Finding talent in the late rounds of the NFL draft is a challenge for all 32 NFL teams. With each passing round, the pool of talented players gets smaller. Teams with great scouts are often able to find incredible players in these later rounds. The seventh-round is the final round in the NFL draft and the most difficult to find future stars. However, some teams have been able to find key super bowl contributors and even Hall of Famers in the seventh round. Here are the top five seventh-round picks in NFL history.
Top Five Seventh-Round Picks of All-Time
1. Shannon Sharpe, Tight End, 192nd Overall Pick
Shannon Sharpe is one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history. Sharpe made eight pro bowls (seven in a row) and won three super bowls during his hall of fame career. Sharpe also had four first-team all-pro seasons with the Denver Broncos. Sharpe’s career statistics saw him eclipse 10,000 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns in his twelve seasons. Sharpe managed to fight his way onto the Broncos’ roster as a seventh-round draft pick in 1990. By 1992, he had already appeared in a pro bowl. Sharpe contributed to the super bowl success of two franchises in his career, Denver and Baltimore, but Sharpe will always be remembered as a 10-year member of the Denver Broncos. Getting a hall of fame tight end who helped win two super bowls is a fantastic return for the Broncos’ seventh-round pick in 1990.
2. Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver, 232nd Overall Pick
Edelman joined the Patriots in 2009 as a seventh-round pick but quickly made a name for himself. Edelman had 37 receptions his rookie season for 359 yards and a touchdown. The following three seasons would see minimal usage for Edelman in the Patriots’ offense, but his hard work kept him on the Patriots’ roster. Then, in 2013, Edelman exploded for 105 receptions, 1,056 receiving yards, and six touchdowns. He continued to post similar numbers through the next five seasons having over 90 receptions three times to go with two 1,100-yard seasons. Despite these numbers, Edelman has never made a pro bowl. However, he has been a part of three super bowl championships. Being a large part of the Patriots’ long-standing dynasty makes Edelman one of the greatest seventh-round picks of all-time.
3. Marques Colston, Wide Receiver, 252nd Overall Pick
Marques Colston is another seventh-round receiver who became the top target for a legendary quarterback. Colston joined the New Orleans Saints in 2006 and immediately became Drew Brees’ favorite target. Brees targeted Colston 115 times in his rookie season resulting in 70 receptions for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns. Colston would even improve his numbers in his second season with an incredible 98 receptions for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns. Colston would go on to have another six seasons with at least 900 yards and five touchdowns including four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Despite his incredible consistency, Colston, like Edelman, never made a pro bowl appearance. Despite this, Colston is easily one of the best receivers to play in the NFL. He even helped lead the Saints to a super bowl championship. Colston will be remembered as one of the greatest seventh-round picks in NFL history and one of the greatest players to never make a pro bowl.
4. Donald Driver, Wide Receiver, 213th Overall Pick
Driver turned his seventh-round selection into a 14-year career with one of the NFL’s most storied franchises. Driver played with both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers during his Packers career. He had three pro bowl appearances and won the super bowl with Rodgers in 2010. Driver had seven 1,000-yard seasons with six coming in consecutive seasons. He finished his career with over 10,000 receiving yards and 61 touchdowns. Driver, like Edelman and Colston, joined a team with little expectations and with help from a hall of fame quarterback, had an incredible career that included a super bowl championship. Driver is another easy choice for the best seventh-round picks in NFL history.
5. Bo Jackson, Running Back, 183rd Overall Pick
Jackson had an interesting path to the NFL. Originally, Jackson got selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1986 NFL draft. However, Jackson refused to play for the Buccaneers after they would not allow him to pursue a career in baseball alongside his career in football. The following off-season, the Raiders selected Jackson in the seventh round of the 1987 NFL draft following the release of Jackson’s draft rights by Tampa Bay. The Raiders allowed Jackson to play baseball and football which led to Jackson joining the Raiders for the 1987 NFL season.
Jackson played four seasons with the Raiders and displayed incredible talent. He had the league’s longest run in three of his four seasons for 88, 91, and 92 yards. He also made the pro bowl in 1990 after rushing for 700 yards and five touchdowns in ten games. Jackson had a short career but had so much success on the ground that he is still considered one of the NFL’s greatest. Having Jackson’s talent on the field for four seasons at the cost of a seventh-round pick was a great move by the Raiders.
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