What's not to like about a team finding a steal in the seventh round of the NFL Draft? Everybody loves an underdog.
The player comes into camp with almost zero expectations, a small contract (for the NFL), and a chip on his shoulder. The player doesn't hold out of camp, because he's usually desperate to just make the team. If he plays hard and produces then he almost becomes an instant fan favorite.
This list will identify the Top 10 active players taken in the seventh round. To be honest, there was only about 20-25 players worth mentioning. The list consists of solid players and a few pro-bowlers. Most of them are good character guys that have been loyal to their teams.
Peyton Hillis was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2008 with the 227th pick.
As the Browns starting running back, Hillis ended the year with 1,177 rushing yards, 477 receiving yards, and 13 total touchdowns.
Ahmad Bradshaw was drafted by the New York Giants in 2007 with the 250th pick.
Bradshaw came out with a bang in his rookie season as he was instrumental in the Giants Super Bowl victory in 2007. He was just the change-of-pace running back they needed to compliment Brandon Jacobs.
Bradshaw was very productive in 2008 and 2009 as a backup averaging almost five yards per carry.
Bradshaw became a starter in 2010. He had trouble holding onto the ball, but he rushed for 1,235 yards and scored eight touchdowns.
Cassel was drafted in 2005 and held the clipboard for Tom Brady until 2008. In 2008, Cassel took over for an injured Brady and passed for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns.
His strong performance in 08 led to him signing a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. After a decent 2009, Cassel passed for 3,116 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2010. He led his young team to the playoffs and made the Pro-Bowl that year.
Todd McClure was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1999 with the 237th pick.
McClure beat all the odds after he suffered a season ending injury in his first year. How many teams hang onto a seventh round rookie offensive lineman after they have a serious knee injury before the season starts?
In 2000, McClure took over the starting center position and hasn't looked back. He has been one of the leaders on a line that produced many star offensive players such as Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn, Michael Turner, and Matt Ryan.
Mark Tauscher was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2000 with the 224th pick.
In 2008, he won the Packers Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and the Ed Block Courage Award. Tauscher helped the Packers win the Super Bowl in 2010.
Cortland Finnegan was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2006 with the 215th pick.
Finnegan was a solid contributor from the get-go. Throughout the past five years, Finnegan has shown that he isn't afraid to make a hard hit and he has a nose for the ball. Finnegan has been a multi-dimensional cornerback and made the Pro-Bowl in 2008.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2001 with the 204th pick.
T.J. was drafted in 2001, but stepped up his game to a Pro-Bowl level in 2004. He gave the Bengals five solid seasons and made the Pro-Bowl in 2007.
Marques Colston was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2006 with the 252nd pick.
Colston is the lowest pick out of the group. The Donte Stallworth trade placed Colston in the starting lineup from day one. In five seasons, Colston has totaled 369 receptions, 5,097 yards, and 40 receptions. He helped his team win the Super Bowl in 2009.
Jay Ratliff was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005 with the 224th pick.
Ratliff was drafted in 2005, but didn’t become a starter until 2007. Ratliff hit the ground running from that point on and has anchored the Dallas Cowboys defensive line as the nose tackle. Ratliff has a career 142 tackles and 21.5 sacks. He made the Pro-Bowl in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Donald Driver was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1999 with the 213th pick.
Where to start?
Driver is the Packers all-time leader in receptions with 698 over the past 12 seasons. Over his career he has totaled 9,615 receiving yards and 53 receiving touchdowns. Driver was a key part of the 2010 Green Bay Super Bowl Champions.
He was selected to the Pro-Bowl in 2002, 2006, and 2007. In 2002, he was named the Packers MVP and Walter Payton Man of the Year. In 2005 he was given the 2005 Ed Block Courage Award. Driver has been called one of the toughest wide receivers to ever play the game.