In any league, teams build their rosters through the draft, free agency, and trades. When it comes to the draft, first-round picks often end up being future stars of the league while others are considered busts.
Sometimes, it has to do with which college the player attended. Players who go to bigger schools get more looks compared to those who go to a smaller school. In this case, when you see these Super Bowl winners and Pro Bowlers who were drafted late, you’ll be surprised.
Jimmy Graham Was A Revelation In NOLA
Graham played four years of basketball and one year of football at the University of Miami. He was drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by New Orleans. The North Carolina native became the first tight end in Saints history to have more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
In only three seasons, Graham set the Seattle Seahawks record for most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns at his position. A late career recession, however, has put his spot in Canton on hold.
David Johnson Can Do Everything
For a running back that was the 86th selection in the 2015 draft, the Northern Iowa alum has been impressive. In Johnson’s sophomore season, he finished with 1,239 rushing yards for 2,118 all-purpose yards. He finished with a combined 20 touchdowns as well.
Outside of a wrist injury that sidelined him for the 2017 season, the Cardinals played their cards right. Plus, they locked him up to three-year, $39 million contract extension. With a offensive minded coach in town now, Johnson is set for new heights in his career.
Devonta Freeman Isn’t Done Yet
Freeman was a steal in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Similar to David Johnson, Freeman missed most the 2018 season. Before that, he was quite the scoring machine with 30 touchdowns through five seasons.
He played a huge role in the Atlanta Falcons playoff run to Super Bowl LI, scoring the first points of the game in the second quarter. Coming back healthy will be a big deal for Freeman, but considering where he came from we’re sure he can do it.
Robert Woods Blossomed In Los Angeles
The Bills have always struggled with building around their talent and Robert Woods is a prime example. He was the teams second round selection in 2013. In 2016, Woods put up strong numbers with 613 receiving yards, and the Bills let him walk in free agency.
Not long after, the USC alum found a new home with the Los Angeles Rams. He’s emerged as one of Jared Goff’s go-to receivers on the field. In 2018, Woods racked in 1,219 receiving yards, the first time in his career.
Dak Prescott Has Proven His Worth For The Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys needed to draft a young quarterback to develop behind Tony Romo in 2016. The team selected Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott in the fourth round of the draft. After injuries to Romo and backup Kellen Moore, Prescott became the starter in his rookie season.
His on-field success helped the Cowboys win the NFC East title, then again in 2018. Prescott is well on his way to become the franchise quarterback Dallas will need for a long time.
Jordan Howard Was A Rookie Sensation
Howard was selected by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round in the 2016 NFL Draft. As a rookie, nobody expected the Indiana alum to rush for over 1,000 yards in his rookie season. He finished second in league rushing totals behind another rookie, Ezekiel Elliott.
For his first two years, Howard was one of the most consistent running backs of the game. Despite the emergence of Tarik Cohen, it’s fair to say that the starting job could be up for grabs.
Davante Adams Is Aaron Rodgers Best Friend
The Fresno State alum was taken by the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. All it took for the team was to to release Jordy Nelson and keep Randall Cobb. In 2018, Adams finally reached another level, recording over 100 catches for 1,386 receiving yards.
In addition, it marked the third consecutive season that the wide receiver has scored more than 10 touchdowns. Adams’ future with the Packers continues to be a bright one.
T.Y. Hilton Is A Yard Machine
One of the best wide receivers in the league was taken in the third round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. Through seven seasons, the FIU alum has over 1,000 receiving yards in five of those campaigns.
Outside of the 2018, he caught the most touchdowns in his career in 2012 and 2014 when he caught seven of those passes. Hilton continues to be an offensive threat for the Colts, who’s now a four-time Pro Bowler.
Tyreek Hill Is Called The Cheetah For A Reason
“Cheetah” was a fifth-round draft pick for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016. Tyreek Hill was primarily a return specialist as a rookie and was a wide receiver-running back as well. For a fifth-round pick, Hill continues to make a case as one of the most explosive players on the field.
It doesn’t matter where Hill is on the field, when the ball is in his hands, he’s going to go off. He’s so explosive Kansas City even uses him at their primary punt returner!
The 2017 Comeback Player of the Year was a third round selection by the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers in 2013. Much like their rivals in the AFC East, Allen was another late draft pick, who’s been a big contributor for the team.
