With the NFL Draft less than a week away, we wanted to dive into some of the biggest draft steals in NFL history. For some reason these players were skipped over for multiple rounds, only to go onto to up big numbers and lead their teams to hoisting the Lombardy Trophy.
5. Antonio Brown: Drafted in the 2010 6th round pick from Central Michigan
Back before he was Mr. Big Chest, Antonio Brown was putting up big numbers for the Steelers. 7 out of the 9 seasons he put up over 1,00 yards receiving and was always in the discussion for top receiver in the NFL. Teams didn’t want to take the chance on a guy they considered undersized from a small college in Central Michigan. However, if you looked at his numbers carefully, you knew the kind of work you were going to get from him. In 3 years he put up 3,199 yards on 305 receptions and 22TDs. He also managed to rush for 531 yards and 4TDs.
4. Shannon Sharpe: Drafted in the 1990 7th round pick from Savannah State
Before becoming Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe was hard at work proving all of the doubters wrong. In 3 years, he racked up 192 receptions for 3,744 yards and 40 TDs. He was named All-SIAC First Team in 1987, 88 and 89. In 1989, he was Co-SIAC Player of the Year, selected to the Kodak Small College All-America First Team, and named the College Player of the Year in Georgia. As if this wasn’t enough to go off of, his brother Sterling was already in the NFL tearing the field up. With that kind of college career, he deserved to go higher than the 7th round.
3. Richard Sherman: Drafted in the 2011 5th round pick from Stanford
Before establishing one of the best defenses in the NFL with the legion of boom, Richard Sherman had to wait 5 rounds to hear his name called. Unlike the others on this list, Sherman started his college career playing a different position than what he is known for. His first 3 years of college, he was a wide receiver. He switched to cornerback for his senior and graduate year. In those 2 years, he was in on 113 tackles, forced 5 fumbles, and had 6 interceptions, returning 1 for a TD. What he also doesn’t get enough credit for is his intelligence.
2. Russell Wilson: Drafted in the 2012 3rd round pick from Wisconsin
Mr. Unlimited comes in at #2 on this list. Constantly looked at due to his size and calm demeanor, Russell Wilson was the definition of consistent for Wisconsin and NC State when he played for them. He threw for 11,720 yards, 109 TDs and only 30 interceptions. Ever since entering the NFL, he has done similar numbers and led the Seahawks to winning 1 Super Bowl in 2 trips. They are currently scratching towards another one, all he needs is a solid O-line to get there. His QB rating was 147.2 in college.
1. Tom Brady: Drafted in the 2000 6th round pick from Michigan
I know. This is the easiest and most obvious #1 pick, but before he had his 7 rings, TB12 was looked at as a backup/project QB coming from the Big Blue. He is another one that you can look at the numbers and see that he could do some damage on the field given the right opportunity. In 29 games, he threw for 4,773 yards, 30TDs, and 17 interceptions. His QB rating for his college career was 134.9.
Honorable Mention. Patrick Mahomes: Drafted in the 2017 1st round pick from Texas Tech
Patrick Mahomes was a steal in this draft, especially when you look back and see that the Bears traded up to get Mitch Trubisky. The only reason he didn’t make the list is because he was picked in the first round. 9 teams are looking back now at the Super Bowl winner wishing they took him that year.