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


Four rounds down and two to go.  We’ve been looking back at the best players selected in the NFL Draft in rounds two through seven.Today, we’re going to be looking at the best offensive players selected in round six over the last quarter century.

Center – Justin Hartwig, Pick 187, 2002, Tennessee Titans

Hartwig is one of those players referred to as “A guy.”  Considered a football player but not an outstanding one.  He’s been a serviceable player who can step in at guard or center.  He was placed into the starting lineup in his second season and couldn’t be removed.  He was dealt to Carolina after the 2005 season where he played for two years.

Others – None

Guard – Marco Rivera, Pick 208, 1996, Chicago Bears

At the risk of repeating myself, I’d like to see some official stats established for offensive linemen – pancake blocks, running yardage contributed to, sacks allowed, etc.  Because there are none, I can’t quote any fancy numbers for Rivera.  I can tell you, however, that he made the Pro Bowl three times and that he was named All-Pro twice in his eleven NFL seasons.

Guard – Rex Hadnot, Pick 174, 2004, Miami Dolphins

Another “guy” but a decent player who can step in at either guard or center.  He had been a starter for much of his last three seasons in Miami at both positions.  He was signed this offseason by Cleveland.

Offensive Tackle – Matt Birk, Pick 173, 1998, Minnesota Vikings

Birk could be the poster boy for the phrase “diamond in the rough.”  His ten seasons have been highlighted by six Pro Bowls and two All-Pro selections.  NOTE:  He has played as a center during his career but entered the draft as a tackle.

Offensive Tackle – Rob Petitti, Pick 209, 2005, Dallas Cowboys

Petitti was forced into the lineup as a rookie at right tackle and played pretty well.  He was also only the second rookie to start a season opener at the position in franchise history.  He has since played for both New Orleans and St. Louis.

Others – Jeno James, Carolina Panthers (#182, 2000).

Tight End – Jay Novacek, Pick 158, 1985, St. Louis Cardinals

Novacek spent five seasons with the Cardinals before joining the Cowboys where he would be instrumental in helping the team to three Super Bowls titles.  Thanks to an expanded role with Dallas his career would take off.  His stats are impressive – 422 receptions, 4630 yards, 30 TD’s.  Also five Pro Bowls and five All-Pro selections can be listed on his resume.

Tight End – Frank Wycheck, Pick 160, 1993, Washington Redskins

Three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro selection can be added to some solid career stats – 505 receptions, 5126 yards, 28 TD’s.  Wycheck spent all but two of his eleven seasons with the Oilers/Titans franchise and led the team in receptions three consecutive times.

Tight End – Mark Chmura, Pick 157, 1992, Green Bay Packers

He only played seven seasons in the NFL but made the most of his time – 188 receptions, 2253 yards, 17 TD’s.  He also appeared in three Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro twice.

Others – Desmond Clark, Denver Broncos (#179, 1999); Itula Mili, Seattle Seahawks (#174, 1997); Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titans (#179, 2005); Jeb Putzier, Denver Broncos (#191, 2002).

Running Back – Chester Taylor, Pick 207, 2002, Baltimore Ravens

Taylor spent his time in Baltimore backing up Jamal Lewis.  But it was his production between 2004-05 that led to the Vikings pursuing him in free agency.  Between his two stops over his six seasons he has combined for 833 carries, 3659 yards, 17 TD’s, 176 receptions, 1306 yards, 3 TD’s.  He’s now Adrian Peterson’s backup.  He’s been a solid pro but he’ll be locked on the bench for a long time if he stays in Minnesota.

Running Back – Mike Anderson, Pick 189, 2000, Denver Broncos

Anderson came on in his rookie season with a huge year gaining nearly 1500 yards and scoring 15 TD’s.  His career has cooled since then but he did manage another 1000 yard season in 2005 prior to being signed as a free agent by Baltimore.

Others – Adrian Peterson, Chicago Bears (#199, 2002); Cedric Houston, New York Jets (#182, 2005); Fred Beasley, San Francisco 49ers (#180, 1998); Wali Lundy, Houston Texans (#170, 2006); Lamont Warren, Indianapolis Colts (#164, 1994).

Fullback – Cory Schlesinger, Pick 192, 1995, Detroit Lions

Schlesinger is a bruiser who made the All Madden Team once and was also a Pro Bowl alternate three times.  He made a name for himself blocking in Detroit for Barry Sanders.

Others – None

Wide Receiver – Mark Jackson, Pick 161, 1986, Denver Broncos

Jackson will always be remembered for one thing – making a sliding catch in the end zone on what is referred to as “The Drive” to beat Cleveland in the 1987 AFC Championship Game.  He had some decent stats in his nine seasons – 342 receptions, 5551 yards, 29 TD’s.

Others – Clarence Moore, Baltimore Ravens (#199, 2004); David Tyree, New York Giants (#211, 2003).

Quarterback – Tom Brady, Pick 1999, 2000, New England Patriots

What can be said about Tom Brady that hasn’t already been said?  The 2007 season was absolutely incredible, virtually a circus, as he set passing records galore.  After three Super Bowl titles, one league MVP, four Pro Bowls, two All-Pro selections and two Super Bowl MVP trophies, it’s hard to add to it.  Some have called him a product of the system in New England but he’s made every type of throw a QB can be asked to make.  And his stats speak for themselves – 3642 attempts, 2294 completions, 26,370 yards, 197 TD’s, 86 int.  He’s only eight seasons into his career and he’s got a while to go.

Quarterback – Matt Hasselbeck, Pick 187, 1998, Green Bay Packers

He was likely never going to get on the field in Green Bay with Brett Favre starting.  So, when he landed in Seattle he got his chance.  Since that time he’s been very solid.  Hasselbeck’s career numbers – 3138 attempts, 1904 completions, 22,333 yards, 142 TD’s, 84 int.  Add to that a Super Bowl appearance, three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro selection and he’s had a very good career.

Quarterback – Marc Bulger, Pick 168, 2000, New Orleans Saints

Bulger got bounced around for a year after being drafted by New Orleans.  He finally signed on in St. Louis in 2001.  Due to injuries at QB, Bulger finally got on the field late that season going 6-0 in games he started.  He took over as the full-time starter the next season.  He might be known best as the quarterback taken ahead of Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.  But his stats don’t lie – 2484 attempts, 1578 completions, 18,625 yards, 106 TD’s, 74 int.  Add to that two Pro Bowl appearances and Bulger has had a solid career.

Others – Derek Anderson, Baltimore Ravens (#213, 2005); Mark Rypien, Washington Redskins (#146, 1986); Steve Bono, Minnesota Vikings (#142, 1985).

Tomorrow we’ll complete round six with the best defenders selected over the last twenty-five years.