Cherry pick: Late round drafting has given way to greatness

04/29/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak

All eyes are on who each teams first round pick in the each years NFL Draft is. Sometimes those first round picks, and the other early round picks behind them go on to become NFL superstars. Some turn out to be major busts. But it's the later rounds of the NFL draft that have provided some of the greatest players in NFL history. Lets take a look at five of the best late round picks in the past 25 years.
5) Matt Birk
Taken in the 6th round of the 1998 draft by the Minnesota Vikings out of Harvard, Matt Birk became one of the best centers in recent NFL history. Birk would make 6 Pro Bowl appearances in his 11 seasons with the Vikings. He's play 4 more seasons with Baltimore, and retired after winning the Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2013.

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4) Robert Mathis
Selected in the 5th round of the 2003 draft out of Alabama A&M by the Indianapolis Colts, Mathis is still adding to what's been a stellar NFL career. Mathis has been to the Pro Bowl on 6 occasions, was the AFC Defensive Player of the year in 2013, and won a Super Bowl with the Colts in 2007. Mathis also is the Colts all time leader in quarterback sacks with 111 so far in his career. Mathis missed last season due to injury, but will be back on the field with the Colts in 2015.
3) Terrell Davis
Picked in the 6th round of the 1995 NFL draft after a less than eye opening career at the University of Georgia, Davis became one of the best running backs of the 1990's in the NFL. Davis rushed for over 1,000 yards in 4 of his 7 seasons with Denver, and all four seasons he played in at least 14 games. Davis also rushed for 2,008 yards in the 1998 season. Davis was selected to 3 Pro Bowls, was the 2 time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, was the NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP in 1998. Davis was a part of 2 Super Bowl teams in Denver, was named to the NFL's All Decade Team for the 1990's, and is the Broncos all time career rushing leader.
2) Shannon Sharpe
Coming out of Savannah State University, Sharpe was picked in the 7th round of the 1990 draft by the Denver Broncos. Sharpe was selected to the Pro Bowl 8 times. He also was a part of 3 Super Bowl winning teams, and was named to the NFL's All 1990's Decade Team. Sharpe played his first 10 seasons in Denver, before moving on to Baltimore in 2000. He'd play 2 seasons for the Ravens before returning to the Broncos for his final 2 NFL seasons. Sharpe was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2011.
1) Tom Brady
Brady was drafted by New England in the 6th round of the 2000 draft after being the starting quarterback at the University of Michigan the previous two seasons. He backed up Drew Bledsoe in his first NFL season, and got his first NFL start the next season because Bledsoe was injured. The rest is history, or in Brady's case, history still in the making. Brady is a 4 time Super Bowl Champion and has been the Super Bowl MVP 3 times. He's been selected to 10 Pro Bowls, has led the NFL in passing touchdowns 3 times and passing yards twice. He was also the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year and NFL MVP twice. Brady was also named to the NFL's All Decade Team for the 2000's. Brady will try win his 5th Super Bowl and add to his sure fire hall of fame career when he's back under center for the Patriots this fall.

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