NFL Draft 2011: Each Team's Best Late-Round Pick of All Time
Everyone gets so focused on success with the top-round picks, very few ever realize there are diamonds in the rough buried in the late rounds.
Every team with a late-round success story likes to trumpet that around the league, especially the coaches and general managers who find these guys.
Some guys get overlooked because they were backups or played at small schools. The NFL has a bigger history of high-round busts than they do of low-round success stories, but both are proof the draft is an inexact science.
This list focuses on players taken around the 100th pick or later and played the majority of their career with the team that drafted them.
New England Patriots: Tom Brady
Drafted: Sixth Round, 199th Overall Pick in 2000
Tom Brady was overlooked by everybody except Bill Belichick. Belichick said he had a hunch about the kid when he drafted him, and it ranks up there with the best hunch any coach has ever had about a draft prospect.
With Tom Brady, Belichick and the Patriots have won three Super Bowls, been to a fourth and finished a season 18-1.
Brady won this year's MVP and seems destined to reach Canton after he retires.
Carolina Panthers: Kris Mangum
Drafted: Seventh Round, 228th Overall Pick In 1997
The Panthers are a relatively young organization and do not have that big of a draft pool to choose from, but Kris Mangum stands out.
Mangum played 10 years in the NFL, all with the Panthers. Never a big star, Mangum earns his spot on this list for having a 10-year career as a seventh-round draft pick and staying with the same team for his entire career.
Atlanta Falcons: Jeff Van Note
Drafted: 11th Round, 262nd Overall Pick In 1969
Jeff Van Note played an unbelievable 18 years in the NFL, mainly as a center. He played in 246 games over the length of his career, which ended in 1986 and has his number retired by the Falcons.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jim Leonard
Drafted: Seventh Round, 186th Overall Pick In 1980
Then there are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have had little success over the course of their existence. They did win one Super Bowl, but their draft history is atrocious.
Jim Leonard stands out for being a seventh-round pick who lasted four years with the Bucs as an offensive lineman.
Buffalo Bills: Bob Chandler
Drafted: Sixth Round, 160th Overall In 1971
Bob Chandler was one of those late-round draft picks who became a pleasant surprise for everyone. He led the NFL in receptions from 1975 to 1977 with 176 catches and was named Second-Team All-Pro in 1975 and 1977.
Jacksonville Jaguars: John Wade
Drafted: Fifth Roud, 148th Overall In 1998
The Jaguars are another young organization with not much to choose from in late-round success stories.
John Wade was a fifth-round pick who played the first five years of his 12-year career with the Jaguars as a center.
Five years out of a fifth-rounder is a success story and the fact he had a 12-year career is an overall success story for the league.
Houston Texans: David Anderson
Drafted: Seventh Round, 251st Overall Pick 2006
The Texans are entering their 10th year of existence, so pickings were pretty slim for this. David Anderson was drafted in 2006 and remains a part of the Texans offense.
San Diego Chargers: Billy Shields
Drafted: Sixth Round, 136th Overall Pick In 1975
Billy Shields was an offensive lineman drafted in 1975 by the Chargers. He played for the team through the 1983 season, a big piece of their offensive line.
Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts: Bob Van Duyne
Drafted: 10th Round, 240th Overall Pick In 1974
Bob Van Duyne played seven seasons as an offensive guard for the Colts. Not bad for a guy not drafted until the 10th Round.
Minnesota Vikings: Bobby Bryant
Drafted: Seventh Round, 1967 Draft
Bryant was part of the "Purple People Eaters" era of Vikings football and played in two Pro Bowls.
He had 50 career interceptions and was known as a "big play" cornerback.
Oakland Raiders: George Atkinson
Drafted: Seventh Round, 190th Overall Pick In 1968
George Atkinson played 10 years with the Oakland Raiders and had 30 career interceptions. He was a two-time All-Star for the AFL and was a member of the Super Bowl XI Championship team.
Atkinson is famous for knocking out Lynn Swann during a game when the ball was not thrown in his direction and being referred to later by Chuck Knoll as part of the "criminal element" of the NFL.
New Orleans Saints: Larry Hardy
Drafted: 12th Round, 310th Overall Pick In 1978
This Tight-End played eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints during a time of little success for the organization.
For being drafted so late, even for the time, Hardy was a good find for the organization.
Philadelphia Eagles: Harold Carmichael
Drafted: Seventh Round, 161st Overal Pick In 1971
Harold Carmichael played 13 seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles and was elected to four Pro Bowls. He stood 6'8," which was unusual for the time but probably would have made him a first-round draft pick in today's NFL.
He led the league in receptions and receiving yards in 1973.
Seattle Seahawks: Ron Essink
Drafted: 10th Round, 265th Overall Pick In 1980
The Seahawks also have not had a stellar draft history in the late rounds and Ron Essink stands out for playing six years on the offensive line where he started in 70 games.
