10. LB Mike Singletary, Baylor
1981, 2nd round, 38th pick overall, Chicago
It seems sort of crazy now, but one of college football’s greatest tacklers slid all the way to 38th pick – taken one spot after Cris Collinsworth. It wasn’t a bad round for value, with Howie Long taken with the 48 and Rickey Jackson going with the 51, Singletary was a bit more decorated with seven All-Pro seasons, ten Pro Bowls, and the 1985 and 1988 NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in his 12-year run.
9. OT Forrest Gregg, SMU
1956, 2nd round, 20th pick overall, Green Bay
Even at under 250 pounds, Gregg was one of the nastiest and toughest run blockers in the history of the NFL. There might have been a whole slew of stars on the Packer teams of the 1960s, and Gregg was a key cog with seven straight All-Pro seasons – eight in all – and nine Pro Bowl campaigns. The draft was hardly a thing back in 1956, but for what it’s worth, the next three players selected after Gregg combined to start 54 games.
8. C Mike Webster, Wisconsin
1974, 5th round, 125th pick overall, Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Steeler 1974 draft was epic with four Hall of Famers, and a key part of it was the value of getting a 15-year starting center in the fifth round. Before finishing his career at Kansas City, Webster went to nine Pro Bowls and and was a five-time All-Pro. A rock, it took two years to get up to speed, and then he missed just 12 games over the next 14 years.
How huge was this pick in the fifth round? The next 42 picks combined to play 29 seasons, and four of the five players selected before Webster never played.
7. LB Bobby Bell, Minnesota
1963, 7th round, 56th pick overall, Kansas City
There are late round value picks, and there’s getting a 12-year Hall of Fame defensive star in the seventh round. Granted, the AFL Draft was way different, but most of the players selected by the league after Bell – the draft went 29 rounds – never played. He was the 56th overall pick, but still, he was a relatively late pick for the time who was a six-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowl performer.
6. RB Jim Brown, Syracuse
1957, 1st round, 6th pick overall, Cleveland
Paul Hornung, Jon Arnes, John Brodie, Ron Kramer, Len Dawson. Those were the five players taken before Brown, and out of that group were two Hall of Famers and a solid longtime starting quarterback in Brodie.
It’s a little hard to sell the idea of Brown being a great value at the six, but … nine years, eight All-Pro seasons, nine Pro Bowls, four MVPs, the all-time rushing record with 12,312 yards, 106 rushing scores, and the general belief that he might just be the greatest NFL player of all-time.