Skip to main content

NFL Draft's All-Time Best Players by Pick Number... All 262

NFL Draft's All-Time Best Players by Pick Number... All 259

Tom Brady will always be the greatest player taken with the 199th pick in the NFL draft

The 2022 NFL Draft kicks off on April 28 from Las Vegas and 262 players will be selected through seven rounds over three days. If we have learned anything since the first draft in 1936, it is that great talent can be selected with any pick.

Over the past 85 years, the number of rounds and selections has fluctuated based on the number of teams and compensatory picks. However, the art of evaluating and selecting players remains constant whether there are 10 teams or 32. With that rationale in mind and in honor of the upcoming draft, here is a rundown of the best players to be taken with each pick, starting with No. 262. [Note: For consistency, tailbacks and halfbacks are listed as RB, all return specialists are listed as KR, and all split ends and flankers are listed as WR].

262. Jeff Van Note, RB/DE, Kentucky

1969 Draft, Round 11 – Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons drafted Van Note with the plan of converting him to linebacker. Instead, head coach Norm Van Brocklin moved him to center, where he played for 18 seasons and made six Pro Bowls. Atlanta retired his No. 57 in 1986 and gave him a '57 Chevrolet as well.

261. Jim David, DB, Colorado A&M (now Colorado State)

1952 Draft, Round 22 – Detroit Lions

"The Hatchet" made six Pro Bowls and was a critical part of the Lions wrecking crew of a defense that powered Detroit to three NFL championships in the 1950s.

260. Donald Igwebuike, K, Clemson

1985 Draft, Round 10 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Nigerian-born kicker is the Bucs fourth all-time leading scorer even though he only played five seasons with the franchise. An indictment in a heroin smuggling plot for which he was acquitted arguably cut his career short. 

259. Jim Turner, K, Utah State

1963 Draft, Round 19 – Washington Redskins

Turner opted to sign with the AFL's New York Jets and played 16 seasons, earning Pro Bowl honors twice and a spot in the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame. He also accounted for 10 of the Jets 16 points in their upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

258. Curtis Duncan, WR, Northwestern

1987 Draft, Round 10 – Houston Oilers

The fourth receiver in Houston's Run & Shoot attack, Duncan scored 20 touchdowns during his seven-year career and made the Pro Bowl in 1992.

257. Pete Athas, CB, Orlando Panthers

1970 Draft, Round 10 – Dallas Cowboys

A journeyman if there ever was one, Athas walked on at Tennessee before dropping out and signing with the Orlando Panthers of the long-defunct Continental Football League. The Cowboys drafted him in 1970, but he broke his jaw during a fight with Reggie Rucker in training camp and was cut before the start of the season. He went on to play six seasons with the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints, snagging 16 interceptions along the way.

256. Ryan Succop, K, South Carolina

2009 Draft, Round 7 – Kansas City Chiefs

The 2009 Draft's "Mr. Irrelevant" has nailed 83 percent of his field goals in starting roles for the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans, and won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. He currently holds the record for most consecutive field goals made under 50 yards with 56.

255. Don Majkowski, QB, Virginia

1987 Draft, Round 10 – Green Bay Packers

The "Majik Man" led the NFL in passing yards and the Packers to a 10-6 season in 1989, but battled injuries for the remainder of his career.  He famously tore a ligament in his ankle in 1992 and Brett Favre came off the bench to win the game and keep the starting job.

254. Vai Sikahema, KR, Brigham Young

1986 Draft, Round 10 – St. Louis Cardinals

The first Tongan to ever play in the NFL started a little later because of his two-year service as a Mormon missionary. Once he got in the league, he was a stalwart return specialist for the Cardinals, the Green Bay Packers, and the Philadelphia Eagles. In Philly, he famously boxed the goal post after returning a punt for a touchdown.

253. David Givens, WR, Notre Dame

2002 Draft, Round 7 – New England Patriots

Givens scored touchdowns for the Patriots in both Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX. A knee injury cut short what was shaping up to be a very solid career.

252. Marques Colston, WR, Hofstra

2006 Draft, Round 7 – New Orleans Saints

Colston started Week 1 in 2006 and played with the franchise for 10 seasons. He is New Orleans’ career leader in receptions (711), receiving yards (9,759), and touchdowns (72).

251. Scott Wells, C, Tennessee

2004 Draft, Round 7 – Green Bay Packers

Wells became the Packers’ starting center in 2006 and held that spot for six seasons. Along the way, he earned a Super Bowl ring and made the Pro Bowl.

250. Scott Studwell, LB, Illinois

1977 Draft, Round 9 – Minnesota Vikings

In his 14 seasons with the Vikings, “Stud” was a three-time All-Pro and retired as the franchise’s all-time leading tackler.

249. Dwight Clark, WR, Clemson

1979 Draft, Round 10 – San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco head coach Bill Walsh saw Clark perform as he was evaluating Clemson quarterback Jeff Fuller and took him with his 10th-round pick. Clark became the anchor in the 49ers’ receiving corps and is immortalized in NFL history for making “The Catch.”

248. Chip Myers, WR, Northwestern Oklahoma State

1967 Draft, Round 10 – San Francisco 49ers

Myers played sparingly his rookie year with San Francisco and played minor league football the next season. He then signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1969 and caught 218 passes in eight seasons with the team.

247. Reyna Thompson, S, Baylor

1986 Draft, Round 9 – Miami Dolphins

Thompson stood out for his work on special teams and made the Pro Bowl with the New York Giants in 1990.

246. Gene Chichowski, QB/CB, Indiana

1957 Draft, Round 21 – Pittsburgh Steelers

In three seasons with the Steelers and Washington Redskins, Chichowski played quarterback, halfback and defensive back.

