After taking a look at the worst first-round picks at each position since 2000, let’s move on to the opposite end of the spectrum: the best later-round picks at each position since 2000.

The later rounds are players that were drafted in Rounds 5-7. Listed after each player’s name is the round they were drafted and the selection they were taken with.


  • Quarterback - Tom Brady, 2000 (sixth - 199)

  • The only six-time Super Bowl winner in league history, Brady’s legendary career includes three MVP trophies, four Super Bowl MVPs, 14 Pro Bowl nods, an incredible 219-64 regular-season record as a starter, 74,571 passing yards, and 541 passing touchdowns.

Notables - Marc Bulger, 2000 (sixth, 168th), Matt Cassel, 2005 (seventh, 230th), Ryan Fitzpatrick, 2005 (seventh, 250th), Tyrod Taylor, 2011 (sixth, 180th), Gardner Minshew, 2019 (sixth, 178th)

  • Running back - Michael Turner, 2004 (fifth, 154th)

Stuck behind LaDainian Tomlinson to start his career, Turner really blossomed once he joined the Falcons.

He had 60 rushing scores in his last five seasons and have over 1,300 rushing yards in three of those years.

  • Running back - Alfred Morris, 2012 (sixth, 173rd)

Morris had one of the more remarkable rookie seasons for a running back as he totaled 1,613 yards on the ground to go with 13 scores for the Redskins. He never quite reached those heights again, but he did run for another 2,349 yards and 15 touchdowns over the following two years.

Notables - Mike Anderson, 2000 (sixth, 189th), Chester Taylor, 2002 (sixth, 207th), Ahmad Bradshaw, 2007 (seventh, 250th), Latavius Murray, 2013 (sixth, 181st), Jordan Howard, 2016 (fifth, 150th), Aaron Jones, 2017 (fifth, 182nd), Chris Carson, 2017 (seventh, 249th)

  • Wide receiver - Antonio Brown, 2010 (sixth, 195th)

Putting all his off-the-field issues to the side, Brown has been one of the league’s most prolific receivers ever.

He recorded over 100 receptions every season from 2013-18, twice led the league in receiving yards, and has been a First-Team All-Pro four times.

  • Wide receiver - Julian Edelman, 2009 (seventh, 232nd)

A member of three New England teams that won the Super Bowl, Edelman was named Super Bowl LIII MVP. He has 118 receptions in 19 career playoff games and has gone over 1,000 yards three times in the regular season.

Notables - Dante Hall, 2000 (fifth, 153rd), T.J. Houshmandzadeh, 2001 (seventh, 204th), Marques Colston, 2006 (seventh, 252nd), Pierre Garçon, 2008 (sixth, 205th), Stevie Johnson, 2008 (seventh, 224th), Marvin Jones, 2012 (fifth, 166th), Kenny Stills, 2013 (fifth, 144th), Stefon Diggs, 2015 (fifth, 146th), Tyreek Hill, 2016 (fifth, 165th), Darius Slayton, 2019 (fifth, 171st)

  • Tight end - George Kittle, 2017 (fifth, 146th)

In 2018, Kittle set a new record for tight ends as he finished with 1,377 yards receiving.

A superb blocker as well, he already has 216 catches for 2,945 yards over his first three seasons.

Notables - Delanie Walker, 2006 (sixth, 175th), Brent Celek, 2007 (fifth, 162nd), Charles Clay, 2011 (sixth, 174th)

  • Tackle - David Diehl, 2003 (fifth, 160th)

While he split time during his career between guard and tackle, Diehl started at left tackle during both of his Super Bowl wins with the Giants. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in the 2009 season.

  • Tackle - Mark Tauscher, 2000 (seventh, 224th)

Tauscher spent his entire 11-year career with Green Bay starting 132 of the 134 games he appeared in. According to the Packers’ website, he was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame on July 21, 2018.