Miami Dolphins: Ed Newman
Drafted: Sixth Round, 156th Overall Pick In 1973
Ed Newman was part of three Dolphins Super Bowl teams and played a total of 12 years in the league.
He also was elected to four Pro Bowls.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tom Condon
Drafted: 10th Round, 250th Overall Pick In 1974
Tom Condon played 12 years in the NFL, all but one with Kansas City and was president of the NFLPA for two years.
New York Giants: Mark Bavaro
Drafted: Fourth Round, 100th Overall Pick In 1985
Mark Bavaro was one of the best Tight-Ends the Giants ever had and was elected to two Pro Bowls. He also was a member of both Super Bowl Championship teams.
He sat out the 1991 due to injury before playing one year with the Cleveland Browns and the final two years of his career with the Eagles.
St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals: Larry Centers
Drafted: Fifth Round, 115th Overall Pick In 1990
Larry Centers played most of his career with the Cardinals and had one great year after another as a fullback in the 1990s.
He was elected to the Pro Bowl three times.
Washington Redskins: Keenan McCardell
Drafted: 12th Round, 326th Pick In 1991
The Redskins have a long history, but they really struck gold with Keenan McCardell. Unfortunately, they let him go. He is the only player not on this list who did not spend the majority of his career with the team that drafted him.
He gets on this list because of how low he was drafted and the length of his career. He did finish his career with the Redskins, so we'll let him squeak in.
Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams: Cody Jones
Drafted: Fifth Round, 129th Overall Pick In 1973
Cody Jones played 10 years in the NFL as a defensive tackle and was elected to one Pro Bowl.
Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Stokely
Drafted: Fourth Round, 105th Overall Pick In 1999
The Ravens may be the old Browns, but their franchise hit the reset button in 1996, so there is not as much history to draw from as you might think.
The Ravens do draft well, especially in the upper rounds.
Brandon Stokely has had a good career and was another great find by the Ravens front office.
New York Jets: Joe Klecko
Drafted: Sixth Round Pick, 144th Overall Pick In 1977
Joe Klecko is remembered for his role in the New York Jets "Sack Exchange," among other things.
He made four Pro Bowls and had his number retired by the Jets.
Cincinnati Bengals: T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Drafted: Seventh Round, 204th Overall Pick In 2001
T.J. Houshmandzadeh is still playing and has been elected to one Pro Bowl. He ousted first-round draft pick Peter Warrick from the depth chart and has been called one of the most underrated players in the NFL.
Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans: Charlie Joiner
Drafted: Fourth Round, 93rd Overall Pick In 1969
Joiner skirts the "majority of his career" award because he is a Hall of Fame wide receiver and you usually do not find that kind of talent in the lower rounds of the draft.
Joiner did play four years for the Oilers, so it is enough to qualify him.
Joiner played until 1986, an incredibly long career for any major sport.
San Francisco 49ers: Dwight Clark
Drafted: 10th Round, 1979 Draft Pick
Dwight Clark made "the catch" to get the 49ers to the Super Bowl. He was known as a reliable receiver and is one of the more famous 49ers in the history of the franchise.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Rocky Blier
Drafted: 16th Round, 417th Overall Pick In 1968
Rocky Blier was one of the big pieces in the Steelers winning four Super Bowls in the 1970's. In today's draft, he would be undrafted.
Cleveland Browns: Leroy Kelly
Drafted: Eighth Round, 110th Overall Pick In 1964
Leroy Kelly was one of the best running backs of his day and is a member of the Hall of Fame. He made the Pro Bowl six times and is a member of the 1960s All-Decade Team.
Chicago Bears: George Blanda
Drafted: 12th Round, 119th Overall Pick In 1949
George Blanda is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is one of the most revered quarterbacks in Bears history.
He made the All-Pro teams numerous times and won several awards. He led the league in several categories for years.
Dallas Cowboys: Roger Staubach
Drafted: 10th Round, 129th Overall Pick In 1964
Roger Staubach is the Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Cowboys to several winning seasons in the 1970's. Due to his military commitment, he did not actually begin playing for the Cowboys until 1969 at the age of 27.
Staubach was named the MVP of Super Bowl VI.
Detroit Lions: Herman Weaver
Drafted: Ninth Round, 227th Overall Pick In 1970
Herman "Thunderfoot" Weaver played 11 years in the NFL, most of them with Detroit. Weaver is considered one of the best punters in the history of the NFL.
Denver Broncos: Terrell Davis
Drafted: Sixth Round, 196th Overall Pick In 1995
Terrell Davis is one of the best backs in the history of the Denver Broncos and he could have been considered one of the best of all time if knee injuries had not ended his career after seven seasons.
Green Bay Packers: Bart Starr
Drafted: 17th Round, 199th Overall In 1956
We end where we began, with the 199th pick of the draft, who also happened to be a quarterback. Bart Starr was the leader of the Green Bay Packers when they won the first two Super Bowls and was elected to the Pro Bowl four times.
He also is a member of the Hall of Fame.
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