There’s no Hall of Famers in this group, but we do have a Heisman winner, and an Outland Trophy winner. Collectively, eight of them were on Super Bowl winning teams, and they have a combined 13 Super Bowl rings between them. Between picks 300 and 280, I found a linebacker that played 16 years, two running backs that played 14 years each, and a Chicago Bears safety that played 12 years & started when they won the Super Bowl. Another note for history buffs: the oldest player to ever score a touchdown is in this group, and obviously it’s not Jerry Rice. I’m thinking he was the 16th pick in 1985? I should know by now after reading so much of this stuff.
Anyways, here’s part V of my ongoing series of the best players ever picked with each individual pick.
11th round-300th pick. Detroit Lions-Mike Saxon, P, San Diego State, 1984
He made the Dallas Cowboys roster in 1985, and was among the few to stick around from the Tom Landry days. He stuck around just long enough for their victory in Super Bowl XXVII. He signed with the New England Patriots in 1993, then went to Minnesota for his last two years in the NFL.
Other notable players picked 300th: N.Y. Jets-Garry Puetz, T, Valparaiso, 1973
11th round-299th pick. Seattle Seahawks-Dwayne Harper, CB, South Carolina State, 1988
He made 13 interceptions in six years as a cornerback for the Seahawks. In 1994, he signed with the San Diego Chargers, but couldn’t shake the injury bug after his first two years. He played in & started six games in 1996, 12 in 1997, and only one in 1998. He signed with Detroit for one last season in 1999. During his twelve seasons he made 24 interceptions for 337 yards.
Other notable players picked 299th: Green Bay Packers-Bucky Scribner, P, Kansas, 1983; Denver Broncos-Gene Lang, RB, Louisiana State, 1984
12th round-298th pick. Baltimore Colts-Preston Pearson, RB, Illinois, 1967
He was one of the first players to carve out a niche for himself as a third down back. In his fourteen year career with the Colts, Steelers, and Cowboys, he averaged less than ten yards a catch only once. He ran for 3,609 yards, caught 254 passes for 3, 095 yards, averaged 12.2 yards a catch, and 17 touchdowns. He also ran for 2,801 yards and two touchdowns on kickoff returns. He was extremely fortunate when it came to his professional surroundings too. He played for three Hall of Fame coaches: Don Shula, Chuck Noll, and Tom Landry. His quarterbacks were all Hall of Famers: Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach. The guys ahead of him on the depth chart at running back were Hall of Famers as well: Lenny Moore, Franco Harris and Tony Dorsett. He was on two Super Bowl Championship teams, with the Steelers for Super Bowl IX, and the Cowboys for Super Bowl XII. He retired following the 1980 season with the Cowboys.
Other notable players picked 298th: Philadelphia Eagles-Mike Flores, DE, Louisville, 1991
11th round-297th pick. St. Louis Cardinals-Kyle Mackey, QB, Texas A&M-Commerce, 1984
He made the Cardinals roster as a rookie, then got cut in 1985. He landed in Philly in 1986, but saw no playing time there either. He got his most extensive playing time in 1987 with the Miami Dolphins during the strike, throwing for 604 yards, three touchdowns, and five interceptions. He played in four more games with the Jets in 1989 and that was it.
11th round-296th pick. Dallas Cowboys-Garth Jax, LB, Florida State, 1986
He played ten years in the NFL, three with the Cowboys(1986-1988), and seven with the Cardinals(1989-1995). He got his first extended playing time with the Cardinals in 1990, when he had three sacks and two interceptions. Cardinals fans probably remember him as the linebacker that tackles a drunk fan who ran onto the field at Sun Devil Stadium. Other notable players picked 296th: Lawrence Pillers, DE, Alcorn State, 1976; Philadelphia Eagles-Al Chesley, LB, Pittsburgh, 1979
11th round-294th pick. Oakland Raiders-Bruce Davis, T, UCLA, 1979
He played for the Raiders from 1979 to 1987, starting at tackle in their Super Bowl XVIII win. He got traded to the Oilers during the 1987 season, where he played thru the 1989 season.