Notables - Kevin Shaffer, 2002 (seventh, 244th), Jeromey Clary, 2006 (sixth, 187th), Charlie Johnson, 2006 (sixth, 199th), Zach Strief, 2006 (seventh, 210th), Marcus Cannon, 2011 (fifth, 138th), Kelvin Beachum, 2012 (seventh, 248th), Jordan Mills, 2013 (fifth, 163rd), Ricky Wagner, 2013 (fifth, 168th), Charles Leno, 2014 (seventh, 246th), Trent Brown, 2015 (seventh, 244th), Sam Tevi, 2017 (sixth, 190th)

  • Guard - Carl Nicks, 2008 (fifth, 164th)

Unfortunately for Nicks, ailments such as MRSA forced him to retire after just six seasons.

He was arguably the best left guard in the game at one point, making back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2010 and 2011 (First-Team All-Pro in 2011).

  • Guard - Jake Scott, 2004 (fifth, 141st)

Scott started all 16 games every season from 2006-11 while with the Colts and Titans. He was the starting right guard for the Colts during their Super Bowl win in the 2006 season.

Notables - Kyle Kosier, 2002 (seventh, 248th), Reggie Wells, 2003 (sixth, 177th), Matt Slauson, 2009 (sixth, 193rd), J.R. Sweezy, 2012 (seventh, 225th), Zach Fulton, 2014 (sixth, 193rd), Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 2014 (sixth, 200th), Austin Blythe, 2016 (seventh, 248th)

  • Center - Jason Kelce, 2011 (sixth, 187th)

Getting ready to enter his 10th NFL season, Kelce has emerged as the league’s best center.

He has been named a First-Team All-Pro each of the last three seasons.

Notables - Jonathan Goodwin, 2002 (fifth, 154th), Justin Hartwig, 2002 (sixth, 187th), Dan Koppen, 2003 (fifth, 164th), Scott Wells, 2004 (seventh, 251st), Chris Myers, 2005 (sixth, 200th), John Sullivan, 2008 (sixth, 187th), Ryan Jensen, 2013 (sixth, 203rd), Corey Linsley, 2014 (fifth, 161st)


  • Defensive end - Robert Mathis, 2003 (fifth, 138th)

The 2013 season was a marvelous one for Mathis as he led the NFL with 19.5 sacks. He finished his career with 123 sacks which is the 19th-most all-time.

  • Defensive end - Trent Cole, 2005 (fifth, 146th)

In his career, Cole recorded 90.5 sacks and had four years in which he reached a double-digit total.

He was named to the Pro Bowl in the 2007 and 2009 seasons.

Notables - Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, 2000 (fifth, 149th), Aaron Kampman, 2002 (fifth, 156th), Raheem Brock, 2002 (seventh, 238th), Brett Keisel, 2002 (seventh, 242nd), Antonio Smith, 2004 (fifth, 135th), Rob Ninkovich, 2006 (fifth, 135th), Greg Hardy, 2010 (sixth, 175th)

  • Defensive tackle - Kyle Williams, 2006 (fifth round, 134th)

Spending his entire 13-year career with the Bills, Williams was named to six Pro Bowls, sacked the quarterback 48.5 times, and was a fierce run-stopper who opposing teams had to game plan for.

  • Defensive tackle - Jay Ratliff, 2005 (seventh, 224th)

Named to four straight Pro Bowls from 2008-11, Ratliff was the run-stuffing nose tackle in Dallas’ 3-4 defense.

He forced 15 fumbles and had 35 sacks in his career.

Notables - Ahtyba Rubin, 2008 (sixth, 190th), Lawrence Guy, 2011 (seventh, 233rd), Malik Jackson, 2012 (fifth, 137th), Grady Jarrett, 2015 (fifth, 137th), D.J. Reader, 2016 (fifth, 166th)

  • Linebacker - Adalius Thomas, 2000 (sixth, 186th)

Thomas’ best season came in 2006 while with the Ravens when he was named a First-Team All-Pro. That year, he finished with 11 sacks, something he did 53 times in his career.

