ACL, and that ended his career.
Anderson was a workhorse for the Falcons. He carried the ball 410 times in 1998 and gained 1,846 yards while scoring 14 touchdowns. Anderson led the Falcons to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1998, but they lost that game to the Denver Broncos, who were led by John Elway and Terrell Davis.
Jamal created the "Dirty Bird" touchdown dances, which is something he was remembered for. Anderson was elected to the Pro Bowl team in 1998.
Drafted when: 2006 draft by Tennessee Titans, overall pick No. 215, Round 7
Accomplishments: Corner Cortland Finnegan played for the Tennessee Titans from 2006-2011. In the 2012 offseason, Finnegan signed a deal to join the St. Louis Rams, and his old head coach, Jeff Fisher. Finnegan was named to both the Pro Bowl team and All-Pro team in 2008.
In his career, Finnegan has amassed 473 tackles, six sacks and made 14 interceptions.
Drafted when: 1979 draft by San Francisco 49ers, overall pick No. 249, Round 10
Accomplishments: Wide receiver Dwight Clark played for the 49ers from 1979-1987. That was the only team that he ever played for. During his career, Clark caught 506 passes for 6,750 yards and caught 48 touchdown passes.
Of course Clark is most famously remembered for "The Catch", which we shared on the picture of this slide. The play occurred in the 1981 NFC playoffs game against the Dallas Cowboys and the touchdown pass form Joe Montana to Clark in the final minute of regulation allowed the 49ers to defeat 28-27 and advance to the Super Bowl. Clark caught eight passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, further demonstrating how big he was for the 49ers.
In 1981 and 1982 Clark was voted to the Pro Bowl team and the All-Pro teams both years. He was on two Super Bowl winning teams, Super Bowls XVI and XIX. The 49ers retired his No. 87 jersey.
Drafted when: 1997 draft by Tampa Bay Buccaneers, overall pick No. 169, Round 6
Accomplishments: Corner Al Harris was drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs, but never played for the team. He did play for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1998-2002, Green Bay Packers from 2003-2010, and he also played briefly for the Miami Dolphins in 2010 and the St. Louis Rams in 2011.
During his career, Harris has been elected to two Pro Bowl teams and one All-Pro team. He has made 468 tackles, came up with 21 interceptions and is credited with four sacks.
Drafted when: 2000 draft by Oakland Raiders, overall pick No. 142, Round 5
Accomplishments: Punter Shane Lechler is the only kicker or special teams player we included in our presentation. Since he arrived in the NFL, Lechler has been named to seven Pro Bowl teams and nine times was voted to All-Pro teams. He was named as the punter on the NFL 2000's All--Decade team.
He set a Raiders franchise record with a punt of 80 yards in 2011. In his career, Lechler has made 933 punts, which have covered 44,389 yards, which is an average of 47.6 yards per punt. He is more of a weapon and a field-position changer than your average punter.
Drafted when: 1970 draft by Miami Dolphins, overall pick No. 159, Round 7
Accomplishments: Safety Jake Scott played for the Miami Dolphins from 1970-1976 and for the Washington Redskins from 1977-1978. He was named to five Pro Bowl teams, as well as five All-Pro teams. Played on two Super Bowl championship teams, in Super Bowl VII and VIII. He was voted as the Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl VII.
During his career, Scott started 123 of the 126 games he played in. He came up with 49 interceptions in his career and was also a very good punt return man. Scott gained 1,357 yards as a punt returner. His 35 career interceptions in Miami are still the career best for any Dolphins player. Miami named Scott as a member of their Honor Roll in 2010.
Photo courtesy of On Line Athens.com
Drafted when: 1977 draft by Raiders, overall pick No. 317, Round 12
Accomplishments: Linebacker Rod Martin played for both the Los Angeles Raiders and the Oakland Raiders from 1977-1988. In his career, Martin was named to two All-Pro teams and two Pro Bowl teams. He made 14 interceptions in his career and scored four touchdowns returning turnovers.
Martin set a Super Bowl record in Super Bowl XV when he intercepted Ron Jaworski three times in the game. Jaworski must have thought that Martin was open all day.
Drafted when: 1976 draft by Houston Oilers, overall pick No. 117, Round 4
Accomplishments: Wide receiver Steve Largent was drafted by the Houston Oilers, but never played for the team. He played for the Seattle Seahawks from 1976-1989. We made an exception for the fifth-round requirement for Largent because he was a mid-round pick (fourth-round) that was dissed by his draft team (Oilers) and then went on have an amazing career.
The Oilers thought so little of Largent that after drafting him in 1976, they were going to release after the end of their preseason. Instead, they traded him to the new NFL expansion team in Seattle. The asking price for Largent? How about an 1977 eight-round draft pick? Amazing.
Largent was named to seven Pro Bowl teams, and eight All-Pro teams. He was voted to the NFL 1980's All-Decade Team. Largent was also voted in to the Seattle Seahawks Ring of Honor, and they retired his No. 80 jersey.
