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Biggest NFL Draft Surprises of All-Time

There are several things we look forward to each NFL season: The marathon of the regular season, the drama of the Play-Offs, and the pageantry of the Super Bowl among them. However, we can also add the NFL Draft into the mix as it brings drama and excitement without anything happening on the field.

If the term “any given Sunday” is true of the NFL, it also translates to the NFL Draft, where you never know what surprises, the draft will throw up. It is also one part of the NFL calendar where sports betting fans can visit predict what will happen with individual players and their futures.

The beauty of the draft is it lives up to its name… it’s literally a lottery!

Number one picks stand more chance of making it big in the NFL, but there are no guarantees. Similarly, you can have a player with a low draft status who goes on to become a hall of famer when pro.

With that in mind, let’s look at the most surprising NFL Draft picks of all-time.

Ken Houston, S, Prairie View A&M (Ninth round 214th overall: joined the Houston Oilers) – Joining the Oilers in 1967, Ken Houston’s draft position suggested a journeyman career in the NFL at best. Instead, he became a superstar, playing 196 games and making the Pro Bowl 12 times. He moved to the Washington Redskins later in his career in exchange for five players.

Antonio Gates, TE, Kent State (Undrafted: joined San Diego Chargers in 2003) – When the chargers picked up Gates as an undrafted player (he never played college football), they had the definition of an unknown quantity. However, the forward has been a hit for the franchise, claiming 955 receptions and totaling 116 touchdowns and 11,841 yards as he helped the Chargers to eight Pro Bowl appearances.

Bart Starr, QB, Alabama (200th overall in the 17th round: joined the Green Bay Packers) – It’s fair to say the Packers were probably not expecting much from Starr when they drafted him as the 200th overall pick back in 1956. However, over a multi-year career with the franchise, the quarterback threw 24,718 passing yards, handed 152 touchdowns, and claims 138 interceptions. He was part of the team that won the first two Super Bowl’s as MVP, won the NFL championship five-times, and is in the Hall of Fame.

Deacon Jones, DE, Mississippi Valley State (186th overall in the 14th rounds: joined the Washington Redskins) — Deacon Jones seemed to be on a career path is low draft position suggested when he switched from the Redskins to the L.A. Rams. During his two-decade career in the 60s and 70s, Jones became an eight-time name in the Pro Bowl. He was also names NFL Defensive Player of the Year on two occasions.

Johnny Unitas, QB, Louisville (102nd overall in the ninth round: joined the Pittsburgh Steelers) – Unitas is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and a legend in Baltimore after leaving Pittsburgh for the Colts after the 1955 draft. With the franchise, he threw 40,239 passing yards, assisted 290 touchdowns, and claimed 253 interceptions. At team level Unitas won a Super Bowl and was a three-time NFL champion. He is now in the Hall of Fame.

Richard Dent, DE, Tennessee State (Drafted 203rd overall in the eighth round: joined the Philadelphia Eagles – Of course, despite joining the Eagles from college in 1983, Dent is best known for his time with the Chicago Bears, where he claimed 17 or more sacks for two seasons. He totaled 137.5 sacks during his career, which included two Super Bowl titles and the MVP player in one of those wins.

Tom Brady, QB, Michigan (drafted 199th in the sixth round: joined the New England Patriots) – Maybe the best football player of all-time, Brady is also the most decorated in NFL history. With that in mind, it is easy to forget he was a lowly draft pick. Six quarter backs were selected before Brady, but it was the Patriots who won the lottery. 20 years later, Brady has won the Super Bowl six times (including one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), four Super Bowl MVPs, 14 Pro Bowls, and a ton of passing records in the NFL.

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