Yesterday we brought you the Top 10 Sixth-Round Draft Picks of the past five years (and in the days before, the second, third, fourth, and fifth). Today we follow on and continue our look at the NFL draft during the Pro Football Focus era with the 10 best seventh-rounders selected between 2008 and 2012.
It’s important for teams to hit on draft picks later in the draft, particularly as it can land them a productive player for three to four years without much salary cap damage.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the Top 10 Seventh-Round Draft choices of the past five seasons.
1. Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills: No. 224 Overall, 2008
To be honest, Johnson is the best seventh round pick in the last five years and it isn’t even close. 2010 was the year he showed he could handle life in the NFL and then he built on that with some extremely impressive seasons following. He may never be the league’s top receiver, but his unorthodox style has seen him pick up yards on some of the best cornerbacks in the game. A true No. 1 guy.
2. Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts: No. 222 Overall, 2009
Those who know me know I’m not particularly high on selecting specialists. That said, if you can find one who is consistently excellent as McAfee and have him handle your punts and kickoffs, then you’ve done very well.
3. Alfonzo Dennard, New England Patriots: No. 224 Overall, 2012
Dennard obviously tumbled because of his off-the-field problems, but with the Patriots keeping that in check they’ve got themselves a real find. It’s one of the hardest positions to scout given the success of many early-round cornerbacks, so the Patriots must be delighted to have spent a seventh on a guy who in his rookie season earned a +4.9 coverage grade.
4. Bruce Miller, San Francisco 49ers, No. 211 Overall, 2011
If you’re going to spend a draft pick on a fullback he better be excellent. So consider this a success from the 49ers because Miller has been all that and more. In two years of action he’s earned a +19.8 run-blocking grade.
5. Captain Munnerlyn, Carolina Panthers, No. 216 Overall, 2009
Munnerlyn has his critics and there have been times he’s been picked on. But this former seventh-rounder has developed into a starting caliber NFL corner who can move inside and cover in the slot. The Panthers have done exceptionally well with him.
6. J’Marcus Webb, Chicago Bears, No. 218 Overall, 2010
Webb had a tough start to life in Chicago and stunk it up on Monday Night Football when the eyes of the world were on him. But don’t think that was indicative of the type of season he had, as his -0.8 grade shows. He’s developed into a competent left tackle, and while that might not be enough for some, it’s better than you expect.
7. Sean Lissemore, Dallas Cowboys, No. 234 Overall, 2010
Before a somewhat disappointing 2012 season the Cowboys Lissemore was well on his way to a higher spot in this ranking. His 2011 was excellent in terms of what he produced relative to how much he was on the field and he looks set to be a big part of the Cowboys rotation going forward.
8. Geoff Schwartz, Carolina Panthers, No. 241 Overall, 2008
The only thing holding Schwartz back was an injury that cost him his 2011 and a coaching staff change that saw him expendable. If you go back to 2010 and what Schwartz was able to produce at two different positions, you see a talented and versatile lineman.
9. Vance Walker, Atlanta Falcons, No. 210 Overall, 2009
Walker got his most extensive playing time in 2012 and responded with a season that earned him a +8.9 grade. That he did it looking good against the run and generating some pressure explains why keeping him was too rich for the Falcons’ blood after the year.
10. King Dunlap, Philadelphia Eagles, No. 230 Overall, 2008
Dunlap is much maligned and his size does ensure he has some problems against a certain type of pass rusher. But, for the most part, he’s held his own in commendable fashion when thrust into the Eagles’ starting lineup.
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