NFL: Tom Brady Heads List of Top Late-Round Draft Picks

John LewisSenior Writer IApril 17, 2008

Hey, the draft matters and there are always great late-round picks that go on to have a Hall-of-Fame career. 

So, in the spirit of competition here is the list of players taken after rounds one through four.


Tom Brady, 2000 – Patriots

Brady was drafted in the sixth round and 199th overall out of Michigan. It's hard to argue that he isn't the top late round pick of all time. 

He's won three Super Bowls, one MVP award, two Super \Bowl MVPs, and the AP Male Athlete of the Year. 

Brady took over the reins in his second season when then-starting QB Drew Bledsoe went down for the season with internal bleeding. The Pats won 11 of the 14 games in which Brady started and of course we all know what happened after that.


Terrell Davis, 1995 – Broncos

Davis was drafted in the sixth round (196th overall) out of Georgia and never really impressed scouts with his injuries in college and didn't post great workout numbers. 

While his career was cut short due to injuries, Davis made the most of his time in the sun. He helped the Broncos win two Super Bowls, won a Super Bowl MVP award in Super Bowl XXXII by scoring three touchdowns in the big game. He also rushed for over 1,100 yards in his first four seasons, including over 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns in 1998. 


Shannon Sharpe, 1990 – Broncos

Sharpe was drafted in the seventh round (192nd overall) out of Savannah State as a wide receiver. He didn't impress anyone his first season and then coach Dan Reeves convinced him to be a tight end. 

That would launch his career as one the best ever at his position. Known mostly for his trash talking, Sharpe would win three Super Bowls; two with the Denver Broncos and one with the Baltimore Ravens. In 14 seasons, he amassed over 10,000 receiving yards.



Keenan McCardell, 1991 – Redskins

McCardell was drafted in the 12th round (326th overall) out of UNLV by the Washington Redskins and won a Super Bowl with them in his first year, even though he was on injured reserve. 

McCardell has nearly 900 receptions, more than 11,000 receiving yards and was taken after 44 other receivers in the 1991 draft. He won two Super Bowls (the other with Tampa Bay in 2002), is the only player to make the playoffs with five different teams, and is the only receiver from the '91 draft still playing.     


Richard Dent, 1983 – Bears

Dent was drafted in the eighth round (203rd overall) out of Tennessee State. Between 1984 and 1985, Dent recorded 34.5 sacks and was a key piece in the dominant Chicago Bear defenses of the '80s.  

He would win two Super Bowl rings, a Super Bowl MVP award, and retired with 137.5 career sacks, which, at the time, ranked him third.


Zach Thomas, 1996 – Dolphins

Thomas was drafted in the fifth round (154th overall) out of Texas Tech. Thomas played his first 12 seasons for the Dolphins and was chosen by coach Jimmy Johnson. 

Even though Thomas failed every test given to him by scouts, Johnson thought he had the physical skills to be successful. Thomas has recorded over 1,800 tackles, made seven Pro Bowls and has more tackles than any current linebacker in the Hall of Fame. He recently signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys.


Roger Staubach, 1964 – Cowboys

Staubach was drafted in the 10th round (129th overall) out of the Navy, but because of his naval duty, he didn't join the Cowboys until 1969. 

Once he got the starting job, he took the Cowboys to four Super Bowls and won two of them. Staubach made six Pro Bowls in 11 seasons and led the league four different times with the highest passer rating. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985 and in 1999, was named as the 29th-best NFL player by the Sporting News.

There are other names that deserve mention on this list including Dwight Clark (249th overall), Mark Clayton (223rd overall), Dexter Manley (119th overall), Earnest Byner (280th overall), Jay Novacek (168th overall), and Mike Webster (125th overall).