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
Schmidt was a linebacker way back in the day. He was born in 1932 which makes him 84 years old. He went to Pitt and got drafted by the Lions in the 7th round. The NFL didn't have as many teams in 1953, the year he was drafted, so he was selected as the 85th pick. In his career, he had 24 interceptions and three touchdowns, which is impressive for anyone and exceptional for a linebacker. He played his entire career with the Detroit Lions. Schmidt was also a coach for six seasons. When Schmidt played, tackles were not recorded so you can't look at those numbers, but I'm sure they would be impressive. Although he played so long ago, he was a great player and needs to be on this list. After all, he is a Hall of Famer.
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.
Most people reading this never got to see Mitchell play, including myself, but I could only imagine he was impressive since he is a Hall of Famer. He had 65 touchdowns and 7,954 yards in his legendary career. This was all accomplished in 11 seasons.
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.
He was drafted 78th overall which was a 7th round selection when he was an active player. He played for the Browns throughout his whole career and is regarded as one of their best offensive linemen in history.
12 Rayfield Wright
Wright was drafted in the 7th round and was the 182nd overall pick in the 1967 NFL draft. This is much more like what the draft is like today. Wright was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He was a right tackle and was a part of a great offensive line. He was selected to six Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls. Many regard Wright as one of the best offensive linemen to ever wear an NFL jersey, as proven by his HOF induction. He even had a couple of catches in his career when he lined up as a tight end. That must have been a sight to see a 255-pound player catching and running for a 15 yard gain.
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.
His rookie and sophomore seasons were easily his best. He scored 12 and 13 touchdowns, respectively, and had 1,000 yards in each. He was a great player after those seasons as well, but his numbers did dip. He is also in the Hall of Fame.
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.
Bell was drafted 56th overall in the AFL draft which was the 7th round, and turned that into a Hall of Fame, and Super Bowl career. Bell is one of the greatest to ever play for the Chiefs, and one of the best players ever period.
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.
He is somewhat of an underrated piece to the Saints' Super Bowl puzzle of a few seasons ago.
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.
He was drafted by the Packers in the 6th round but he never started for them and ended up going to the Seahawks in his third season. He was the 187th pick in the 1998 NFL draft. Still staying around the game, Hasselback is now a football analyst.
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.
After his playing career, he was also a coach for many teams, both in college and the NFL. He coached the San Francisco 49ers, Colorado State, Stanford, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Atlanta Falcons. He has had a very impressive career.
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.
He was extremely valuable for the Cardinals, which means they got great value out of their 7th round pick. Wilson is a Hall of Famer and made the Pro Bowl eight of his 13 seasons.
5 Donald Driver
Donald Driver was one of Brett Favre's favorite targets, as he played his whole career with the Packers. He was also a fan favorite and rightfully so. He put up great numbers in Green Bay. He had 61 total career touchdowns and it was done with hard work and a great attitude. The fact that he turned himself from a 7th round pick, 213th overall into a Super Bowl winner and a 3x Pro Bowler is a testament to his work ethic. Driver had over 10,000 receiving yards over the course of his career. Driver also had three playoff touchdowns and was a clutch player throughout the postseason. Driver retired in 2012 but I'm sure he would love playing with Aaron Rodgers in today's NFL.
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.
He's undoubtedly taken the title of the best receiver in the NFL.
3 Shannon Sharpe
Shannon Sharpe is one of the greatest tight ends of all time. He played on three Super Bowl winning teams, made 8 Pro Bowls and is in the hall of fame. He played for the Broncos for 12 of his 14 years and finished his career in Baltimore with the Ravens. Sharpe had 62 touchdowns and 10,000 yards in his career which is great for any wide receiver, but for a tight end is outstanding. Not to mention, Sharpe was also a strong blocker in the run game as well. He is a player that almost any pass catching tight end wants to model themselves after. Not to mention the work it must have taken to make your team notice you after getting drafted in the 7th round with the 192nd overall pick. He is very deserving everything he earned in his career.
2 Terrell Davis
Terrell Davis was such a great player. To make what he accomplished even more outstanding is that he had to play through migraines throughout his career. During the Super Bowl, Davis dealt with a terrible migraine but he went out on the field and was used as a diversion to help the rest of the offense. Davis was a true competitor who won on the highest level, no matter how he was feeling, as he knew headaches would be temporary but the glory of a Super Bowl would last forever. He had a short career, only from age 23-29 but when he played, he was amazing. He even rushed for 2,000 yards one season. Imagine what the 6th round 196th pick could have done if it weren't for his migraines?
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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