NFL Draft steals

McCardell in the 12th?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

With the draft approaching, last week we looked at some of the biggest busts in NFL history. This week, we’ll run down some of the greatest steals in the last 20 years.

Marques Colston, WR, Hofstra. Round 7, 2006 " Most receivers struggle in their rookie seasons, but Colston isn’t like most receivers. The 6’4”, 231-pound monster notched over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns last year.

Tom Brady, QB, Michigan. Round 6, 2000 " With an arm as potent as his sperm, Brady subbed for an injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001 to win a league title. Just 29 years old, the likely Hall of Famer already owns three rings and two Super Bowl MVP awards.

Zach Thomas, MLB, Texas Tech. Round 5, 1996 " 1,500 tackles, 17 interceptions, four touchdowns, seven Pro Bowls. This undersized sparkplug is a leader and the ultimate warrior; he’s played in 163 of a possible 176 games. Thomas alone has almost made a decade’s worth of sloppy AFC East matchups bearable. Almost.

Terrell Davis, RB, Georgia. Round 6, 1995 " We could give TD his own Lineup just to list all his accolades. Though the two-time world champ’s career was cut short by injuries, he absolutely owned the NFL from 1996-98, in which he averaged 1,765 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s also the only 2,000-yard rusher in NFL history with braces.

Rodney Harrison, SS, Western Illinois. Round 5, 1994 " He’s become more of a household name since joining the Patriots in 2003, but Harrison has been terrorizing offences for years. Harrison earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s toughest " and dirtiest " players while toiling in San Diego. As physical as they get, Harrison has had seven 100-tackle seasons and sacked the quarterback more than any defensive back in NFL history.

Tom Nalen, C, Boston College. Round 7, 1994 " The undersized, five-time Pro Bowler is scrappy and one of the league’s ultimate iron men; since his rookie season, Nalen has missed just 10 of a possible 192 games. He’s anchored Denver’s offensive line for over a decade.

Keenan McCardell, WR, UNLV. Round 12, 1992 " McCardell caught just 24 passes in his first three seasons, but he more than made up for that slow start, finishing with 861 receptions, 11,117 yards and 62 touchdowns. He won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers and helped the expansion Jaguars quickly emerge as a competitive franchise.

Shannon Sharpe, TE, Savannah State. Round 7, 1990 " Arguably the best tight end in NFL history, Sharpe’s impressive stat line of 815 catches, 10,060 yards and 62 touchdowns is bolstered by three Super Bowl rings. Now, if only we could figure out what the hell he’s saying on The NFL Today.

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