We’re back with the second installment of our countdown to the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we’ll be looking at the top 10 players drafted in the 7th round of the draft since 1966.
As always, remember these are all personal opinion. Round 7 was tough, but the group is still pretty solid.
Marques Colston – #12 Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints
Our first player is Marques Colston. Marques attended Hofstra University, a Division I FCS school in Hempstead, New York. Colston has the rare designation of being the final player drafted out of Hofstra before the school terminated its football program in favor of enhancing scholastic programs.
Colston was selected 252nd overall by the Saints, only four spots ahead of going undrafted. After starting wide receiver was traded to Philadelphia before the start of the 2006 season, Colston suddenly found himself at the top the depth chart, and quickly became a favorite target of all-star quarterback Drew Brees.
He finished his rookie season with 70 receptions, 1,038 yards, and 8 touchdowns. In 2007, Colston had his best season, setting a Saints record with 98 receptions, and tying Joe Horn’s touchdown record with 11 scores. In 2009, Colston helped New Orleans defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
Marques had several successful seasons in New Orleans before seeing his role diminish in 2014. After the 2015 season, Colston was released by the Saints, and chose to retire rather than sign with another team.
Colston ended his career with 711 receptions for 9,759 yards, and 72 touchdowns. He is the Saints all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, career receiving average (13.7), touchdowns, seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards (6), games with 100 or more reception yards (28), and games played by a wide receiver (146).
Donald Driver – #80 Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers
Driver played college ball at Alcorn State University, a historically black college in Lorman, Mississippi. The Braves play in Division I FCS, in the SouthWestern Athletic Conference.
Driver was drafted 213th by the Packers in the 1999 NFL Draft, and spent his first few seasons playing in spot situations, as Antonio Freeman and Bubba Franks received most of the attention from Brett Favre.
After Freeman’s release after the 2001 season, Driver got his opportunity and ran with it, grabbing 70 receptions for 1,064 yards, and 9 touchdowns in 2002. He would have a dip in productivity in 2003, however recorded six consecutive 1,000 yard seasons between 2004 and 2009.
Driver’s role diminished in the Packer offense with the rise of Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, but Donald was able to win a Super Bowl ring when the Packers defeated the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
Driver retired in 2013 after spending 14 years of his career in Green Bay. He ended up with 743 receptions for 10,137 yards, and 61 touchdowns, and was nominated to Pro Bowls in 2002, 2006, and 2007. He is the all-time Packer’s leader in receptions and receiving yards.
T. J. Houshmandzadeh – #84 Wide Receiver – Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders
A lot of wide receivers, huh? Don’t worry, Housh is the last one. T.J. attended junior college after dropping out of high school, but spent his junior season Oregon State University, alongside future Bengals teammate Chad Johnson. He was drafted 204th overall in the 2001 NFL Draft, five rounds after Johnson.
Early in his career, Houshmandzadeh was primarily used on special teams and was sidelined for the entirety of 2003 with a hamstring injury. However, an injury to Peter Warrick in in 2004 gave T.J. an opportunity to prove himself, which he did. That season, he recorded 73 receptions for 978 yards and 4 touchdowns as the #2 receiver behind Johnson.
In 2006, T.J. became a household name when a series of fantasy football commercials making light-hearted jokes at his name became popular. As his popularity rose, so did his performance on the field.
Houshmandzadeh went on to have a great career as the second man in the Bengals’ wide receiver tandem in the mid-2000s. He surpassed surpassed 900 yards again in 2005 and later in 2008, and had back to back 1,000 yard seasons in 2006 and 2007, earning himself a Pro Bowl trip in ’07.
After the 2008 season, T.J. signed with the Seattle Seahawks, where he enjoyed another successful season with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback. He enjoyed another 900 yard season before being released by Seattle at the end of the year.
Houshmandzadeh played two more seasons at a minor level for the Ravens and Raiders before retiring in 2012. He amassed 7,237 yards on 627 receptions in his career, scoring 44 touchdowns. Pretty great numbers for a guy who was never the top receiver on the depth chart.
Brock Marion – #31 Free Safety – Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions
Brock Marion played college football at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he was a four year starter at cornerback and safety. Marion was drafted with the 196th pick of the 1993 NFL Draft by the defending champion Dallas Cowboys.
Brock was primarily a backup during his first two seasons, filling a role as a special teamer on the Cowboys’ 1993 championship team. In 1995, Marion became a starter after James Washington left in free agency, and was second on the team in tackles with 114. He also brought in 6 interceptions, and was a key player in the Cowboys’ victory over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX.
Marion remained a Cowboy through the 1997 season, before he became a free agent due to salary cap restrictions. He signed with Miami Dolphins in 1998, reuniting with former Dallas head coach Jimmy Johnson. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2000, and went to two more in 2002 and 2003.
Marion retired after a one year stint with Detroit in 2004. Finishing his career with 947 tackles, 31 interceptions, 5 touchdowns, 2 Super Bowl rings, and 3 trips to the Pro Bowl. Not a bad resume for a player drafted to be a career backup.
Michael McCrary #99 Defensive End – Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens
McCrary played for Wake Forest at the collegiate level, where he set school records for sacks in a season (16), and career sacks (30). Despite having an excellent combine, McCrary fell to the 7th round, where Seattle took him with the 170th pick.
Michael played a backup role for the first three seasons of his career, playing in 42 games, but not getting a single start. In 1996, he replaced Brent Williams at end, and immediately made an impact with 57 tackles and 13.5 sacks in 13 starts.
Seattle chose not to re-sign McCrary despite his performance in 1996, and he was signed by Baltimore in 1997. With the Ravens, he would record 51 sacks over a six year period, and went on to win Super Bowl XXXV with the team in January, 2001.
