Who are the best late-round NFL draft picks in league history?
A lot of top NFL draft picks make their mark in history, but even more impressive are those players who were picked late but became football legends.
There are high expectations for top picks in the NFL draft. Some of them deliver, but some of them turn out to be poor investments. There are some players who got picked late, but went on to become unexpected stars. Here are some of the most remarkable players who were chosen in later rounds of the NFL draft.
Tom Brady, 6th round, 199th overall in 2000
Tom Brady has come a long way since the NFL Draft of 2000, and was certainly the best bargain the New England Patriots has ever had. He is the biggest draft steal in the history of the league, who quickly made his mark after he turned pro. He became the Patriot’s starting quarterback in his second year, during which the team won their first Super Bowl title. He’s reaped numerous honors since then, and is now considered by many as the GOAT of professional football.
Terrell Davis 6th round, 196th overall in 1995
Terrell Davis was drafted in 1995 by the Denver Broncos, with whom he stayed until the end of his football career in 2001. He has several entries in Broncos history books, and is the team’s leading rusher of all-time. The running back also holds the record for most postseason single-season touchdowns in the NFL. Davis was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.
Richard Dent, 8th round, 203rd overall in 1983
Richard Dent was a defensive end who was drafted by the Chicago Bears, and became an important part of the team’s celebrated defensive unit in 1985, when they won the Super Bowl. For his remarkable performance, he was awarded the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. He was also the league leader in sacks for that year. Dent became a Hall of Famer in 2011.
Deacon Jones 14th round,186th overall in 1961
The Los Angeles Rams probably didn’t expect that their 14th round pick in 1961 would turn out to be one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. Defensive end Deacon Jones is credited for coining the term “sack” to refer to tackling the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. Not only did he popularize the term, he also led the league in sacks for five years. Jones was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1980.
Shannon Sharpe, 7th round, 192nd overall in 1990
Shannon Sharpe was another outstanding late-round pick for the Denver Broncos. He is considered to be one of the greatest tight ends in the history of the league, and holds the record for most receiving yards by a player in that position. He wrapped up his NFL career as the all-time leader in receptions. Sharpe gained entry into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
Bart Starr, 17th round, 199th overall in 1956
The Green Bay Packers found a diamond in the rough in Bart Starr, whom they drafted in the 17th round of the 1956 NFL Draft. He was honored twice as the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player when the Packers won the first two championships. Starr was also named NFL MVP in 1966. He is the only quarterback to lead a squad to three league championships in a row. He joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.