He set Chargers’ records for receptions and receiving yards by a rookie. After tearing his ACL in the 2016 season, Allen continued to be a juggernaut with back-to-back 1,000 receiving yard seasons. He is also a two-time Pro Bowler.
Jarvis Landry Got Paid
A teammate of Odell Beckham Jr. at LSU, Landry had high expectations in the league. A second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2014, his 84 catches set a Dolphins record for most receptions by a rookie. Plus, he also added 1,158 yards in punt and kickoff returns.
In 2018, the Dolphins traded the receiver to the Cleveland Browns. In his first season in Cleveland, Landry led the team with 81 receptions for 976 yards and four touchdowns and signed a $75 million contract extension.
Stefon Diggs Is A Miracle Worker
The Minnesota Vikings drafted the Maryland alum in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Since then, Diggs has emerged as one of the best route runners in the game today.The team’s other receiver, Adam Thielen signed with the team as an undrafted free agent.
In the NFC Divisional Round against the Saints in 2017, Diggs played the hero. With 10 seconds left, he made the winning play with a 61-yard touchdown, dubbed as the “Minneapolis Miracle.”
Rob Gronkowski Is A Living Legend
Tight ends are a hit or miss proposition in the NFL, just ask Jimmy Graham. Rob Gronkowski was a second-round draft pick out of Arizona but has played like he should have been taken first overall. In 2011, “Gronk” set the single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end with 17.
Additionally, he held the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end, with 1,327. Despite retiring young, “Gronk” won’t be leaving empty-handed as he has two Super Bowl rings to his name.
Quincy Enunwa Is The Man In New York
In 2014, the Nebraska alum was taken in the sixth round by the New York Jets. He’s been solid during his time in the Big Apple, and should grow with Sam Darnold.
In 2016, he had a breakthrough year, coming in second in team receptions, yards, and touchdown receptions. Near the end of the 2018 season, Enunwa signed a four-year extension. That could very well make on Darnold’s go-to-guy to run the ball down the field.
Alvin Kamara Is A Stud
Kamara was not one of the first running backs taken in the first round in 2017. Instead, he was selected 67th overall by the Saints. The Tennessee alum was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for his stellar rookie season. But, that’s not all he accomplished.
Kamara became the first player in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first 20 games in 2018.
Nick Foles Was A Late Bloomer
A third round pick of the 2012 draft, Nick Foles’ career has had many highs and lows. First, he emerged as the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback, then regressed.
He had no luck with the Rams, and a reunion with Andy Reid in Kansas City brought his career back from the dead. After Carson Wentz tore his ACL in 2017, Foles stepped up to the plate. He guided the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory against the Patriots.
Antonio Brown Never Forgets
Thirty one teams passed up on Brown for six rounds in 2010. Then Pittsburgh Steelers called his name with the 159th selection, and the Central Michigan alum became one of the best wide receivers in the game.
During his second season, Brown became the first player in NFL history to have more than 1,000 yards receiving and returning in the same year. Brown is a seven-time Pro Bowler as well. During the 2019 offseason he was traded to the Oakland Raiders.
George Kittle Loves Skittles
The fifth-round pick of the 2017 draft has looked good so far. Kittle set a 49ers record for reception yards by a tight end with 210 yards, all coming in the first half.
In addition to that accomplishment, he became the first tight end in franchise history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards. In 2018, Kittle set the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377 yards. Along with that, he earned his first Pro Bowl selection.
Seahawks fans should be grateful the Wisconsin alum was taken late in the 2012 draft. Wilson was a third round pick who was taken well after Andrew Luck. Out of nowhere, the quarterback took the NFL by surprise with his movement on the field.
As it turns out, this marked the beginning of a dominant run for the franchise. In 2014, he lead to the team win their first Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos.
Kirk Cousins Is Made Of Money
Everyone has an opinion on the Washington Redskins fourth round selection. There was no hype around the quarterback in college. But, when the Redskins gave him a shot to start, he proved he can sling the ball around the field.
In 2016, he finished third in league passing yards behind Matt Ryan and Drew Brees. After not re-signing in Washington, Cousins opted to sign with the Vikings on a three-year, $84 million contract.