The Eagles didn’t select Carter until the fourth round of the 1987 draft. Little did they know that they had a future Hall of Famer on their hands. It took Carter a season to become a starter after sitting out for most of his rookie year. But then he began producing at a high level.
Carter was a phenomenal talent with the most NFL receptions in 1994. Meanwhile, he led the league in receiving touchdowns on three occasions. It’s a shame that he never won a Super Bowl ring but he still had a great career. His eight Pro Bowl appearances attest to that (via Sportscasting).
There’s no denying that Sherman was one of the biggest steals of the past 20 years. He wasn’t even Stanford’s most heralded player in 2011. But the Seahawks pulled off a coup when they made their fifth-round selection. They didn’t realize how good he was.
The cornerback played a central role in their Super Bowl win. He was one of the leaders of “The Legion of Boom” and a true juggernaut. Some NFL players throw all of the scouting metrics out of the window It’s safe to say that Sherman was one of these (via The Athletic).
Former Tampa star Lynch was a phenomenal player. The defensive end played a key role in the run to their first Super Bowl win. Incredibly, they didn’t select him until the third round of the 1993 draft after he flirted with baseball. Then he became one of the best players in the league.
Lynch earned nine Pro Bowl selections because of his amazing consistency. It’s bizarre that he fell so low in the draft because the writing was on the wall. In the end, Tampa benefited from their pick before he moved to Denver. What a run it was (via Tampa Bay Times).
It’s possible to argue that Patrick Mahomes was not a major draft steal. But let’s go further back in time and look at one of the Chiefs’ best picks ever. Allen was a fantastic defensive end after he arrived from Idaho State in 2004. However, they didn’t select him until the fourth round.
Allen proved that he was far better than his lowly draft status suggested. He became a consistent presence on the Chiefs’ team before a trade to the Vikings. The five-time Pro Bowler led the NFL in sacks in two seasons. Only time will tell if he makes the Hall of Fame (via Clutch Points).
Everybody knew that Hill wasn’t a true fifth-round pick when it came to raw ability. However, his off-the-field problems meant that many teams didn’t want to touch him. After all, domestic assault is a bad look. But the Chiefs didn’t have such qualms and selected him late in the day.
Their gamble paid off because he blossomed into one of the NFL’s best receivers. He helped the franchise win their first Super Bowl in 50 years. Meanwhile, the five-time Pro Bowler’s production is next level. Now one of the NFL’s greatest draft steals plays for the Dolphins (via Sporting News).
Now it’s laughable that Wilson was a third-round pick in 2012 but there were genuine doubts over his height. He was impressive for the Wisconsin Badgers but his short stature drew significant criticism. The Seahawks also felt the heat after their selection (via Sportskeeda).
Many analysts believed it was a pointless choice. After all, they had Matt Flynn on their books too. Then, Wilson silenced his doubters as he emerged as one of the league’s most consistent quarterbacks. He helped them win a Super Bowl and should have had another.
Montana is the second-most successful quarterback in NFL history. Before Tom Brady came along he was unquestionably the greatest. However, the 49ers didn’t select him until relatively late in the draft. They used a third-round pick to bring ‘Joe Cool’ to the Golden State.
They reaped the rewards because his abilities were remarkable. Montana had a magnificent career with the 49ers before a short spell with the Chiefs. He won four Super Bowl rings with three MVP awards. It’s crazy but Montana was one of the biggest steals ever (via Sportskeeda).
We’ve tried to keep this list relatively recent, but Starr is worthy of a place. He declared for the Draft in 1956. There were fewer teams back then but a ridiculous number of rounds. When the Packers finally selected the legendary quarterback it was in the 17th round (via Franchise Sports).
This made him the 200th selected player of the year. Starr was one of five future Hall of Famers that year. He helped his franchise win the first two installments of the Super Bowl. It’s no exaggeration to say that he was one of the NFL’s first true stars.
Sharpe belied his lowly seventh-round status with one of the most iconic careers ever. The tight end won three Super Bowl rings and retired with the most receptions by a tight end in NFL history. It’s amazing in hindsight that he fell as low as he did after a great career at Savannah State.
However, scouts didn’t rate him highly because of his size. The Broncos gambled on him with a late selection and he quickly repaid him. After transitioning from receiver to tight end, he defined the position. He was also very influential for the Ravens (via Washington Times).
Could anybody else top this list? Brady is arguably the greatest NFL player of all time. With his longevity and seven Super Bowl rings, his legacy outshines everybody else’s. Meanwhile, he’s also the biggest steal in history. That’s because the Patriots selected him in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.
They used the 199th overall pick to select the former Michigan quarterback. Nobody expected much from him. But an opportunity arose after Drew Bledsoe’s injury that season. Suddenly, Brady became the starter and he never allowed it to slip (via Business Insider).