Other notable players picked 294th: Green Bay Packers-Mark Cannon, C, Texas-Arlington, 1984; New England Patriots-Marvin Allen, RB, Tulane, 1988; Philadelphia Eagles-John Hudson, C, Auburn, 1990
11th round-293rd pick. Pittsburgh Steelers-Justin Strzelczyk, T, Maine, 1990
He started 75 of 133 games in his nine year career with the Steelers. He was a regular starter on their offensive line from 1995 to 1998, including Super Bowl XXX. He only played in seven games in 1998 due to injury, and never played again. In 2004 he was killed in an accident during a high speed chase. He was driving against the flow of traffic while being pursued by police, and hit a tanker truck at 90 miles per hour. It was later discovered that he had brain damage normally found in ex-boxers or alzheimers patients in their 80’s. His death & three others helped raise awareness of the damage caused by concussions during an NFL career, and helped lead to the increased emphasis on player safety and concussion testing.
11th round-292nd pick. Atlanta Falcons-Elbert Shelley, DB, Arkansas State, 1987
He was listed as a safety, but he only had one interception in his ten year career with the Falcons. He made a name for himself as a kickoff coverage man, making the Pro Bowl as a special teamer four times. The only other player i’ve heard of being named to more Pro Bowls as a special teamer is Steve Tasker, who made it seven times.
Other notable players picked 292nd: Denver Broncos-Richard Shelton, CB, Liberty, 1989; Buffalo Bills-Al Edwards, WR, Northwestern State-Louisiana, 1990; Indianapolis Colts-Jerry Crafts, T, Louisville, 1991; N.Y. Giants-Nate Singleton, WR, Grambling State, 1992
11th round-291st pick. Miami Dolphins-Jim Jensen, RB/QB/WR, Boston U., 1981
I’ll admit i’m not a Dolphins fan, but I love stories like this. He earned the nickname Crash because of his style of play on special teams. He was originally drafted as a quarterback, which is why he wore #11, but he loved playing so much he volunteered everywhere just to get on the field. He lasted 12 years, from 1981 to 1992, because of his versatility. he spent alot of his time as a receiver from 1987 thru 1991. He set his career high marks in 1988 and 1989. In 1988 he had 58 catches for 652 yards and five touchdowns. In 1989 he followed that with 61 catches for 557 yards and six touchdowns. His career totals were 229 catches for 2,171 yards, and 19 touchdowns. Of his 229 catches, he converted 132 into first downs. He saw playing time as a tailback, fullback, quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, ball holder, and even punt snapper. In 2006, he was selected as the Miami Dolphins Unsung Hero Award winner, given to a player who might not have received much recognition during his career.
Other notable players chosen 291st: Washington Redskins-Bob Holly, QB, Princeton, 1982; Phoenix Cardinals-Jeff Hunter, DE, Albany State (Ga.), 1989; Pittsburgh Steelers-Kendall Gammon, G, Pittsburg State, 1992
additional source for this bio: http://www.jimjensen11.com/
11th round-290th pick. Dallas Cowboys-Chad Hennings, DE, Air Force, 1988
He played on three Super Bowl championship teams during his nine years with the Cowboys, playing in Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII and XXX. He was mainly a reserve early on, but became a full time starter when Russell Maryland left to the join the Raiders during free agency.
As a college player he was so dominant that he won the Outland Trophy in 1987, given annually to the top interior lineman. He led the nation with 24 sacks as a senior. However, because of his military commitments, he lasted until the 11th round in the 1988 draft. In 1992, he was able to have his remaining four years of active service waived when the military did budget cuts. This allowed him to join the Cowboys, and he lasted from 1992 thru 2000. He started a total of 72 games from 1995 thru 2000. He had to retire after missing half of the 2000 season due to injuries.
