The Last 25 Years: Best Fifth-Round Picks – Offense


It’s day two of the NFL Draft.  Quick!  Who do you take?  Is it even that important?We hope that part seven of our series will help to prove the importance of hitting on these second-day picks.

Today, we cover the best offensive players selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft over the last twenty-five years.

Center – Dan Koppen, Pick 164, 2003, New England Patriots

Koppen stepped into the center spot as a rookie when Damien Woody was injured.  He hasn’t relinquished the spot since.  He has made the Pro Bowl once already and has been named to the All-Pro team once.

Others – Geoff Hangartner, Carolina Panthers (#169, 2005); Matt Lehr, Dallas Cowboys (#137, 2001).

Guard – Benji Olson, Pick 139, 1998, Tennessee Oilers

Olson has been a steady player.  He has started 140 games in the middle since being drafted by the Oilers (Titans now, of course).  He also played in 85 consecutive games but injuries cut his career short retiring recently.

Guard – Jake Scott, Pick 141, 2004, Indianapolis Colts

Ironically, Scott might be the guy to take Olson’s place in Tennessee.  He was recently signed by the Titans.  Prior to that he had started nine games in his rookie season and hadn’t left the starting lineup since then.

Others – David Diehl, New York Giants (#160, 2003).

Offensive Tackle – Tutan Reyes, Pick 131, 2000, New Orleans Saints

Here’s a guy who has gotten around the NFL block a time or two.  After two seasons with the Saints, he moved on to Carolina where he stayed until 2005.  One season in Buffalo then preceded his current home of Jacksonville.

Offensive Tackle – Marques Sullivan, Pick 144, 2001, Buffalo Bills

Another well-travelled player, Sullivan has played for Buffalo, New York Giants and New England.  He helped to contribute to the Pro Bowl seasons of Travis Henry and Drew Bledsoe.

Others – None.

Tight End – Ben Coates, Pick 124, 1991, New England Patriots

Five Pro Bowls and selection to the All-90’s team highlight Coates’ career.  He also put up some nice numbers – 499 catches, 5555 yards, 50 TD’s.  His career took him from New England to Baltimore for 2000, his last season in the league.

Others – Jerame Tuman, Pittsburgh Steelers (#136, 1999); Kevin Boss, New York Giants (#153, 2007).

Running Back – Herschel Walker, Pick 114, 1985, Dallas Cowboys

Walker was the poster child for the USFL.  Because the Cowboys didn’t see that league lasting, they used their fifth-round choice to get his rights.  He might be best known as the center piece of a mega-trade put together by Jimmy Johnson.  The ‘Boys got five players in return.  Walker’s accomplishments in his career are solid – 1954 carries, 8225 yards, 61 TD’s, 512 receptions, 4859 yards, 21 TD’s.

Running Back – Michael Turner, Pick 154, 2004, San Diego Chargers

He played in the shadows of LaDainian Tomlinson and sat on the bench behind him too but will get his chance to shine starting next year in Atlanta.  Turner’s numbers have always been good when he got the chance to shine (witness his career 5.5 avg. per carry).

Others – Dave Meggett, New York Giants (#132, 1989); Brian Mitchell, Washington Redskins (#130, 1990); Larry Centers, Phoenix Cardinals (#115, 1990).

Wide Receiver – D.J. Hackett, Pick 157, 2004, Seattle Seahawks

Hackett may have yet to make a Pro Bowl but he’ll have a chance lined up across from Steve Smith in Carolina.  He was solid in Seattle – 105 receptions, 1394 yards, 9 TD’s.  His career numbers would be much better had he not suffered several injuries.

Wide Receiver – Justin Gage, Pick 143, 2003, Chicago Bears

Gage seemed to break out in Tennessee after moving on from Chicago.  His 55 catches last season was the best season of his career.  Maybe now is when he’ll begin to step it up.

Others – Doug Gabriel, Oakland Raiders (#167, 2003); Drew Carter, Carolina Panthers (#163, 2004).

Quarterback – Mark Brunell, Pick 118, 1993, Green Bay Packers

Brunell has seen three NFL cities up close – Green Bay, Jacksonville and Washington.  He’s had a good career having made three Pro Bowl appearances including one Pro Bowl MVP award.  His career numbers have been solid – 4594 attempts, 2738 completions, 31,826 yards, 182 TD’s, 106 int.

Others – None.

Tomorrow, we’ll get a close look at the best fifth-round defensive selections of the last quarter century.