Anyone who has ever partaken in their own PFF Mock Draft, or even just played career mode on Madden, will know that it's easy sailing in those first three to four rounds of the NFL Draft: the top 100 players on the board are all specimens; you're generally taking one of the top five rated players in a specific position -- it's easy pickings.
Where the wheat is separated from the chaff, however, is with those pesky later-round picks.
Rounds five to seven can be tough going and is where, naturally, most duds get selected; none more so than in that seventh and final round, where even the most ardent NCAA College Football fan struggles to pronounce a single surname or regurgitate even one juicy stat.
But it's not always the case that seventh-round picks are duds: the round might not feature some of the college stars being discussed on Good Morning Football, but there have been some genuine world-beaters that have gone on to incredible success in the NFL since being drafted in the seventh round.
Take a look at five of the best seventh-round NFL Draft picks in history:
(In no particular order)
2006: Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
Plucked from relative obscurity from the Hofstra University, NY, Marques Colston went on to great success with the New Orleans Saints, the franchise that drafted him with the No. 258 overall pick in round seven of the 2006 NFL Draft.
In his rookie year, Colston tallied 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns, and he continued to post +1,000 yard seasons throughout his career, forming a near-telepathic link with Saints QB Drew Brees. Elite when it came to battling coverage for possession of the football, Colston caught 65% of his career targets, which is the third-highest of any wideout in the last twenty years.
Colston retired as a Saint. He chalked up 9,759 receiving yards in his 10-year career and won a Super Bowl with New Orleans in 2010.
For a seventh-rounder, Marques Colston didn't do too badly!
2009:Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
Odd to think about it now, but New England receiver Julian Edelman was originally thought of as a quarterback when playing at Kent State.
Edelman, of course, went on to play receiver, and the switch clearly worked out: his career to date has been nothing short of incredible.
He may never have been selected to a Pro Bowl, but Edelman is one of the NFL's best postseason receivers ever, ranking second in postseason receiving yards (1,442) and receptions (118). Edelman also holds the Super Bowl record for receptions in the first half of a single game (7).
Alongside Tom Brady at QB, Edelman is a 3x Super Bowl winner and was named Super Bowl MVP after the Patriots triumphed over the Rams in 2019. Edelman registered 10 catches for 141 yards in the final and was a worthy recipient,
2005: Jay Ratliff, DL, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Jay Ratliff in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
A key component of the Cowboys' defensive line, Ratliff's career in Dallas would span an astonishing 12 years.
Ratliff retired having made it to four Pro Bowls; not bad for a seventh-rounder from Auburn.
1953: Joe Schmidt, LB, Detroit Lions
Joe Schmidt represented the Detroit Lions for 13 seasons, making it to 10 consecutive Pro Bowls between 1954-1963.
The University of Pittsburgh product was also voted the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year twice by his fellow professionals in 1960 and 1963.
It was hardly a surprise then that the burly linebacker was named in the NFL's 1950s All-Decade Team and inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1971.
Not many seventh-round draft picks go on to become All-Decade stars of the game, but Joe Schmidt is one of them.
1953: Jim Ringo, OC, Green Bay Packers
Jim Ringo may have enjoyed a 13-year career with the Green Bay Packers and, later, the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the big center wasn't even drafted until the seventh round.
Ringo featured in 10 Pro Bowls and helped the Packers to x2 NFL Championships back in the glory days of the great Vince Lombardi. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1981.
It's worth remembering that there only used to be 13 franchise teams picking in the 1950s draft, so talents like Ringo and the aforementioned Schmidt would likely go in the third- or fourth-rounds were they to be drafted in 2021.
Honorable mentions for other late-round picks:
- Richard Dent: drafted in the eighth-round, so not technically a seventh-round pick.
- Roosevelt Brown: drafted in the twenty-seventh-round so not considered.
- Bo Jackson: Supreme talent but short NFL career.