Top 8 Draft-Day Steals of the 21st Century

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IMarch 20, 2008

Four current and former Patriots make the list, while many other teams send me hate-mail.

8. Adalius Thomas - LB - New England
The 6th round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2000, A.D. has made a name for himself with his athleticism and play-making.
7. Robert Mathis - DE - Indianapolis
A 5th round pick out of Alabama A&M, the slender Mathis has been a force for the Indy front seven, taking pressure off of Freeney and Co. on passing downs.
6. Dan Koppen - C - New England
The Patriots 5th round pick in 2003 has blossomed into a Pro-Bowl center. His line calls kept Tom Brady clean for 18/19 games last year.
5. Steve Smith - WR - Carolina
A 3rd round pick of the Panthers, when healthy, Smith has been a player that commands a double team on every down.
4. Asante Samuel - CB - New England
The 120th pick by the Patriots in the fourth round of 2003, Samuel broke out in 2006 with a league high 10 picks, and followed it up with a Pro-Bowl season in 2007.
3. Jared Allen - DE - Kansas City
The Chiefs second 4th round pick in 2004 has been terrorizing QB's ever since. After resolving off the field issues last season, the Pro-Bowl DE became a franchise player in 2007.
2. Antonio Gates - TE - San Diego
No football? No problem. The Chargers didn't even waste a pick to get Gates, who played basketball in college. Now that is efficiency for an elite tight end.
1. Tom Brady - QB - New England
198 players were better than this guy? I thank Mo Lewis every night for knocking Drew Bledsoe out of the game, and onto the bench.