245. Chris Hanburger, LB, North Carolina

1965 Draft, Round 18 – Washington Redskins

Known as “The Hangman” for his clothesline tackles, Hanburger was one of the best outside linebackers of his era and made the Pro Bowl nine times. In 2011, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

244. John Madden, T, California Polytechnic

1958 Draft, Round 21 – Philadelphia Eagles

The all-conference lineman injured his knee in training camp and was never able to play. However, while he was rehabbing, he watched game film with Eagles quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and developed an affinity for coaching. The rest is history.

243. Lou Creekmur, G, William & Mary

1948 Draft, Round 26 – Philadelphia Eagles

Instead of joining the Eagles, Creekmur finished out his eligibility with William and Mary in 1948 and ‘49 and was acquired by the Lions in a deal coinciding with the draft of players from the recently defunct All-America Football Conference. Detroit’s iron man then played 168 straight games, blocking for Doak Walker and Bobby Layne en route to eight Pro Bowl appearances and three NFL titles. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

242. Brett Keisel, DE, BYU

2002 Draft, Round 7 – Pittsburgh Steelers

Keisel recorded 30 sacks in his career and made the Pro Bowl in 2010.  In the lead-up to Super Bowl XLV, his mountain-man beard was one of the top stories.

241. Larry Stallings, LB, Georgia Tech

1963 Draft, Round 18 – St. Louis Cardinals

Stallings started at linebacker for 14 seasons with the Cardinals and made the Pro Bowl in 1970.

240. Shawn Jefferson, WR, Central Florida

1991 Draft, Round 9 – Houston Oilers

Jefferson was drafted in the ninth round by Houston, but did not make the roster. He was picked up by the San Diego Chargers and went on to play 13 seasons, catching 470 passes in the process.

239. Jerry Mertens, CB, Drake

1958 Draft, Round 20 – San Francisco 49ers

Mertens made the Pro Bowl his rookie season and played for San Francisco for eight years. His career ended when he broke his neck tackling Jim Taylor for a six-yard loss (he made a full recovery).

238. L.C. Greenwood, DE, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

1969 Draft, Round 10 – Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers drafted the foundation of its Steel Curtain defensive line in 1969. They got Joe Greene with the fourth pick and then took Greenwood in the 10th round. Greenwood was a sack machine in the era where sacks weren’t recorded and made the Pro Bowl six times. 

237. Ali Haji-Sheikh, K, Michigan

1983 Draft, Round 9 – New York Giants

Haji-Sheikh set the record for most field goals in a season (35) his rookie year and was the starter for the Washington Redskins when they won Super Bowl XXII.

236. Tom Pridemore, S, West Virginia

1978 Draft, Round 9 – Atlanta Falcons

Pridemore ranks eighth on the Falcons’ all-time career interceptions list behind Deion Sanders. He also served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1980-82, making him the only NFL player to hold legislative office while active.

235. Mike Horan, P, Long Beach State

1982 Draft, Round 9 – Atlanta Falcons

Horan was cut by the Falcons and did not make an active roster until joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 1984. He went on to play for five different teams, make the Pro Bowl in 1988, and play for the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, his final game.

234. Tom Goode, C, Mississippi State

1961 Draft, Round 17 – Detroit Lions

Goode was drafted by the Lions, but opted for the Houston Oilers, who picked him in the AFL Draft. He went on to play for the Oilers, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts and made the Pro Bowl in 1969. Goode may be best remembered as the long-snapper for Jim O’Brien’s game-winning field goal in Super Bowl V.

233. Clyde Simmons, DE, Philadelphia Eagles

1986 Draft, Round 9 – Philadelphia Eagles

Simmons made the Pro Bowl four times and led the NFL in sacks in 1992 with 19. He ranks 21st in career sacks with 121.5.

232. Raymond Berry, WR, SMU

1954 Draft, Round 20 – Baltimore Colts

Berry caught only 33 passes while at SMU, but went on to become the best and most dependable receiver of his era. The Colts retired his number and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

231. Otto Schnellbacher, CB, Kansas

1947 Draft, Round 25 – Chicago Cardinals

The Cardinals drafted Schnellbacher before his senior year and he opted for the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) after graduation (he also played professional basketball at the same time). When the AAFC merged with the NFL in 1950, Schnellbacher went to the New York Giants, where he made the Pro Bowl twice and led the league in interceptions in 1951.

230. Vern Den Herder, DE, Central College (Iowa)

1971 Draft, Round 9 – Miami Dolphins

Den Herder was the Dolphins’ unofficial sacks leader for many of his 12 seasons with the franchise. Legendary head coach Don Shula stated that he was "one of the most dependable players I've ever coached."

229. Jason Ferguson, NT, Georgia

1997 Draft, Round 7 – New York Jets

Ferguson tested positive for marijuana in the pre-draft Combine and 17 defensive tackles were taken ahead of him.  He overcame those issues and started at nose tackle for the Jets, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Dolphins over his 12 seasons in the NFL.

228. Andy Robustelli, DE, Arnold College

1951 Draft, Round 19 – Los Angeles Rams

Drafted in the 19th round, Robustelli defied low expectations and made seven Pro Bowls with the Rams and New York Giants. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.

227. Brad Johnson, QB, Florida State

1992 Draft, Round 9 – Minnesota Vikings

Johnson played 15 seasons with the Vikings, Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Dallas Cowboys and made two Pro Bowls. He also won Super Bowl XXXVIII with the Bucs.

226. Steve Tasker, WR, Northwestern

1985 Draft, Round 9 – Houston Oilers

Tasker played a season and a half with the Oilers before being released and picked up by the Buffalo Bills. There, he became arguably the greatest special teams player in NFL history.<