American football player in game. Night stadium lights. American football player in game. Night stadium lights.

5 Most Interesting NFL Draft Picks in History

The NFL has a long-standing history of picking some of the best players. The NFL draft picks began in 1936, and countless sportsmen climbed the ladder of success. For example, Peyton Manning is said to be the top NFL draft pick in history who played in 14 Pro Bowls. He is also the proud winner of 5 NFL MVP awards.

However, the best performers may not always be the most interesting. So, we thought of finding out some of the most interesting and unique NFL picks in its history. 

So, let’s start with the most unique player ever. 

1. Chuck Bednarik

Chuck Bednarik played for the Eagles from 1949 to 1962 and has an amazing story behind him. He is among the oldest NFL players to be drafted at the age of 25. What was the reason behind such a late draft?

Chuck went to fight in World War II after he graduated from high school. It was only after the war he could join college to continue his education. As a result, he is the oldest NFL pick but performed like a star on the field. 

He ruled the rankings for 14 years and skipped only 3 matches out of 172. Moreover, he took charge of two positions on the team, starting center and starting linebacker. He was famous for his tackles and sending players down to the ground. 

The most notable was in 1960 when Chuck sent Frank Gifford to the ground with his tackle. Gifford took 18 months to recover from the hit and play in the NFL again. 

Chuck also has the honor of being chosen eight times for the Pro Bowl. 

2. Christian Ponder

Christian Ponder was the 2011 NFL draft pick for the Minnesota Vikings. However, most people thought he was a waste of money when other notable players were up for selection. Andy Dalton and Ryan Mallett, both known for their prowess, were there. 

Why did experts make such a conclusion about Ponder?

The story goes back to before the NFL 2011 season. Ponder was infamous for getting injured in the fields around Florida. So, most experts didn’t even include him in the first-round pick. Additionally, others thought he would never be a choice for Day 1 picking. 

However, the Vikings were short of a quarterback even though they had Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert on the team. They chose to try their luck on Ponder, who didn’t fail to impress them. 

He was quite an offensive player during his career and participated in playoffs in 13 games. Moreover, he has several awards, like the Bobby Bowden Award and James Tatum Award.

3. Rickey Dudley

Rickey Dudley was the 9th pick by the Oakland Raiders in 1996. He played as a tight end, but not many thought he would have a bright career. It was not the convention at that time to select a college player with a basketball history. 

Yes, that’s right! Dudley played for the Ohio State Buckeyes as a forward in his college days. However, his basketball career didn’t turn out to be too impressive. Therefore, he tried his hands at football under John Cooper, with a year to spare before the 1994 season. 

However, Dudley was a star athlete and proved his worth. In his second college season, Dudley had 575 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 37 catches to his name. Finally, he made it to the Oakland Raiders, where he participated in 9 NFL seasons.

Dudley made his way into more teams during his career. The list includes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns. Moreover, he was declared the winner of Super Bowl XXXVII.

4. Terry Bradshaw

Terry Bradshaw was the first overall pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1970. At that time, the Steelers were not the best team around, which many of us would find surprising.

However, luck was on their side, as the Steelers had a 1-13 record at the end of the 1969 season. As a result, they had the privilege of choosing the top pick, and they signed up Bradshaw.

The move turned out to be highly successful as Bradshaw brought a new spirit to the team. The Steelers needed it badly, as they couldn’t make it to the playoffs for 22 straight years. 

Bradshaw had the reputation of having the strongest arms in the NFL. He is still famous for his iconic throw to Franco Harris, which was a 60-yard TD catch. 

Later on, Bradshaw helped the Steelers win 4 Super Bowls in 6 seasons from 1974 to 1979. He also set Super Bowl records during his career with 9 touchdowns and 932 yards. 

Bradshaw was one of the most notable contributors to the Steelers’ success. 

5. John McCargo

John McCargo had a sad career. The Buffalo Bills picked him in the first draft in 2006 as he graduated from North Carolina State College. 

The NFL pick went against the expectations of experts. No one even thought he would be chosen during the 1st or even the 2nd round. However, the Bills needed someone to beef up the defense and relied on McCargo. 

Unfortunately, he had to stay on injured reserve for most of the season. However, McCargo did participate in all 16 matches during the 2007 season, only to be handed over to the Indianapolis Colts in 2008. But the contract was void as he couldn’t complete the physical test.

McCargo changed teams several times and played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears. Sadly, his performance was not good, and teams kept dropping him repeatedly. 

McCargo also faced personal problems in his personal life later on and was even arrested in 2017. He remains one of the unique NFL picks we come across. 

6. Final Thoughts

The NFL picks in history have many amazing stories behind them. From fighting in World War to changing sports, these incidents are a part of NFL history. They all contributed to the NFL legacy, our favorite sport. Do you have any other NFL picks in mind?

Last Updated on December 22, 2023 by Sathi Chakraborty


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