McCrary was selected to two Pro Bowls in 1998 and 1999, and retired after the 2002 season with 71 sacks and 318 tackles to his name, having only started in the NFL for six seasons.
Tom Nalen – #66 Center – Denver Broncos
Nalen attended Boston College from 1989 to 1993. He started every game for the Eagles from ’91 to ’93, and was an All-American honorable mention in his senior season.
Despite his success at the collegiate level, Nalen wasn’t drafted until the 7th round by the Denver Broncos. He became a starter in the 1995 season, and for the next 13 years, would be a staple of a fearsome Broncos offensive line that led the way for six different 1,000 yard rushers, including Terrell Davis’ 2,008 yard season in 1998.
Nalen was a star in Denver, and helped John Elway finally win the big game, in Super Bowl XXXII, and again the next season in Super Bowl XXXIII. Tom was a 5-time pro bowler, from 1997-2000, and again in 2003. He was named an All-Pro three times, in 1999, 2000, and 2003.
Nalen’s career ended abruptly when he tore his right bicep in week 6 of the 2007 season. He made an attempt to get back on the field, but officially retired in January, 2009. He was the final player still on the roster from the Broncos’ Super Bowl winning teams.
Lemar Parrish – #20, #24 Cornerback – Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins
Lemar Parrish was drafted 163rd overall in the 1970 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, after graduating from Lincoln University of Missouri, a historically black college in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Parrish was highly regarded as a kick return specialist, but was also a decorated defensive back. He was elected to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, after recording 5 interceptions, and scoring 2 touchdowns on returns, averaging a whopping 30.1 yards per return on kickoffs.
He was selected to 5 more Pro Bowls as a Bengal, as well as being named a First-team All-Pro in 1976, and Second-team All-Pro in 1974 and 1975. His best defensive season came in 1971, as he recorded 7 interceptions. His best special teams season came in 1974, with 2 punt return touchdowns in 13 games.
After 8 years in Cincinnati, Parrish and the Bengals had a contract dispute, and Lemar was dealt to the Redskins prior to the 1978 season. Despite his age, Parrish was a better defender with Washington. In four years with the Redskins, he recorded 21 interceptions, only four shy of the 25 he totaled in 8 years in Cincy. Parrish was sent to two more Pro Bowls and was named a First-team All-Pro in both 1979 and 1980.
Lemar Parrish retired in 1983, after 13 seasons in the NFL. He finished his career with 8 trips to the Pro Bowl and 5 total All-Pro selections. He was a turnover machine, forcing 47 interceptions and recovering 13 fumbles in his career.
Adam Timmerman – #62, #63 Offensive Guard – Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams
Adam Timmerman was drafted by the Packers with the 230th pick in the 1995 NFL Draft. He played collegiate ball at South Dakota State, where he was named the top Division II lineman in 1994.
Timmerman got his first start in his second season, and played a major part in the Packers’ run to win Super Bowl XXXI. The next season, Green Bay would return to the Super Bowl, but ultimately lost to the Denver Broncos.
In 1999, Timmerman signed with the St. Louis Rams and was a part of the Greatest Show on Turf, winning his second Super Bowl that season. He and the Rams would return to the Super Bowl in early 2002, where they would lose to New England.
Timmerman played in the NFL for 12 seasons, and retired in 2007 after playing 187 games. He was named a Pro Bowl alternate four years in a row between 1999 and 2002, and was called to play in both ’99 and ’01. He was also named a Second-team All-Pro in 2001, and is a member of the St. Louis Rams 10th Anniversary Team.
Shannon Sharpe – #81, #82, #84 Tight End – Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens
Finally! The moment we’ve all been waiting for! A Hall of Famer!
Shannon was drafted 192nd by the Broncos in the 1990 NFL Draft. He went to college at Savannah State, a historically black university in Savannah Georgia.
After a good season in 1992, Sharpe broke out in 1993, catching 81 balls for 995 yards and 9 touchdowns. He went on to have three 1,000 yard seasons in 1994, 1996, and 1997, winning Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII in that time. Sharpe was an 8-time Pro Bowler with Denver from 1992 to 1998, and was named an All-Pro five times in that span.
Sharpe became a Baltimore Raven in 2000, winning his third Super Bowl with them, in a route of the New York Giants. Perhaps Sharpe’s most memorable play, is his 96 yard touchdown catch against the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game that year.
Shannon had two 800 yard seasons with Baltimore, and was named to his final Pro Bowl in 2001. He headed back to Denver in 2002, where he played his final two seasons, scoring 8 touchdowns in 2003, at 35 years old. He retired after 14 years and 203 games played in the NFL, racking up a massive 815 receptions for 10,060 yards, and 62 touchdowns.
Sharpe was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. He is also a member of the NFL All-1990s Team, and a member of the Denver Broncos 50th Anniversary Team.
Rayfield Wright – #67, #70, #85 Offensive Tackle – Dallas Cowboys
Rayfield Wright attended Fort Valley State University, a historically black university in Georgia who competes at the Division II level. Wright was drafted 182nd overall by the Cowboys in the 1967 AFL/NFL Draft.
Nicknamed “Big Cat”, Rayfield played in 166 games over 13 seasons for Dallas. His first career start came in 1969 against the Los Angeles Rams, pitting him against legendary defensive end Deacon Jones. Wright played so well, that he was given the starting job in the 1970 season.
Wright was selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls between 1971 and 1976, was named either a First or Second-team All-Pro in each of those six seasons. Wright Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII with the Cowboys, and made appearances in three other Super Bowls before retiring after the 1979 season.
After a very long wait, Wright was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He is also a member of the NFL All-1970s Team and has a seat in the prestigious Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.