His career totals are: 819 receptions for 13,089 yards and 100 touchdowns.
Drafted when: 1995 draft by Denver Broncos, overall pick No. 196, Round 6
Accomplishments: Running back Terrell Davis played for the Denver Broncos from 1995-2002.
Some of Davis career highlights include:being named to three All-Pro teams and three Pro Bowl teams. He won two Super Bowls while with Denver, in Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII. He was named as the NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year in two consecutive seasons (1997 and 1998). He was the NFL MVP in 1998 and was voted to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990's.
During his career, Davis rushed for 60 touchdowns, maintained a career average of 4.6 yards per rush and ran for a career total of 7,607 yards.
Drafted when: 1996 draft by Miami Dolphins, overall pick No. 154, Round 5
Accomplishments: Linebacker Zach Thomas played for the Miami Dolphins from 1996-2007. He played one final year for the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, and attempted to play for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009, but he never played a down for them.
Thomas proved to be a steady, consistent performer for the Dolphins. He was on seven Pro Bowl teams and also named to seven All-Pro teams. He is a member of the NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000's.
Thomas started 182 of the 184 games that he played in and made 1,076 tackles in his career, along with 20.5 sacks and 17 career interceptions. Thomas was also voted as NFL Alumni Linebacker of the Year in both 1998 and in 2006.
Drafted when: 1974 draft by Pittsburgh Steelers, overall pick No. 125, Round 5
Accomplishments: Center Mike Webster played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1974-1988 and then he finished up with two years playing for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989-1990. Webster had the nick name of "Iron Mike" due to his physique, being able to survive so many years without getting hurt and being the anchor of the offensive line for the Steelers that won four different Super Bowls from 1974-1979. According to his entry in Wikipedia, Webster is considered to be one of the best centers in NFL history.
Webster was voted to nine Pro Bowl teams and nine All-Pro teams. He is a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, in addition to being named to the NFL All-Decade Teams of both the 1970's and the 1980's. Webster was enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in 1997.
Drafted when: 1963 draft by St. Louis Cardinals, overall pick No. 129, Round 10
Accomplishments: Tight end Jackie Smith played for the St. Louis Cardinals for 15 years, and then hung around for one more year, when he played for the Dallas Cowboys in 1978. Unfortunately, he is mostly remembered for his one year with the Cowboys, due to a dropped pass in the end zone in Super Bowl XIII, despite all the years of excellent play with the Cardinals.
Smith was named to All-Pro teams twice and five Pro Bowl teams. When he retired following the 1978 season, he was the all-time leader in receptions for a tight end with 480 catches for 7,918 yards and 40 touchdowns. Smith had a career average of 16.5 yards per reception.
His best game came in his rookie year against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when he gained 212 yards on nine catches. Smith also doubled as the Cardinals punter for his first three years with the team. Smith was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994.
Drafted when: 1953 draft by Detroit Lions, overall pick No. 85, Round 7
Accomplishments: Linebacker Joe Schmidt played for the Detroit Lions from 1953-1965. During his career, he made 24 interceptions and scored two touchdowns. Schmidt was named to 10 Pro Bowl teams, and was named First-Team All-Pro eight times. He was a member of three NFL Championship teams.
The Detroit Lions named him their team MVP four different times and Schmidt was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1950's. Schmidt was voted to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1973.
Drafted when: 1990 draft by Denver Broncos, overall pick No. 192, Round 7
Accomplishments: Tight end Shannon Sharpe played with the Denver Broncos from 1990-1999, then left for a two-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens from 2000-2001, before returning back to the Broncos, where he played from 2002-2003 until he retired.
Sharpe also had a long list of accomplishments, which included: named to eight Pro Bowl teams, was voted to four All-Pro teams, member of the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990's and was a three-time Super Bowl champion (Super Bowls XXXII, XXXIII and XXXV).
For his career, Sharpe made 815 catches for 10,060 yards and 62 career touchdowns.
Drafted when: 1965 draft by Washington Redskins, overall pick No. 245, Round 18
Accomplishments: Linebacker Chris Hanburger played for the Washington Redskins from 1965-1978. He was called "The Hangman" due to the way he laid guys out with his clothes-line tackling style.
Hanburger was named to nine Pro Bowl teams and was named to six All-Pro teams. He was enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2011. He played in 187 games, made 19 interceptions and scored five touchdowns.
Drafted when: 1960 draft by St. Louis Cardinals, overall pick No. 74, Round 7
Accomplishments: Safety Larry Wilson played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1960-1972. He was elected into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1978.
Wilson was a dual threat at safety, in that he either was blitzing the quarterback from his safety spot, or he was picking off a pass, as Wilson wound up with 52 total interceptions in his career. Wilson was drafted as an offensive player out of college, but the Cardinals wanted to see what he could do at cornerback. That didn't work, so they tried him at safety in a preseason game, and when he was asked to blitz, Wilson showed that he excelled at the move, and the rest as they say is history.
