Here are the best 6th round steals from ESPN series.
Beyond Brady and T.D.The sixth round hasn't provided many marquee names, but plenty of quality existsEmail Print Comments 23Share11 retweet 16By Sheldon Spencer
US Presswire, Getty Images
Denver's Terrell Davis (left) and New England's Tom Brady (center) are the more celebrated sixth-round finds, but Cincinnati's Ken Riley (right) was a great discovery, too.Whenever there's discussion about the best sixth-round draft picks in NFL history, Tom Brady (2000, New England Patriots) and Terrell Davis (1995, Denver Broncos) are the easy answers.
Best Round-By-Round Teams Explained
Below are a few of the guidelines we formed in assembling ESPN.com's best NFL draft round-by-round teams. The project is described in more detail here.
We surveyed candidates originally signed by NFL teams in the league's drafts since 1936. The American Football League and NFL did not merge drafts until 1967, therefore players who signed originally with AFL teams between 1960 and 1966 were not considered. Players who originally signed with teams in the old All-American Football Conference also were excluded.
Players were judged primarily on their performance for the team that first signed them. For example, the fact that Brett Favre is a lock for the Hall of Fame doesn't mean he was a great draft pick for the Falcons.
Priority was given to players who accumulated championships, all-league/Pro Bowl citations and/or Hall of Fame numbers primarily with their original teams.
We bent these guidelines in exceptional cases.
But the next time this subject comes up at a party, don't be afraid to hail other sixth-rounders who became Super Bowl standouts, including Mark Rypien (1986, Redskins), Mark Chmura (1992, Packers), George Andrie (1962, Cowboys) and Lee Woodall (1994, 49ers).
Of course, starting conversations about these things might be one reason you're not invited to parties.
As we discovered researching this, the NFL draft's sixth round is speckled with few other Hall of Fame-caliber talents but lots of solid performers. The only sixth-round selection currently in Canton is Jack Christiansen (1951, Detroit Lions). A left safety with great size (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) and speed (11 career touchdowns), Christiansen spurred the Lions to NFL titles in 1952, 1953 and 1957. The former Colorado State star was a five-time Pro Bowl selection.
Finding a safety to pair with Christiansen in the secondary with at least some of the necessary qualities -- excelling with the team that drafted him, a title or two on the résumé -- was a challenge. But Indianapolis Colts safety Antoine Bethea (2006) fills the bill. The former Howard University standout played a significant role in the Colts' Super Bowl XLI-winning season, made the Pro Bowl the next season, and helped his team advance to its second title game in four years this past February.
Any NFL team would be happy to draft the types of solid talents peppering our sixth-round all-stars, even the relatively obscure. Consider Ken Riley (1969, Bengals).
A Florida A&M quarterback converted to cornerback, Riley provided solid defense for 15 seasons. His 65 career interceptions rank fifth in NFL history. Fellow Bengals cornerback Lemar Parrish made six Pro Bowls between 1970 and '77, but Riley was never invited.
While Brady and Davis one day will join Christiansen in Canton, Riley probably never will. He's still appreciated by those searching for diamonds in the rough.
See the charts below for our Round 6 all-stars. Click here to read about Round 7 (and beyond).
Sixth-Round Offense All-Stars
Here are some of the best offensive players selected in the sixth round in NFL draft history. Pro Football Hall Of Fame members are in bold face. Guards and tackles were not selected position specific.
