When it comes to discovering late-round talent in the NFL Draft, no one does it quite like the Seattle Seahawks. In 2014, Seattle hoisted its first Lombardi Trophy, and was the second-youngest team ever to do so. The defense that irritated Peyton Manning and the greatest offense in league history at the Super Bowl was assembled with just two first-round draft choices. Aside from Earl Thomas and Bruce Irvin, guys like Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell, Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, and two others you’ll find on this list were all taken after round three.
Teams like Seattle and San Francisco were stuck near the basement of their division just a few years ago. Now they’re the two best teams in all of football. And they didn’t spend a high draft choice on a “franchise” quarterback like so many teams did, and regretted in the 2011 draft – I’m talking about you Blaine Gabbert. Instead, Seattle built a strong defense, replenished its offensive line, and handed Marshawn Lynch a lifetime supply of skittles, the perfect situation for a young quarterback to flourish, even an undersized third-rounder.
The ‘Hawks keep making the Draft process look easy, even when teams like Oakland continue to swing and miss on prospects. John Schneider grabs these studs in the late rounds, Pete Carroll gets them to play well beyond the value of their rookie contracts, and Seattle then has flexibility to spend on pieces like Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to solidify its elite status.
Commissioner Roger Goodell will step to the podium at Radio City Music Hall on May 8 to announce the Houston Texans’ number one draft choice. But day three of the draft is when the magic happens. This is where teams try to strike Seahawk-like gold. The fourth round of the draft is here and you’re on the clock. It’s time to find your gem. Here’s a look back at the ten best late-round picks of the last decade.
10: Marques Colston – WR
7th Round – 2006
Punters are people too, and this list nearly started off with a couple of the league’s best. Andy Lee and Thomas Morstead have had terrific careers, but I can’t deny the magnitude of the Colston pick for New Orleans.
Receiver Joe Horn was 34 years old and nearing the end of his career in 2006. The Saints were in need of a new number one target. I can’t imagine they expected their 7th round receiver from Hofstra to be that guy, but look what happened. Colston hit the 1,000-yard mark in his rookie season, and he’s been one of the league’s most consistent receivers, registering five more 1,000-yard seasons in his first eight years in New Orleans.