Top 10 NFL draft slides of all-time
In the NFL draft, the majority of the top players are picked close to their pre-draft projection, but occasionally, players are selected later than expected.
Usually, they drop by a few picks but on rare occasions, they are selected more than 10 to15 picks below their projection and sometime even a round or two later than expected.
Situations like these can either put a chip on the player's shoulder and they end up proving teams wrong or it makes them doubt their own ability, which leads to them never fulfilling their potential.
Below, we list the top 10 slides of all-time in the NFL draft.
The Most Famous NFL Draft Slides of All-Time
#10 - Thurman Thomas, RB, 1988
Thurman Thomas was supposed to be a top 10 pick, but due to an ACL tear in college, teams got cold feet and he ultimately fell to 40th overall. He went on to play in 182 games and rushed for over 12,000 yards and 65 touchdowns.
#9 - Warren Sapp, DT, 1995
Warren Sapp was projected to be a top-five pick but slipped back to 12th overall after reports of his marijuana usage emerged. He went on to play 198 games and recorded 96.5 sacks, 440 solo tackles and 19 forced fumbles.
#8 - Dez Bryant, WR, 2010
Dez Bryant was projected to be a top-ten pick in the 2010 NFL draft but ended up slipping to 24th overall. The Dallas Cowboys were elated to be able to pick him that late in the first round and Bryant repaid them with eight seasons of steady production.
The wide receiver has played in 119 games and recorded 537 catches for 7506 yards and 75 touchdowns in his NFL career.
#7 - Jimmy Clausen, QB, 2010
Jimmy Clausen was expected to be selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft but ultimately fell to 48th overall. The teams that passed on the quarterback were proven right as he went on to play in just 21 games, posting a 1-13 record as a starter. He completed only 54% of his passes for 2520 yards, seven touchdowns with 14 interceptions.
#6 - DeSean Jackson, WR, 2008
The electrifying DeSean Jackson was predicted to go in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft but fell to the second round before being selected with the 49th overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Six wide receivers were picked before Jackson in the NFL draft, but none managed to record more receiving yards than him. In 160 games, Jackson has 612 catches for over 10,000 yards and 56 touchdowns. Jackson will be playing in his 14th season in 2021.
#5 - LeSean McCoy, RB, 2009
In the 2009 NFL draft, LeSean McCoy was projected to be selected in the first round but fell all the way to the 53rd overall pick. Since then, the running back has gone on to play in 170 games, rush for over 11,000 yards, and score 73 touchdowns. Put simply, LeSean McCoy has made teams regret passing on him.
#4 - Steven Jackson, RB, 2004
Another running back who went lower than projected is Steven Jackson. The Oregon star was expected to be a top 10 pick, but he ended up falling to the 24th overall pick. Jackson went on to play in 160 games, rushed for more than 11,000 yards and scored 69 touchdowns.
A nice career, as some would say.
#3 - Dan Marino, QB, 1983
Pittsburgh star Dan Marino was one of the most highly-touted players in the 1983 NFL draft, but he inexplicably did not hear his name called till the 27th overall pick. Marino went on to have one of the greatest careers in NFL history, while the teams that passed on him are left to ponder what could have been.
Marino played in 242 games and went 147-93 as a starter. He finished his career with a 59.4% completion rate for over 60,000 yards, 420 touchdowns, and 252 interceptions.
#2 - Randy Moss, WR, 1998
Randy Moss was originally supposed to be a top-five pick in the 1998 NFL draft, but some off-the-field issues led to him falling to the 21st overall pick. Moss went on to tear up the league for the next decade, instantly making every team regret passing on him. He went on to play in 218 games, recording 982 receptions for over 15,000 yards and 156 touchdowns.
#1 - Aaron Rodgers, QB, 2005
No NFL draft slide story is complete without the infamous 2005 edition of the event. Aaron Rodgers was touted as one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft and many expected the San Francisco 49ers to pick the California native with the first overall pick.
However, the team decided to go for Alex Smith and Rodgers would have to wait agonizingly behind 23 players before finally hearing his name being called with the 24th overall pick.
Rodgers served as the understudy behind Brett Favre before taking over the reins in 2008. He led the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl title and has gone on to embark on a Hall of Fame career.
Rodgers has played in 197 games and has a 126-63-1 record as a starter. He has a 65.1% completion rate and has thrown 412 touchdowns passes with just 89 interceptions.
Put simply, if teams could go back to the 2005 NFL draft, they would all pick Aaron Rodgers if the opportunity presented itself.