Getting drafted in the 7th round may be joyous for some players, and disappointing for others. Players that were expected to go sooner are ticked off and ready to make an immediate impact in the NFL, while players who weren't sure if they were going to get drafted are just happy to be there. Either way, these players want to prove all of the teams that passed on them, wrong. There is no greater feeling than proving to everyone that you are better than they thought you were. The motivation that these guys have is 2nd only to undrafted players, but the undrafted players are at a disadvantage because they are less talented and because all 32 teams found 7 players for their roster that they'd rather have.
Getting drafted in the first round is great too. You get a higher paycheck, there are higher expectations for your success (which may be a good or bad thing depending on the player), and most first rounders get an immediate starting role and don't have to pass up many players on the depth chart like later round draft picks have to. There are advantages to being drafted early and late, but that isn't what this article is about.
Here are the Top 15 NFL players drafted in the 6th or 7th round.
15 Joe Schmidt
14 Bobby Mitchell
Bobby Mitchell was an incredible and extremely diverse offensive weapon. He played many positions throughout his career. He was truly an all-around football player. He played running back, inside and outside wide receiver, kick returner, and punt returner. He was drafted 84th overall in the 1958 draft. He was also drafted in the 7th round. Today, the 84th pick would only be in the 3rd round which is very respectable. It is much different than being drafted in the 7th round today, but nevertheless, he was drafted in the 6th or 7th round so he qualifies.
13 Gene Hickerson
Gene Hickerson is another Hall of Famer on this list that played way back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s when the NFL didn't have as many teams as it does today. Hickerson was a right guard so he doesn't have many any stats that were recorded back then but obviously was a great blocker because he led the way for the legendary Jim Brown. He was selected to six Pro Bowls and three All-Pro selections throughout his playing days, a feat that plenty of current NFL players would love to accomplish.
12 Rayfield Wright
11 Bob Hayes
Another Dallas Cowboy, Bob Hayes was a wide receiver that played from 1965-1975. He was drafted in both the AFL and NFL drafts. He was drafted 7th round, 88th overall in the NFL draft to the Cowboys and 105th overall in the AFL draft to the Denver Broncos. He played 10 seasons with the Cowboys and his last with 49ers, spending a grand total of 11 seasons in the NFL. His career yards per catch was 20, and in his best season, he averaged 26 yards per catch which is crazy by today's standards. He never had 100 catches in one season, but he did eclipse the 1,000 yard mark twice in his career.
10 Bobby Bell
Back in the day, Bobby Bell was a relentless pass rusher. His sack numbers aren't exact, but he had around 40 sacks in his career. The crazy part about that is he played linebacker and often dropped into coverage. He had 26 career interceptions to go along with those sacks. He even scored six TD's in addition with those other numbers. He also never missed a game in his career which speaks to his toughness and his durability which is hard to find in the NFL these days.
9 Marques Colston
Marques Colston was a very physical wide receiver. He stands 6'4" and weighs a whopping 225 pounds. Colston had been a consistent target for Drew Brees ever since entering the league in 2006. He was drafted 252 overall which was in the 7th round, which is where 7th rounders really get drafted in this day and age. He had six 1,000 yard seasons and probably still could be playing. His numbers were down last season and he was getting up there in age, so this past offseason, he decided to hang it up. He won a Super Bowl with the Saints and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame once he is eligible.
8 Matt Hasselbeck
Matt Hasselbeck finally decided it was time to walk away from the game after 17 seasons. He played for the Packers, the Seahawks (where he spent most of his career), the Titans and the Colts. He played on some great teams while he was on the Seahawks, and made the playoffs six out of the 10 seasons. He played all the way up to last season when he was 40 years old and a backup to Andrew Luck. That's usually a good indicator that it's time to go.
7 Jack Christiansen
Jack Christiansen was a ballhawk at the defensive back position. He had 46 interceptions in his very short, yet effective career. He was drafted 69th overall, which was the 6th round, by the Detroit Lions way back in 1951. He had 8 touchdowns in his eight year career, which, for a defensive back, is very good. Christiansen was a five time Pro Bowler and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970. Christiansen had 12 interceptions in 1953, which would lead the league nowadays.
6 Larry Wilson
Wilson was a defensive back for the Cardinals and he played 13 years with the franchise. He was picked as a 7th rounder which was 74th overall back in the 1960 NFL draft, a far cry from where a 7th rounder would be picked in a draft the takes place today. He was a great player but was also an executive for 14 years and a coach for one year. In Wilson's 13 years in the league, he had 52 interceptions which proves he was a ballhawk. He also recovered 14 fumbles throughout his career.
5 Donald Driver
4 Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown is still in the prime of his career and might even be getting better, which is hard to believe. He has already made the Pro Bowl four times and had 1,800 receiving yards just last season. That is 114 yards per game which is a Hall of Fame-type stat. Brown will be there one day if he keeps playing like he does. He was drafted in the 6th round, 195th overall to be exact. He likely wasn't a top draft prospect because of his lack of size but that hasn't affected him in the slightest bit in the NFL. Brown is on one of the league's best offenses and he is one of the main reasons why the Steelers are so good.
3 Shannon Sharpe
2 Terrell Davis
1 Tom Brady
Everyone knows the story of Tom Brady. He was drafted in the 6th round (199th overall) and no ever could have imagined he would turn out to be arguably the greatest quarterback and player of all time. He was photographed at the combine and looked like an average Joe. He was out of shape and his 40 yard dash looked slower than some offensive linemen. In typical Bill Belichick fashion, however, he turned him into a great.
The Patriots have been a dynasty ever since Brady took the helm and they haven't looked back. I have never been a Brady fan, but there is no denying his greatness and he has the Super Bowl victories, Pro Bowl invites and All-Pro selections to back up those claims.
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