Wilson was named to eight Pro Bowl games and to All-Pro seven times in his career. In 1966, Wilson intercepted passes in seven straight games. He wound up leading the NFL with 10 interceptions that year. In total, he returned five of his interceptions for touchdowns over his career. The NFL didn't keep track of sacks back then, so we don't know how many he was responsible for in total.
Drafted when: 1954 draft by Baltimore Colts, overall pick No. 232, Round 20
Accomplishments: Wide receiver Raymond Berry played for the Baltimore Colts from 1955-1967. He also wound up becoming a head coach for four different NFL teams, but never served the Colts organization as a head coach.
During his playing career, Berry made 631 receptions for 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns.
Berry was named to six Pro Bowl teams and was also voted to six All-Pro teams. He is a member of not only the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1950's, but is also a member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. Berry was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1973.
Drafted when: 1983 draft by Chicago Bears, overall pick No. 203, Round 8
Accomplishments: Defensive lineman Richard Dent played for the Chicago Bears from 1983-1993. He wound up finishing his career by playing one year each for four different teams: San Francisco, the Bears again in 1995, Indianapolis, and then Philadelphia in 1997. Dent retired after the 1997 season.
Dent was enshrined in the NFL Hall f Fame in 2011 and he was the MVP of Super Bowl XX.
During his career, Dent was named to five All-Pro teams and to four Pro Bowl teams. He wound up with 137.5 career sacks and had eight interceptions.
Drafted when: 1953 draft by New York Giants, overall pick No. 321, Round 27
Accomplishments: Offensive lineman Roosevelt Brown played for the New York Giants from 1953-1965. He was named to nine Pro Bowl teams, the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Pro Team, and the NFL's 1950's All-Decade Team. He was also a member of the 1956 NFL Championship team for the Giants.
Photo courtesy of Fan Base.com
Drafted when: 1961 draft by Los Angeles Rams, overall pick No. 186, Round 14
Accomplishments: Deacon Jones played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1961-1971. Jones then played two years with the San Diego Chargers (1972-1973) and one final year with the Washington Redskins in 1974 before he retired from the NFL.
NFL.com rated Jones as the No. 15 player of all-time in the history of the NFL. He was elected to eight Pro Bowl teams and eight All-Pro teams. Jones was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. He was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960's. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in both 1967 and 1968.
The St. Louis Rams retired his No. 75 jersey. Deacon Jones was enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in 1980. Jones was credited with 173.5 sacks in just 190 career games.
Drafted when: 1964 draft by Dallas Cowboys, overall pick No. 129, Round 10
Accomplishments: Quarterback Roger Staubach played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1969-1979. He got a late start on his career (27 years old as a rookie, due to his military commitment). Staubach was voted on to six Pro Bowl teams and was All-NFC five different times. He was selected to be on the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1970's and was named the MVP of Super Bowl VI.
NFL.com rated Staubach as the No. 46 NFL Player of all-time. In his career, Staubach passed for over 22,700 yards and threw 153 touchdown passes to 109 interceptions. His career QB Passer Rating was 83.4. Staubach was voted in to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1985.
Drafted when: 1956 draft by Green Bay Packers, overall pick No. 199, Round 17
Accomplishments: Quarterback Bart Starr played for Green Bay from 1956-1971. He also went on to become the Packers head coach from 1975-1983. Starr threw for 24,718 yards during his career. He threw 152 touchdowns compared to 138 interceptions over his career. His career QB Passer Rating was 80.5.
Some of Starr's highlights include: named to four Pro Bowl teams and four All-Pro teams. Led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships. Was the MVP of two Super Bowls, Super Bowl I and II. Was the NFL MVP in 1966 and was voted to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960's.
NFL.com ranked Starr as the No. 51 player in the NFL of all-time. He was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1977.
Photo courtesy of Net Brawl.com
Drafted when: 2000 draft by New England Patriots, overall pick No. 199, Round 6
Accomplishments: Quarterback Tom Brady joined the New England Patriots in 2000, and is still cranking away. During his career, Brady has led the Patriots to five Super Bowl appearances. Brady has won the Super Bowl three times, (XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX) and was voted MVP of the Super Bowl twice (XXXVI and XXXVIII). Brady's record in the postseason is 16-5.
Brady is the only person in NFL history, along with Joe Montana, to win multiple MVP trophies and multiple Super Bowl MVP's (won each award twice). Brady and John Elway are the only quarterbacks to lead their team to five Super Bowl appearances.
Brady is equally good in the regular season as he is in the postseason. Examples of that include him leading the Patriots to 21-straight victories in a stretch of games from 2003-2004. In addition to that, Brady led the Patriots to the first undefeated-16 game regular season games record in the NFL history.
Brady has been elected to seven Pro Bowl teams and has been voted to three All-Pro teams. Whether you want to base it on success of won - lost record, Super Bowl appearances, or whatever criterion you choose, Tom Brady has to be one of the top examples of a late-round draft pick that fooled everybody and emerged to have a career worthy of being in the NFL Hall of Fame.
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