The NFL Draft is coming up rather quickly, and it often makes us think about draft steals. These are the players who we don’t see get a lot of attention and hype, but come out of nowhere and emerge as successful players in the league. Often times, we end up asking ourselves how we didn’t see their potential and talent from the start. As a matter of fact, one of the greatest players of all time ended up being one of the greatest steals of all time as well.
Tom Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots 199th overall in 2000. It didn’t look promising for the Michigan QB to get a chance with the Pats, but after Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury in the second game of the 2001 season, Brady took full advantage. Five Super Bowls later, Brady is widely regarded as one of the best to ever do it.
I wondered how the players chosen with this pick after Brady fared. Have there been any players to have success, or did they all wither away without so much as a whimper? Let’s have a look:
2001: Tennessee Titans select Adam Haayer, OT, Minnesota
Haayer was taken by the Tennessee Titans, but never suited up for the squad. He eventually played for eight games with the Minnesota Vikings from 2002-03, starting once. He then went to the Arizona Cardinals in 2005 where he played twelve games at left guard, starting four. He then went to the St. Louis Rams for the 2006 season, and was out of football after that.
2002: Chicago Bears select Adrian N. Peterson, RB, Georgia Southern
The Chicago Bears took a chance on a running back here, and he spent nine seasons with the team. He played in nine games his rookie year, totaling 19 carries for 101 yards and three touchdowns. He made his first career start against the Seattle Seahawks, carrying the ball 19 times for 55 yards in a losing effort. Peterson stuck around until the 2010 preseason, when he was cut. He signed on with the Seahawks, but was cut five days later. He was out of the NFL after that.
2003: New York Giants select Willie Ponder, WR, Southeast Missouri State
Ponder had an unremarkable career spanning three seasons. He has a career total of eight catches for 38 yards and two kick return touchdowns, all recorded with the New York Giants. He left them in 2005 and split 2006 with the Seahawks and Rams, playing six games for both teams. After that, he retired from the NFL.
2004: Baltimore Ravens select Clarence Moore, WR, Northern Arizona
The Ravens made Moore the second consecutive wide receiver taken with pick #199 in 2004, and he fared better than Ponder. He spent his entire three-year career with the Ravens, catching 29 passes for 353 yards and five touchdowns. His rookie season accounted for most of these statistics, as he recorded 24 catches for 293 yards and four touchdowns. He didn’t do much after that, and was released in 2007.
2005: Kansas City Chiefs select Khari Long, DE, Baylor
Long is the first defensive player selected here post-Brady, and he wasn’t much. He played one game for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005, and then joined the Chicago Bears. He didn’t play at all for them, and ended up bouncing between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills practice squads before signing in the CFL.
2006: Indianapolis Colts select Charlie Johnson, OT, Oklahoma State
So far, Johnson has had the most successful career. He played all sixteen games his rookie year, starting one. That was the only time he didn’t start at least ten games in his career. He ended up alternating between both tackle positions and left guard during his time with Indianapolis before switching to guard full time when signing with the Minnesota Vikings. He won the Super Bowl with Indianapolis in 2007.
2007: Miami Dolphins select Drew Mormino, C, Central Michigan
Mormino was the second straight center taken in the order, as the Cincinnati Bengals took a center at pick #198. Mormino didn’t play in a game for the Dolphins and spent 2009 on the San Diego Chargers practice squad.
2008: Oakland Raiders select Stryker Sulak, DE, Missouri
The Raiders didn’t catch lightning in a bottle, as Sulak lasted just one season and didn’t play in a game.
2010: Minnesota Vikings select Joe Webb, QB, Alabama-Birmingham
Webb started three games with the Minnesota Vikings in 2010-11, completing 38 passes for 348 yards combined. In 2014, Webb signed with the Carolina Panthers, where he was used as a wide receiver and kick returner. He was their returner in the team’s Super Bowl 50 loss to the Denver Broncos. Webb then signed with the Buffalo Bills last offseason and has found a role in the wildcat offense. He even drew praise from former Patriots defensive coordinator and new Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who called Webb “very dangerous”.
“I believe Joe Webb is a player that’s very dangerous. (He’s) extremely good with the ball in his hands. I think from the standpoint of being behind center in that quarterback position he’s very familiar with that set or that position so he really does a good job of being able to read the entire defense.” Patricia said.
2011: Kansas City Chiefs select Jerrell Powe, NT, Mississippi
Powe is the second pick by the Chiefs here post-Brady. He played a total of twelve games with Kansas City, totaling six tackles. He signed with the Houston Texans and saw increased playing time. He went on to play in sixteen games in 2013, totaling just ten tackles. He was most recently on the Washington Redskins practice squad.
2012: San Francisco 49ers select Jason Slowey, OT, Western Oregon
Slowey didn’t do much in his NFL career, as he spent time on the 49ers and Raiders practice squads before exiting the NFL.
2013: Detroit Lions select Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame
Riddick has established himself as one of the more explosive pass catching backs in the league in recent years. He has hauled in 50+ receptions each of the last three seasons, including 80 in 2015, and has had 300+ receiving yards since 2014. He is still with the Lions today and looks to be apart of their backfield in 2018.
2014: Seattle Seahawks select Garrett Scott, OT, Marshall
Scott was drafted and signed his rookie contract. However, we was released the next day due to a physical revealing he had a rare heart condition. The team still paid Scott his $100K signing bonus.
2015: Pittsburgh Steelers select L.T. Walton, DT, Central Michigan
Walton played all sixteen games last season, recording 12 tackles and two sacks. He hasn’t made a ton of noise yet, but at 25-years old, he certainly has time to develop into a better player.
2016: Cincinnati Bengals select Cody Core, WR, Mississippi
Core has played 21 games in his career, but didn’t record anything this past season. In his rookie year, he put up 17 catches for 200 yards.
2017: Washington Redskins select Chase Roullier, C, Wyoming
Roullier played in thirteen games, but only starting seven, due to the injury to starting center Spencer Long. It is still early, but Roullier might have a bit of a future in the league.
It seems to be a mixed bag honestly. Some players found success, like Charlie Johnson and Theo Riddick. Others, not so much. Pick #199 will forever live in infamy thanks to Tom Brady, but being chosen there hasn’t proved to always be a good omen.
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