If the best of the best Las Vegas gaming strategist cannot foresee on how well any NFL Draft Pick will rate in the draft class, then neither can the NFL finest minds foretell the future of how well any one particular player will perform. It is a matter of fact that no head coach or organizations affiliated with the NFL can predict which player will turn out be a draft steal in the near future. The NFL Draft is one of the most important decisions that any NFL organization will make pertaining to which player will be selected in the first round for their rookie selection process. Basically, for the most part, the draft class selection process is often times a hit or miss scenario. The NFL Draft often times resembles a lottery scenario, and many NFL teams that decline from choosing a particular draft pick, sometimes by luck of the draw become a blessing in disguise for another NFL team.
There is no exact science that can determine if any one particular draft pick will become a bust or savior.
For the most part, this list of the top 10 draft steals listed within this article arrive from a historical point of view, and how each and one of these players share a special story on how they overcame their preconceived draft pick standing. Several of these Draft steals are already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the remaining active players will someday be a first ballot lock to be enshrined in Canton . Many of these players have overcome adversity on many levels, and this may be one of the key reasons why they are the top 10 Draft steals of all time.
#1 Tom Brady: For the most part, Tom Brady will be that one player whom will be forever remembered as being selected as a 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Subsequent to six other quarterbacks were chosen before Brady, then, and only then, would the New England Patriots add him to their 2000 roster. Tom Brady may actually be one of the most important quarterbacks of this era, besides Peyton Manning. Tom Brady has led the Patriots to four Super Bowls, and helps the Patriots win three championship titles since 2001. Brady was an MVP in 2007, in which he set an NFL record of passing for 50 touchdown passes. Tom Brady has also added a new stat to his current phenomenal achievements, by way of only having thrown only 4 interceptions in 15 games for the 2010 season, which now stands as an NFL record. Before it is all said and done, Tom Brady may own more Super Bowl Rings than any other quarterback in NFL history, barring some unforeseen injury, and the likelihood of an early retirement.
#2 John Elway: Captain Comeback was originally a first round pick by the Baltimore Colts in 1983. In addition to John Elway’s 1983 NFL draft class, he was also one of the few players to be chosen in the amateur baseball free agent draft. John Elway led the Broncos to 5 Super Bowls, and eventually helps the Denver Broncos win 2 Super Bowl Championships in 1997 and 1998.
#3 Dan Marino: The preverbal quarterback that was the 27th overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft was not the number one pick, in fact there were five other quarterbacks that were chosen before him. Even though Dan Marino was a 1st round pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, his overall ranking would be the fuel that ultimately help him become one of the most accurate and prolific passers in NFL history. The Pittsburgh Steelers were one step away from obtaining Dan Marino, but a few unexpected events led the Steelers to decline their bid on Marino. Unfortunately, Dan Marino never had the personnel that would help him obtain a Super Bowl Championship.
#4 Brett Favre: As soon as Brett Favre was chosen in the 2nd round of the 1991 NFL Draft, it would appear that no coach or amount of voodoo would think that the Atlanta Falcons would negotiate to trade away their 33rd overall pick to the Green Bay Packers in 1992,. Nevertheless, the inevitable did happen, and the rest is in the record books, as Brett Favre will be considered as one of the true iron men to play in the NFL. Brett Favre has rewritten the NFL record books pertaining to past and present day quarterbacks, and his level of play may be someday rivaled by Peyton Manning.
#5 Steve Young: When Mr. dynamite was chosen in the 1984 supplemental draft, it would be one of the more important acquisitions in NFL history. Steve Young would soon prove that his waiting in the wings would reveal to be a wise investment by the San Francisco organization. Steve Young’s two year tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would test the limits of the organization to keep him aboard; this trade to the 49ers would prove to be a costly one for the Buccaneers. Steve Young would join the San Francisco 49ers roster in 1987, and his patience as being an understudy behind the great Joe Montana would prove to be one of Young’s greatest attributes in his learning curve. Steve Young would become one of the highest rated passers in NFL history. Steve Young would finally win his first Super Bowl in 1994; he also was nominated the games MVP by tossing six TD tosses.
#6 Emmitt Smith: Even though Emmitt Smith was chosen in the 1st round of the 1990 NFL Draft, Blair Thomas of Penn State was the number 2 pick among running backs in the 1990 Draft. In addition to Emmitt Smith acquiring a lucrative contract with the Dallas Cowboys as a 17th overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. The trepidation of Emmitt Smith playmaking abilities would come into question about his size, and if he could handle the pounding that he would endure in the NFL. Although all of this negative propaganda did not sit well with Smith, he was happy with his contract as becoming a Dallas Cowboy, Smith would go on to provide evidence in 1990 to the NFL scouts, coaches and owners that it was a mistake that he was not chosen as a 1st pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. Emmitt Smith would eventually go on to surpass the late great Walter Payton as the all time leading rusher in the NFL, and he is also considered to be one of the greatest and most durable running backs in NFL history.
#7 Roger Staubach: It did not take Roger Staubach very long to get fully acclimated with becoming a top notch quarterback in the NFL, and in due time he would become a hero of sorts in the Dallas Cowboys organization. The original captain comeback would be selected by two professional football teams in 1964. During 1964 Roger Staubach was chosen by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 16th round, 122nd overall. The Kansas City Chiefs were affiliated with the AFL during the early sixties. Staubach was also chosen by the Dallas Cowboys in the 10th round, 129th overall. Roger Staubach would not begin his NFL career until 1969 – due to his four year military obligation with the U.S. Navy. Staubach would help lead the Cowboys to 2 Super Bowl Championships; “Roger Dodger” was named MVP of Super Bowl VI.
#8 Terrell Davis: At first, it would not become evident that Terrell Davis would fall so far down in the 1995 NFL Draft Class, in fact it seemed as though he may have gone on to become a free agent running back outside of the 1995 NFL Draft. Terrell Davis would go on to be selected as a 6th round pick, 196th overall pickup by the Denver Broncos. Terrell Davis would have three phenomenal years in the NFL, in which he would help lead the Broncos to win two back to back Super Bowls. Unfortunately, the work horse running back persistent knee surgeries would forbid him to have an extended NFL career, which may deny him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
#9 Howie Long: In the National Football League great players are sometimes born from something you cannot put your finger on, and Howie Long is indeed one of those rare players whom talents almost went unnoticed by the “Raider Nation” during the 1981 NFL Draft. Howie Long was a 2nd round pick, 48th overall in the 1981 NFL Draft, many teams passed by Long, but in return the defensive end made those opposing teams pay miserably whenever they came face to face with number seventy five.
#10 Chris Carter: Unmistakably, Chris Carter amazing acrobatic one hand catches helps redefine the wide receiver position, and to this day are still revered as some of the most amazing NFL footage that other wide receivers and NFL fans take note of today. Chris Carter was chosen as a 4th round pick, 3rd overall in the 1987 NFL Supplemental Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Chris Carter love affair with the Eagles organization would come to a close in 1989, and later he would be traded to the Minnesota Vikings in 1990. In the advent of Chris Carter trade to the Vikings, it took Carter three years to get fully acclimated with the Vikings playmaking schemes. Chris Carter had his very first 1000 yard season in 1993 with the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, Chris Carter never reached his Super Bowl dream, but without a doubt his legacy as a great wide out will someday grace the hallowed halls of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Statistical Resources: www.profootballreference.com