  • Linebacker - Telvin Smith, 2014 (fifth, 144th)

Smith surprisingly took off the 2019 season, and it is unclear whether he will play in 2020. According to, former teammates of his on the Jaguars said he’s battling some type of health issue.

He was a tackling machine in his five seasons finishing with over 100 every year, and he received a Pro Bowl nod in 2017.

Notables - Clark Haggans, 2000 (fifth, 137th), Dhani Jones, 2000 (sixth, 177th), Andra Davis, 2002 (fifth, 141st), Scott Fujita, 2002 (fifth, 143rd), Cato June 2003 (sixth, 198th), Scott Shanle, 2003 (seventh, 251st), Michael Boley, 2005 (fifth, 160th), Tahir Whitehead, 2012 (fifth, 138th), Danny Trevathan, 2012 (sixth, 188th), Avery Williamson, 2014 (fifth, 151st), Matt Judon, 2016 (fifth, 146th), Jayon Brown, 2017 (fifth, 155th), Anthony Walker, 2017 (fifth, 161st), Matt Milano, 2017 (fifth, 163rd)

  • Cornerback - Richard Sherman, 2011 (fifth, 154th)

Sherman has had a career that should eventually get him a bust in Canton.

Through nine seasons, the shutdown corner has made five Pro Bowls, three First-Team All-Pro teams, won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks and intercepted 35 passes.

  • Cornerback - Cortland Finnegan, 2006 (seventh, 215th)

Having a career that spanned 10 seasons, Finnegan was a good corner for much of it, but was phenomenal in 2008. That year, he was named a First-Team All-Pro as he closed off his side of the field. He finished his career with six touchdowns (four on interceptions, two on fumble recoveries).

Notables - William Gay, 2007 (fifth, 170th), Brandon Carr, 2008 (fifth, 140th), Jason McCourty, 2009 (sixth, 203th), Josh Norman, 2012 (fifth, 143rd pick)

  • Safety - Kam Chancellor, 2010 (fifth, 133rd)

Unfortunately for Chancellor and the Seahawks, his career was cut short after eight seasons due to a neck injury.

A famed member of the ‘Legion of Boom’ in Seattle, he was named to the Pro Bowl four times.

  • Safety - Antoine Bethea, 2006 (sixth, 207th)

Bethea won a Super Bowl in his rookie season with the Colts and intercepted two passes during that postseason run. He’s started 200 games in his career, made three Pro Bowls, and picked off 25 passes.

Notables - Yeremiah Bell, 2003 (sixth, 213rd), Chris Harris, 2005 (sixth, 181st), Dawan Landry, 2006 (fifth, 146th), Reshad Jones, 2010 (fifth, 163rd), Kurt Coleman, 2010 (seventh, 244th), Micah Hyde, 2013 (fifth, 159th), Jordan Poyer, 2013 (seventh, 218th), Adrian Amos, 2015 (fifth, 142nd), Desmond King, 2017 (fifth, 151st)

Special teams

  • Kicker - Harrison Butker, 2017 (seventh, 233rd)

While his career is just three years deep, Butker has seen a lot of action on a high-scoring Chiefs team and has kicked with accuracy.

He has connected on 89.7 percent of his field goals and made a 31-yard try in the most recent Super Bowl.

Notables - Neil Rackers, 2000 (sixth, 169th), Mason Crosby, 2007 (sixth, 193rd), Greg Zuerlein, 2012 (sixth, 171st), Jake Elliott, 2017 (fifth, 153rd)

  • Punter - Shane Lechler, 2000 (fifth, 142nd)

On the shortlist of best punters of all-time, Lechler punted for the Raiders and Texans for 18 years. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, six-time All-Pro First team member, and led the league in punting average five times.

Notables - Andy Lee, 2004 (sixth, 188th), Sam Koch, 2006 (sixth, 203rd), Thomas Morstead, 2009 (fifth, 164th), Michael Dickson, 2018 (fifth, 149th)