Other noteworthy players chosen 290th:Cleveland Browns-Dick Ambrose, LB, Virginia, 1975; Washington Redskins-Raleigh McKenzie, G, Tennessee, 1985
11th round-289th pick. Washington Redskins-Monte Coleman, LB, Central Arkansas, 1979
One of only three players to play sixteen years with the Redskins, the other two are Sammy Baugh (16 years), and Darrell Green (20 years). He was never named to a Pro Bowl, but was selected to the All Madden team in 1993. He was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins. He was on four Super Bowl teams, winning three: XVII, XXII, and XXVI. His career highs were 10 1/2 sacks in 1985, and he had three interceptions in 1980 and 1981. In his career he had 56 1/2 sacks, fourth in Redskins history. He also had 17 interceptions for 321 yards and three touchdowns. He was named the head coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff in November 2007.
Other noteworthy players selected with the 289th pick: Miami Dolphins-Mike Kolen, LB, Auburn, 1970; San Francisco 49ers-Jesse Sapolu, G, Hawaii, 1983; Philadelphia Eagles-Herman Hunter, RB, Tennessee State, 1985; San Francisco 49ers-Anthony Shelton, DB, Tennessee State, 1990
12th round-288th pick. Philadelphia Eagles-Joe Lavender, DB, San Diego State, 1973
He spent his first three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, becoming known as a threat to score if he picked it off. He had only four interceptions from 1973 to 1975, but returned two of them for touchdowns. He joined the Redskins in 1976, and immediately became a ballhawk, setting a career high with eight interceptions. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1979 and 1980, notching six interceptions both years. He was on their Super Bowl winning team for Super Bowl XVIII. In his career, he had 33 interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, and scored four touchdowns.
Other notable players picked 288th: Philadelphia Eagles-Bill Campfield, RB, Kansas, 1978; Philadelphia Eagles-Izel Jenkins, CB, North Carolina State, 1988; Miami Dolphins-Bert Weidner, C/G, Kent State, 1989
11th round-287th pick. Houston Oilers-John Davis, T, Georgia Tech, 1987
He spent his first two years as a backup with the Houston Oilers, then signed with the Buffalo Bills as a plan B free agent in 1989. He started a total of 44 regular season games with the Bills in 1991, 1993 & 1994. He played in three of their four Super Bowl losses, missing Super Bowl XXVI due to injury. He retired after the 1994 season.
11th round-286th pick. San Diego Chargers-Buford McGee, RB, Mississippi, 1984
He played nine years as a fullback, spending his first three (1984-1986) as a charger, then five years with the Rams (1987-1991), and 1992 with the Packers. He first made a name for himself as a rookie with the Chargers, scoring the game winning touchdown in an overtime win that helped them beat an 11-0 Miami Dolphins team. He was a reliable red zone target, scoring 30 touchdowns from 1984 thru 1990. Of those 30, he made 13 of them receiving. In 1990 he set a career high with 47 catches for 388 yards and four touchdowns.
11th round-285th pick. L.A. Rams-Doug Flutie, QB, Boston College, 1985
One of the most famous players in NCAA history, Flutie gained national recognition by throwing the winning hail mary pass in the 1984 Cotton Bowl Classic. He was named the 1984 Heisman Trophy winner shortly afterwards. Since his height was seen as a hindrance to NFL clubs (he’s 5’10”), he wasn’t projected to be a high NFL draft pick. So, he signed with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals for 3 years and 3.1 million dollars. He wound up lasting until the 11th round of the NFL draft because he had already signed with the USFL.
After the USFL folded, the Rams had the rights to him, and they traded him to the Bears. In 1987, he was traded from Chicago to New England. He played in only 17 games from 1987 to 1989 with the Patriots. After being released, he signed a two year deal with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. His first season was his only losing season in the CFL. He went 99-27 as a starter over the next seven years, winning the CFL’s Grey Cup title game three times in his career with three CFL teams.
In 1998 he returned to the NFL, signing with the Buffalo Bills. He went 8-3 as a starter, and won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award. He was also named to the Pro Bowl in 1998. He went 10-5 as a starter in 1999, then 4-1 in 2000, but he got replaced by Rob Johnson. He was released in 2001 and signed with the Chargers. He started all 16 games in 2001 and threw for a career high 3,464 yards, but was replaced as the starter by Drew Brees in 2002. In 2003, he replaced Brees as the Chargers started 1-7, and won two of the five games he started. He only played in two games in 2004, but he set a record at the end of the year. He became the oldest player to score a touchdown at the age of 42 years and 71 days, breaking Jerry Rice’s record by four days. He returned to New England to backup Tom Brady in 2005 before calling it quits at the age of 43. He was the next to last ex-USFL player to retire from the NFL, outdone only by Sean Landeta.
