The NFL Draft's Biggest Steals Since Tom Brady

April 18, 2019 - 1:41 pm
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One of the best picks in the history of the NFL Draft came in 2000, when the New England Patriots selected a University of MIchigan quarterback named Tom Brady in the sixth round.

All he’s done since then is win six rings and become arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.

Ahead of the 2019 draft, which runs from April 25-27, it's a useful reminder: There are gems to be found in the later rounds.

Here are the best late-round picks since Brady was selected at the start of the century:

Jared Allen: With pick No. 126 in 2004, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Allen, a future five-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time First Team All-Pro. Allen led the NFL in sacks twice for the Minnesota Vikings, including in 2011 when he had 22 -- tied for the second-most ever in a season. Allen also holds the NFL record with four career safeties.

Elvis Dumervil: The Denver Broncos selected Dumervil in the fourth round of the 2006 draft. The pass rusher fell into the later rounds because of his 5-foot-11 stature, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a five-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time First Team All-Pro. Dumervil led the league in sacks in 2009 with 17. Dumervil recorded another 17-sack season with the Baltimore Ravens, setting a franchise record.

Russell Wilson: The recently minted highest-paid player in the NFL was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks with the 75th overall pick in 2012. During his rookie year, Wilson had 26 passing touchdowns, tying Peyton Manning for the most by a rookie (since broken by Baker Mayfield). In just his second year, Wilson led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl victory. Wilson has won 65 games since entering the league, the most in that time span. He has the second highest career passer rating of all time at 100.3.

Richard Sherman: There were 153 players taken before Sherman, out of Stanford, came off the board in the fifth round in 2011. The fiery cornerback anchored the famed Legion of Boom secondary for a Seahawks defense that led the league in scoring from 2012-2015. Sherman led the league in interceptions in 2013. The Super Bowl champion, now with the San Francisco 49ers, has been selected to four Pro Bowls and is a three-time First Team All Pro.

Antonio Brown: Brown was the 20th wide receiver taken in 2010, out of Central Michigan, in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. None have approached the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers star's productivity. Brown led the NFL in receptions in 2014 and 2015 and in receiving yards in 2014 and 2017. In 2013, Brown became the only receiver in NFL history to record five receptions and at least 50 yards in every game of a season. Recently traded to the Oakland Raiders, Brown has been to the Pro Bowl seven times, including every season since 2013, and been a first-team All Pro four times.

By Ryan Kroll