x
Breaking News
More () »

Maine's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Maine | NewsCenterMaine.com

10 of the NFL Draft's greatest steals

From Tom Brady to Joe Montana, these are the guys picked later in the NFL Draft who made every team that skipped them have regrets down the road.

"With the first pick in the NFL Draft" is the start of a sentence that has fans holding their breaths. Will this guy that Roger Goodell is about to name be the one who takes our team to the promised land?

Quite often, it turns out to be the 100th pick, the 152nd pick, the 212th pick that is the one which changes a franchise's fortunes.

Here are 10 of the biggest NFL Draft steals in history -- the ones who made every team that skipped them look like fools.

Tom Brady

6th Round - 2000 - New England Patriots

He will eventually retire with the most Super Bowl appearances (10), wins (7), and MVPs (5) -- and counting -- of any quarterback in history. Those are big reasons why many call him the greatest of all time. Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in the second game of the 2001 season and led the Patriots to six Lombardi trophies. Then in 2020, despite a limited training camp and no preseason due to COVID-19, he led his new team, Tampa Bay, to a blowout over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. He's also on the NFL's 100th anniversary team.

Credit: AP
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady holds up the Vince Lombardi trophy after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 to win the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)


Richard Dent

8th Round - 1983 - Chicago Bears

A Hall of Fame defensive end, Dent remains in the top 10 in league history in career sacks. He helped the Bears' crushing "46" defense to a 15-1 season and the Super Bowl championship in 1985. He's one of the rare defensive players to win Super Bowl MVP honors.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 1988, file photo, Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent (95) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Vinny Testaverde in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Chicago. A U.S. appeals court has revived a lawsuit against the NFL by former players, including Dent, who claim the league illegally plied them with powerful prescription painkillers to keep them on the field. (AP Photo/John Swart, File)

Joe Montana

3rd Round - 1979 - San Francisco 49ers

Now in the Hall of Fame, the Notre Dame product joined Terry Bradshaw as the only two quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls (until Brady showed up). While he didn't always put up the biggest numbers, he was known for playing his best in the biggest moments (see the final drive of Super Bowl XXIII). Named to NFL's 1980s team of the decade and 100th anniversary team.

Credit: AP
San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Joe Montana, returning to action after two years, eyes downfield, Monday, Dec. 28, 1992 in San Francisco during second-half action against the Detroit Lions in Candlestick Park. Montana was 15 of 21 for 126 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Niners to a 24-6 win over the Lions. (AP Photo/Liz Mangelsdorf)

Aaron Rodgers

1st Round - 2005 - Green Bay Packers

It may seem odd to put a first-round draft pick on this list, but it really was a steal for Green Bay to get this future Hall of Famer at No. 24. The 49ers took Alex Smith No. 1 overall and Rodgers slid... and slid... and slid. Twenty-one teams (including two with two picks in the first round) passed on the eventual three-time league MVP, Super Bowl XLV MVP and member over the 2010's All-Decade team.

Credit: AP
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers passes during the first half of the NFC championship NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Shannon Sharpe

7th Round - 1990 - Denver Broncos

This Hall of Famer was the epitome of how the position has changed in recent years. He was first tight end to surpass 10,000 yards receiving. Sharpe helped the Broncos to their first two Super Bowl titles and the Baltimore Ravens to their first championship.

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Denver Broncos' Shannon Sharpe catches a pass for a touchdown in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2002, in Kansas City, Mo. Sharpe had 214 total yards receiving in the Broncos' 37-34 overtime win. (AP Photo/Larry W. Smith)

Richard Sherman

5th Round - 2011 - Seattle Seahawks

Passed by many coaches including his former coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh, Sherman used that as motivation. The huge chip on his shoulder helped propel him to become arguably the best cornerback of his time. He is a 3-time First Team All-Pro and was named to the NFL's All-Decade team of the 2010s. After seven seasons with Seattle's "Legion Of Boom" and three with the San Francisco 49ers, Sherman is a free agent ahead of the 2021 draft.

Credit: AP
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (25) intercepts a pass in front of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Bart Starr

17th Round - 1956 - Green Bay Packers

You read that right -- 17th round. Back then, the game was more about running than passing, which may explain why he fell so far. But the Hall of Famer still delivered. He helped the Packers to five NFL championships and titles in the first two Super Bowls.

Credit: AP
Bart Starr, veteran quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League, who announced, July 23, 1971 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, he will undergo surgery on his throwing arm next Wednesday, is shown demonstrating his passing technique in an earlier practice session in August 1971. (AP Photo)

Roger Staubach

10th Round - 1964 - Dallas Cowboys

This Hall of Famer had the rare distinction of being drafted by two leagues in the same year. He was also drafted in the 16th round by the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League (before the leagues merged). After winning the Heisman Trophy at Navy, Staubach served four years including a tour in Vietnam before returning to football. Staubach led the Cowboys to four NFC championships and two Super Bowl titles. He was named to the league's all-decade team of the 1970s and the 100th anniversary team.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 1972, file photo, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (12) tries to escape the grasp of Miami Dolphins defender Jim Riley (70) during Super Bowl VI in New Orleans, La. Staubach, voted the game's most valuable player, completed 12 of 19 passes for 119 yards and two TDs. (AP Photo/File)

Mike Webster

5th Round - 1974 - Pittsburgh Steelers

When you are the center for the NFL's 1970s team of the decade and the 1980's team of the decade, plus make the league's 100th anniversary team, and make the Hall of Fame, then you make this list. Webster won four Super Bowl titles with the Steelers.

Credit: AP
Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster breaks between plays during the 1988 season. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Russell Wilson

3rd Round - 2012 - Seattle Seahawks

Seen as undersized (5-foot 11-inches), Wilson slid down the draft list then won the starting job as a rookie in the preseason. He helped the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory the next year and came within one goal-line interception of a second title. Wilson holds the NFL record for most regular season wins by a quarterback in his first nine seasons (98) and he holds the record for most consecutive winning seasons to start a career (9). In 2020, he was presented with the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for his work off the field.

Credit: AP
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson reacts after throwing the game winning touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 27-26. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)