Other notable players picked 285th: Minnesota Vikings-Dave Boone, DE, Eastern Michigan, 1974; St. Louis Cardinals-Todd Peat, G, Northern Illinois, 1987
11-284. Seattle Seahawks-Sam Clancy, DE, Pittsburgh, 1982
He bounced around a little at the start of his career. He made the Seahawks active roster in 1983, then joined the USFL in his second year. He signed with the Pittsburgh Maulers in 1984, then the Memphis Showboats in 1985. After the USFL folded, he joined the Cleveland Browns, where he played from 1985-1988. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 1989, and stuck around for five seasons. He had a career high 7.5 sacks in 1990, playing in a rotation with regular starters Jon Hand & Donnell Thompson. In ten NFL seasons he made thirty sacks. He retired after the 1993 season.
Other notable players picked 284th: New Orleans Saints-Pat Swoopes, DT, Mississippi State, 1986; Denver Broncos-Shawn Moore, QB, Virginia, 1991
11th round-283rd pick. Buffalo Bills-Howard Ballard, T, Alabama A&M, 1987
Nicknamed house because of his size, he was with the Bills for all four of their Super Bowl appearances. He stayed with the Bills thru 1993, and was chosen for the Pro Bowl in 1992 & 1993. He signed with Seattle as an unrestricted free agent in 1994, and started all 16 games in four of his five seasons. He missed six games in 1997, and retired after the 1998 season.
Other notable players picked 283rd: Kansas City Chiefs-Marcus Turner, CB, UCLA, 1989; Atlanta Falcons-Joe Sims, T, Nebraska, 1991; New England Patriots-Leroy Mitchell, WR, Texas, 1967
10th round-281st pick. Miami Dolphins-Gary Fencik, S, Yale, 1976
He was signed by the Bears as a rookie in 1976. Between 1977 and 1986, he picked off 38 passes for 488 yards and a touchdown. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice, in 1980 and 1981, and was on the Bears team that won Super Bowl XX. He retired following the 1987 season.
Other notable players picked 281st: N.Y. Jets-Pat Ryan, QB, Tennessee, 1978; Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Blair Kiel, QB, Notre Dame, 1984; Houston Oilers-Willie Drewrey, WR, West Virginia, 1985; L.A. Rams-Terry Crews, LB, Western Michigan, 1991
10-280th pick. Cleveland Browns-Earnest Byner, RB, East Carolina, 1984
He was an incredible steal for a tenth round pick, playing 14 years and running for 8,261 yards and 39 touchdowns. He was also a dependable receiver out of the backfield, recording 512 catches for 4,605 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also was part of a rare tandem, as he & Kevin Mack both ran for over 1,000 yards in 1985. Unfortunately, he is perhaps best known for “the fumble”in the 1987 AFC championship, where he lost the ball in the red zone, and John Elway led the Broncos to a comeback victory afterwards.
In 1989 he wound up becoming the receiving end of what turned out to be a very lopsided trade. The Redskins traded for him to add to their backfield, which included former Pro Bowler and 1,000 yard rusher Gerald Riggs. The Redskins gave up running back Mike Oliphant for Byner. Oliphant only played in 1989 and 1991. Byner went on to be a 1,000 yard rusher and Pro Bowler in 1990 & 1991. He barely missed the 1,000 mark in 1992, running for 998 yards, then played sparingly in 1993. In 1994 he re-signed with the Browns, and had a career high 61 catches in 1995. He stuck with them for the move to Baltimore in 1996, and retired after the 1997 season. He’s been an assistant coach in the NFL every year since his retirement.
Other notable players chosen 280th: Buffalo Bills-Keith Moody, DB, Syracuse, 1976
Information obtained using nfl.com, wikipedia, and pro-football-reference.com