Every year, NFL teams are searching for a hidden gem after the most promising NFL prospects have been selected. And while teams are gearing up for the next draft, it’s time to take a look back at some of the biggest steals in NFL history.
10.Roosevelt Brown, OT
Roosevelt Brown slid to the bottom of the draft in 1953. In the 27th round, the Giants chose to take a chance on the Morgan State offensive lineman with the 321st overall pick. What followed was a flourishing career that anchored the Giant’s offensive line during six NFL championship games. “Rosey” Brown was selected for the pro bowl nine times and was eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975. Talk about a steal.
9. Terrell Davis, RB
Most draft steals on this list move on to have long and prosperous careers, but Terrell Davis is undeniably a steal for the Denver Broncos in the 1995 draft. In 1995, the former Georgia Bulldog was picked up in the sixth round as the 196th pick in the draft. Over the next four years, Davis rewarded the Broncos with over 6,000 yards rushing and 56 touchdowns. Davis teamed up with famous quarterback John Elway to give the Broncos their first Superbowls in 1997 and 1998. Davis won himself the two most prolific honors in the NFL before his career ended due to a horrific knee injury. He picked up the Superbowl MVP award in 1997, and then followed it up with the NFL MVP after rushing over 2,000 yards in 1998.
Before Deacon Jones became the man who responsible for coining the phrase “sacking the quarterback, the Rams took a gamble on him in the 14th round of the 1961 draft. With the 186th pick, they selected a young man who revolutionized the defensive end position. What happened over the next decade was nothing short of amazing. Jones helped form the Rams’ famous Fearsome Four and became a pro bowl selection for 7 straight years. Every quarterback breathed a sigh of relief when he retired in 1974, and by 1980, Jones was rightfully selected to become an NFL Hall of Famer.
7. Shannon Sharpe, TE
This may be hard to fathom, but Shannon Sharpe was selected in the 7th round of the 1990 NFL Draft. The 192nd overall selection became an absolute steal for the Broncos because Shannon Sharpe could do it all. The smart and athletic tight end went on to become one of the forefathers of the modern tight end. The sound run blocker went on to rack up over 10,000 yards receiving with over 60 touchdowns over his career. The former Savannah State standout won three Super Bowls, set tight end records, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Not bad for a 7th rounder.
6.Larry Wilson, S
Larry Wilson was another 7th round steal in this list. In 1960, the St. Louis Cardinals put their faith in Larry Wilson with the 74th selection. Larry then went on to become one of the greats. He’s been rightfully credited with putting the safety blitz into the spotlight and is considered as a crucial component to the revolution of the modern defense. This 1978 Hall of Fame steal changed the game forever.
5.Willie Davis, DE
Willie Davis was nothing less than a champion. The 15th rounder out of Grambling State was a part of the packers five championships. Willie Davis existed before the Deacon Jones hit the field but his impact was felt whenever he walked onto the field. Willie never missed a game for the Pack in his 12-year career, and rightfully earned himself a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1981.
4.Raymond Berry, WR
Raymond Berry was selected in the 20th round of the 1954 NFL Draft. As the 232nd selection in the draft, Berry became Johnny Unitas’s right-hand man. This wide receiver was known for his hard work and attention to detail. When he retired, he earned himself an NFL history best 632 receptions that totaled almost 10,000-yard receiving.
The famous 20th round Hall of Fame inductee said, “Luck is something which happens when preparation meets opportunity. One play may make the difference in winning or losing a game. I must be prepared to make my own luck.” And that’s exactly what he did in the NFL’s “Greatest Game Ever.”
3. Johnny Unitas, QB
Johnny Unitas was selected with the 155th overall pick in the 1955 NFL Draft before being released by Pittsburgh in training camp. Luckily, Unitas quickly landed with the Baltimore Colts where he became a prized quarterback for 17 years. Unitas led the Colts to four championships, four NFL MVPs, and 10 pro bowl selections. By the time he retired, Unitas held the record for the most consecutive games for throwing a touchdown pass. The record held for 52 years before it was broken in 2011.
2. Bart Starr, QB
Bart Star was selected as the 200th pick inside of the 1956 draft. Bart didn’t have a resume as great as the other steals on this list, but the legend won seven NFL championships. A quarterback who was favored by Vince Lombardi over the course of eight years is definitely a steal with the 200th selection.
1.Tom Brady, QB
Whether you love him or hate him, this legendary crybaby is unquestionably the biggest steal in NFL draft history. This 3-time NFL MVP has set over 20 NFL playoff records and has led his team to more AFC title games than 27 NFL franchises have ever played in. With 12 pro bowl selections under his belt, the 199th selection of the 2000 draft is making a statistical push for becoming the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
The fact of the matter, the NFL is filled with a passionate and impressive history of players. These 10 steals are just a few of the greatest draft selections in NFL history.