Position Player Year College NFL Team Comment Among Others Considered
QB Tom Brady 2000 Michigan Patriots Five-time PBer Brady has made four SB appearances, won three rings Mark Rypien (1986, Redskins)
RB Terrell Davis 1995 Georgia Broncos Three-time PBer Davis rushed for at least 1,100 yards in his first four seasons, won two SB titles Fred McAfee (1991, Saints)
RB Wilbert Montgomery 1977 Abilene Christian Eagles Montgomery played eight seasons for the Eagles, was part of one SB team, elected to two PBs Chester Taylor (2002, Ravens)
WR Mel Gray 1971 Missouri Cardinals Gray played 12 seasons in St. Louis, earned four consecutive PB citations Michael Jackson (1991, Browns)
WR Mark Jackson 1986 Purdue Broncos Jackson was part of three Broncos SB teams, starting 68 of 100 games in Denver orange Bill Schroeder (1997, Packers)
TE Mark Chmura 1992 Boston College Packers Three-time PBer Chmura played in two SBs, winning one ring Howard Cross (Giants, 1989),
Bo Scaife (Titans, 2005)
Center Matt Birk 1998 Harvard Vikings Birk was a six-time PB selection with Minnesota before joining the Ravens last season Greg Larson (1961, Giants)
Guard Marco Rivera 1996 Penn State Packers Rivera was a special teamer during the Packers' SB trips, but blossomed into a three-time PB selection Duane Putnam (1952, Rams),
Keith Bishop (1980, Broncos)
Guard Ed Newman 1973 Duke Dolphins Newman made four PBs, played in 2 SBs in 12 Dolphins seasons John Demarie (1967, Browns)
Tackle Tunch Ilkin 1980 Indiana State Steelers Ilkin earned two PB nods in his 13-season Steelers career Doug Dieken (1971, Browns)
Tackle Ed Simmons 1987 Eastern Washington Redskins Simmons played all 11 NFL seasons with the Redskins, starting 104 of 142 games and landing two SB rings. Doug Riesenberg (1987, Giants)
SIXTH-ROUND DEFENSE ALL-STARS
Here are some of the best defensive players selected in the sixth round in NFL draft history. Pro Football Hall Of Fame members are in bold face. To honor the popularity of the 3-4 defense, we picked four linebackers. Corners, safeties and linebackers were not selected position specific.
Position Player Year College Signed By Comment Among Others Considered
DT Joe Klecko 1977 Temple Jets A key member of the Sack Exchange, Klecko made PB at three positions Travis Hall (1995, Falcons)
DT Grady Jackson 1997 Knoxville Raiders Jackson played five seasons for the Raiders, registering 19 sacks Andy Harmon (1991, Eagles)
DE Doug Betters 1978 Nevada-Reno Dolphins The NFL's 1983 DPOY, Betters was part of two Dolphins SB teams and made one PB Michael Sinclair (1991, Seahawks)
DE George Andrie 1962 Marquette Cowboys Andrie played in two SBs, winning one, and made five straight PBs Chidi Ahanotu (1994, Buccaneers),
Marvin Washington (1989, Jets)
LB Greg Lloyd 1987 Fort Valley State Steelers Lloyd played 11 Steelers seasons, made five PBs, one SB Bryce Paup (1990, Packers)
LB Adalius Thomas 2000 Southern Miss. Ravens Thomas earned two PB selections and a SB ring in seven seasons with the Ravens Brian Hinkle (1982, Steelers)
LB Al Smith 1987 Utah State Oilers Smith was a two-time PB selection in 10 seasons with the Oilers Eugene Lockhart (1984, Cowboys)
LB Lee Woodall 1994 West Chester 49ers Woodall started as a rookie during the 49ers' last SB season, made two PBs Cato June (2003, Colts)
CB Don Griffin 1986 Middle Tenn. State 49ers Griffin started 107 of 114 games for the 49ers, earned two SB rings Ray Brown (1971, Falcons)
CB Ken Riley 1969 Florida A&M Bengals Riley played 15 seasons with Bengals, made 65 career INTs, appeared in one SB Doug Evans (1993, Packers)
S Jack Christiansen 1951 Colorado State Lions Christiansen was an impact player on three Lions title teams, playing in five PBs Bruce Laird (1972, Colts)
S Antoine Bethea 2006 Howard Colts Bethea started 14 games as a rookie during the Colts' SB XLI-winning season Bo Orlando (1990, Houston)
Sheldon Spencer is an NFL editor at ESPN.com. Thanks to ESPN's Stats & Information crew for their researching efforts, as well as Pro-Football-Reference.com and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame's Web site.
The year's upcoming draft and the college game can be discussed here.
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