We are down to the final round – the seventh round.
So often, we consider these to be throw-away picks. But take a look at the list of the best offensive players selected in the last twenty-five years in the seventh round. It shows us that some excellent players can come from any part of the draft.
Center – Tom Nalen, Pick 218, 1994, Denver Broncos
Nalen has played his entire fourteen-year career with the Broncos. He spent some time in 2007 on injured reserve. It was prior to that that the team relied on him as their center. Behind his blocking, the Broncos have had six different running back rush for over 1000 yards. He has five Pro Bowls and two Super Bowl rings in his career.
Others – Tom Nutten, Buffalo Bills (#221, 1995).
Guard – Adam Timmerman, Pick 230, 1995, Green Bay Packers
Timmerman retired recently but he had one heck of a ride in his career. He spent time in Green Bay and St. Louis going to four Super Bowls and winning two. He was named to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team after the 2001 season.
Guard – David Szott, Pick 180, 1990, Kansas City Chiefs
He spent fourteen seasons in the league between Kansas City, Washington and New York (Jets). Szott was a solid player who was never voted to a Pro Bowl.
Others – None.
Offensive Tackle – Shane Olivea, Pick 209, 2004, San Diego Chargers
He slid down draft boards all around the league due medical concerns. The Chargers haven’t minded one bit since he has started 31 of 32 games since joining the team. This kid is on his way and might see some action in Honolulu before his playing days are over.
Offensive Tackle – Mark Tauscher, Pick 224, 2000, Green Bay Packers
Since suffering an injury in 2002 and making a comeback to play the following season, Tauscher has not missed a start. He’s a good, if not spectacular player who receives little fanfare or attention but a major reason for the success of the Packers’ offensive resurgence.
Others – Trey Teague, Denver Broncos (#200, 1998).
Tight End – Eric Johnson, Pick 224, 2001, San Francisco 49ers
Anderson has had an up and down career. He’s missed two seasons due to injury while also leading the Niners in receptions with 82 catches in another. He moved on to New Orleans where he struggled and was eventually replaced in the lineup. He’s a promising player who has just never performed up to potential.
Others – Clarence Kay, Denver Broncos (#186, 1984); Jed Weaver, Philadelphia Eagles (#208, 1999); Courtney Anderson, Oakland Raiders (#245, 2004); Jay Riemersma, Buffalo Bills (#244, 1996).
Running Back – Bo Jackson, Pick 183, 1987, Oakland Raiders
Jackson went a strange route to be drafted twice. He was originally drafted by the Buccaneers first overall in 1986. He turned down the money to play baseball. The Bucs forfeited his rights since he didn’t sign with another team prior to the next draft and the Raiders took him in the seventh round. Bo knew baseball and football but a terrible hip injury ended his career in 1991. His final stats aren’t so bad for a guy who played as a backup – 515 carries, 2782 yards, 16 TD’s, 40 receptions, 352 yards, 2 TD’s.
Running Back – Kelvin Bryant, Pick 196, 1983, Washington Redskins
This may be a form of cheating including Bryant since he was only drafted this late because he had just come from his playing time in the USFL. Maybe not. Still, Bryant was viewed as a third-down back in the NFL even though he had helped the Stars to two titles in the USFL and had won a league MVP title. After joining the ‘Skins, he would play only five seasons due to injuries. His final numbers – 260 carries, 1186 yards, 6 TD’s, 154 receptions, 1634 yards, 14 TD’s.
Others – Patrick Pass, New England Patriots (#239, 2000); Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (#250, 2007).
Wide Receiver – T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Pick 204, 2001, Bengals
A Pro Bowl says he shouldn’t have lasted this long. Leading the league in receptions in 2007 confirms it. Housh’ has been a very good compliment to Chad Johnson in Cincinnati. Over his career of seven years he has solid numbers – 415 receptions, 4878 yards, 33 TD’s.
Wide Receiver – Donald Driver, Pick 213, 1999, Green Bay Packers
Another player who should have been taken much earlier. Three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro selection are mong his career achievements. After only three catches in his rookie season, Driver started to pick it up and in his last six seasons he has been excellent. His total haul – 503 receptions, 6977 yards, 38 TD’s.
Wide Receiver – Michael Haynes, Pick 166, 1988, Atlanta Falcons
He may always be in the shadow of Andre Rison who was his teammate in Atlanta but he was a solid player. Haynes had a very nice stat line in his ten years in the league – 428 receptions, 6588 yards, 47 TD’s.
Others – Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (#252, 2006); David Givens, New England Patriots (#253, 2002); Patrick Crayton, Dallas Cowboys (#216, 2004).
Quarterback – Gus Frerotte, Pick 197, 1994, Washington Redskins
Frerotte has been a backup for much of his career following his time in Wasington. He’s been around the block a time or two – Washington, Detroit, Denver, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Miami, St. Louis and now back to Minnesota. If nothing else, he’s gotten to see the country. His career stats – 2805 attempts, 1521 completions, 19,134 yards, 102 TD’s, 91 int.
Others – Tim Rattay, San Francisco 49ers (#212, 2000); Ryan Fitzpatrick, St. Louis Rams (#250, 2005).
Tomorrow, we’ll wrap it all up with the best defensive players selected over the last quarter century in the seventh round.