NFL Draft Late Round “Diamonds in the Rough”: The Top 30 Small College “Gems” of All-Time


Published: April 18, 2009


... Round, Patriots) or Terrell Davis (1995-6th Round, Broncos). While finding a franchise quarterback or running back that late in the draft is certainly a bonus, taking players like Brady and Davis from major schools with low round picks is not especially risky. What has often helped teams turn a good draft into a franchise changing draft has been the ability to find the small school “Diamonds in the Rough.” NFL history is full of small school (defined here as schools not part of the Football Bowl Subdivision) players who have been selected early in the NFL Draft. Though they may have escaped the attention of major college coaches coming out of high school, players such as Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Gene Upshaw, Mel Blount, Calvin Hill, Joe Greene and Steve McNair did not escape pro scouts and were selected in the top rounds of the NFL Draft. However, NFL Draft history is also full of players from small schools who fell to the lower rounds (fourth round or later) bef...

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