Robbing the College Cradle: The Best NFL Seventh Round Draft Picks
As Week 7 of the 2008 NFL season is officially in the books, I thought it would be a good time to look back at some former seventh round draft picks making headlines this season.
Here are a few players who fell all the way to the final round of the draft and have so far proven their critics wrong. All scouting reports are courtesy of ESPN.com.
Christopher Horton (Washington Redskins) - Pick No. 249
Scouting Report: "Experienced, tough, in-the-box safety who fills hard. The biggest knock on him is that he's one dimensional because he has too many limitations in coverage."
This rookie out of UCLA has been a ball-hawk through Washington's first seven games, helping them compete in the toughest division in football. The 6'1" 211-pound safety has recorded three interceptions so far, while piling up 37 tackles. In Week 2, he picked off Drew Brees twice, who is arguably the NFL's best quarterback this season.
Trumaine McBride (Chicago Bears) - Pick No. 221
Scouting Report: "McBride is a technician with enough quickness and tenacity to develop into an adequate reserve who makes his biggest contributions on special teams but it's unlikely he ever plays an every-down role."
The 5'9" 185-pound cornerback from Mississippi burst onto the scene in Week 4 of last season against Detroit, filling in for injured starters Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher. In his first game ever, he forced a fumble and held then Lions receiver Roy Williams to 53 yards receiving. McBride has seen an increased role since his debut and is once again being counted on as Vasher continues to battle injuries in 2008.
Chansi Stuckey (New York Jets) - Pick No. 235
Scouting Report: "Stuckey is a clutch player who continues to develop as a wide receiver and shows excellent versatility as a potential NFL return specialist. Unfortunately, his marginal size, durability issues and disappointing timed-speed really hurts his draft stock."
The former Clemson pass catcher instantly became one of Brett Favre's favorite targets this season, registering 182 yards and finding the end zone three times. For fantasy players out there, Stuckey continues to be a legitimate third wide receiver with his big-play potential.
Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants) - Pick No. 250
Scouting Report: "Unfortunately, he isn't dominant in any one area. He lacks prototypical size for a power back and the top-end speed to break a lot of long runs."
Helping the Giants win the Super Bowl last season while serving as Brandon Jacobs's back-up, the former Marshall star has been one of the reasons New York once again is the team to beat in 2008. His carries might be down this season, but he continues to be part of a three-headed monster in the Giants' running game.
Cortland Finnegan (Tennessee Titans) - Pick No. 215
Scouting Report: Unavailable
Four interceptions for the NFL's only undefeated team has made the former Samford cornerback one of football's biggest surprises in 2008. In Week 3 against Houston, the 5'10" 188-pound Finnegan returned an interception 99 yards for a score, and also registered two pass deflections.
Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints) - Pick No. 252
Scouting Report: "Colston has to improve his footwork and ability to catch the ball with more consistency, which means he has to show improved work ethic and stay healthy. He will never be a great route runner or an explosive threat after the catch."
What hasn't the third year receiver from Hofstra done to prove that scouting report wrong? Colston simply has been one of the NFL's best late-round draft picks in history. In his first two seasons, the 6'4" 225-pound has caught 168 passes for 2,240 yards and 19 touchdowns. Drew Brees's favorite target is finally healthy for Week 8 and will look to build upon his already eye-popping career numbers.
Matt Cassel (New England Patriots) - Pick No. 230
Scouting Report: Unavailable
Serving as former Southern California quarterbacks Carson Palmer's and Matt Leinart's back-up, Cassel figured he would be a career clipboard holder the rest of his life.
Obviously, that all changed in 2008, as Tom Brady was lost for the year, resulting in Cassel's first start since high school. Helping the Patriots to a respectable 4-2 record so far, Cassel proved he belonged under center in Week 7, throwing three touchdowns in a blowout win against Denver. Despite not having thrown a pass since the prom, Cassel has completed 66 percent of his passes in 2008.
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