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


It’s time for part ten in our series highlighting the best draft picks to come from rounds two through seven over the last two and a half decades.Today, we’re covering the best defenders to be selected in round six.

Defensive Tackle – Kimo von Oelhoffen, Pick 162, 1994, Cincinnati Bengals

Kimo would spend his first three seasons as a backup but came on strong in his fourth season.  He remained a mainstay of the defensive line for two years with the Bengals before signing with Pittsburgh where he began as the team’s nose tackle before being moved to defensive end.  He has played for four teams – Bengals, Steelers, Jets and Eagles.  His career stats are solid – 351 tackles, 26.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries, 12 passes defensed.

Defensive Tackle – Corey Williams, Pick 179, 2004, Green Bay Packers

Williams recently signed with Cleveland after having played his first four years in Green Bay.  He has been good if not inconsistent in his career – 118 tackles, 17 sacks, 1 int., 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 3 passes defensed.

Others – None.

Defensive End – Adalius Thomas, Pick 186, 2000, Baltimore Ravens

After two All-Pro selections and two Pro Bowls, it would seem that some NFL scouts might have failed to do their homework since Thomas would up staying on the board to the sixth round.  He played his first seven seasons in Baltimore before signing with New England last season.  The career numbers posted by Thomas are outstanding – 449 tackles, 45 sacks, 7 int., 3 TD’s, 15 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries, 3 TD’s (fumbles), 40 passes defensed.  Since coming into the league, Thomas has been moved from defensive end to linebacker.

Defensive End – Grady Jackson, Pick 193, 1997, Oakland Raiders

Here’s another player who fits the good player mold, a guy who has been a contributor but hasn’t reached a Pro Bowl level.  The stats he has posted are decent – 444 tackles, 33.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries, 26 passes defensed.  His eleven seasons have been spent in five NFL cities – Oakland, New Orleans, Green Bay, Atlanta and Jacksonville.

Others – None.

Linebacker – Greg Lloyd, Pick 150, 1987, Pittsburgh Steelers

Five Pro Bowls highlighted Lloyd’s career.  He spent the first ten of his eleven seasons in Pittsburgh as the fiery leader of their defense.  He posted a solid career stat line – 707 tackles, 54.5 sacks, 11 int., 35 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries.  He would finish out his career in Carolina playing there for one year.

Linebacker – Bryce Paup, Pick 159, 1990, Green Bay Packers

Paup moved around the league a bit – Green Bay, Buffalo, Jacksonville and Minnesota.  But he was a solid player establishing a fine reputation in Green Bay.  His career would see him go to four Pro Bowls and be named Defensive Player of the Year once.  In eleven seasons he totalled the following stats – 444 tackles, 75 sacks, 6 int., 1 TD, 1 safety, 15 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries.

Linebacker – Chris Draft, Pick 157, 1998, Chicago Bears

Draft was bounced out of both Chicago and San Francisco after just one season in each city.  He would land in Atlanta where he would become a four-year starter.  He would move on to Carolina for two years and later would wind up in St. Louis, where he’s still playing.  Career numbers  – 592 tackles, 15 sacks, 4 int., 6 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries, 13 passes defensed.

Others – None.

Cornerback – Al Harris, Pick 169, 1997, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While he might be known best for his long dred locks, he has been an excellent pro.  He had his best season in 2007 after which he was named to the Pro Bowl and was selected to the All-Pro team both for the first time.  In ten seasons, he’s put up some good numbers – 394 tackles, 3 sacks, 19 int., 3 TD’s, 2 forced fumbles, 114 passes defensed.  That’s not all bad for a guy drafted in round six who was cut prior to the season by his original team.

Cornerback – Don Griffin, Pick 162, 1986, San Francisco 49ers

In both San Francisco and Cleveland, their defenses led the league in passing defense while Griffin played for them.  His eleven years in the league produced good numbers – 465 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 25 int., 3 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries.

Others – Demarcus Faggins, Houston Texans (#173, 2002).

Safety – Cato June, Pick 198, 2003, Indianapolis Colts

He was drafted as a safety but was swtiched to outside linebacker in Indy.  He has excelled at that position.  He has made one Pro Bowl appearance and has been named All-Pro once.  June moved to Tampa Bay after four years with the Colts.  In five years he has put up some good numbers – 432 tackles, 1 sack, 11 int., 2 TD’s, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 15 passes defensed.

Others – Chris Harris, Chicago Bears (#181, 2005); Yeremiah Bell, Miami Dolphins (#213, 2003).

Tommorrow, we begin the final round of our look back at the last twenty-five NFL drafts with the best seventh-round offensive picks.