Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Shannon Sharpe and Joe Montana. Will Shields and Terrell Davis. Some of the best players in NFL history weren’t first-round draft choices; instead, they were later-round guys who most teams thought were full of flaws.
Oh, how plenty of franchises went on to regret those scouting reports. Multiple trips to the Pro Bowl, several Super Bowl rings and a bust or two in Canton show just how wrong they were in their analysis.
These types of errors occur every year in the NFL Draft, as players who will go on to be stars in the league slip past team after team after team. Their tumble down the board is amazing to watch, as franchise’s reach for potential and miss the talent sitting there right in front of them.
The 2014 NFL Draft will prove to be no different. History says that there will be some “steals” that will emerge, guys who went outside of the first round and turned into all-time greats.
Who will they be? Here are our 10 candidates for the biggest steals of the 2014 NFL Draft. Guys had to be taken in the second round or later to be considered.
10. Aaron Murray (QB | Kansas City Chiefs)
Before tearing his ACL in November, Murray was rewriting the SEC record books. So he can obviously play quarterback at a high level. But because he’s less than six months removed from a major injury, his stock slipped in the draft. But the Chiefs, who are in the midst of contract negotiations with current starter Alex Smith, swooped in at pick No. 163 in the fifth round to grab their guy; Murray could certainly be the QB of the future in KC.
9. Carlos Hyde (RB | San Francisco 49ers)
Running backs weren’t a priority in this year’s draft, evidenced by the fact that when Bishop Sankey was taken two picks before Hyde at No. 54, it was the latest the first RB had ever been selected. But that doesn’t mean the cream of the crop can’t play, with Hyde clearly atop that list. At 6-foot and 230 pounds, he’s a bruising runner who will ultimately replace Frank Gore on a team that still values power football.