Most scouts didn't believe Brady had the physical tools to be a starting NFL quarterback coming out of Michigan. He was too thin, ran a slow 40 at the Combine and didn't have a strong enough arm. The Patriots saw some upside, but even they had to be surprised at how successful Brady was after taking over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001. Brady became the first QB to start and win three Super Bowls before age 28 and he has the best record (57-14) of any QB in the modern era.
2 of 16Richard Mackson/SI
After a lackluster college career in which he transferred from Long Beach State to Georgia and missed most of his senior year with a hamstring injury, Davis fell to the sixth round. But he landed in the perfect spot. He earned a starting spot in Denver his rookie season and immediately provided the answer at running back the Broncos desperately needed. Davis helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl in '97 and '98, and became the fourth running back to reach 2,000 yards in a season in 1998.
3 of 16Grant Halverson/Getty Images
An all-purpose athlete at Georgia, Ward played quarterback, running back and receiver for the Bulldogs, but since joining the Steelers he's shifted solely to receiver and has been an outstanding one. He is the Steelers' all-time leader in receptions and was named MVP of Super Bowl XL.
4 of 16Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Seven tight ends were selected before Sharpe in 1990, but no player at that position ever achieved as much as Sharpe did in his 14-year career. He's the all-time leader in receptions (815), yards (10,060) and TDs (62) for a tight end, and won three Super Bowl rings with the Broncos and Ravens. Not bad for a player who was barely recruited out of high school, played at small Division I-AA Savannah State and was almost cut by the Broncos early in his career.
5 of 16Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Martin was voted preseason All-America his senior year at Pitt, but an injury in the second game forced him to sit out the rest of the season. As a rookie he started 14 games, finishing with franchise records for carries (368), yards (1,487) and rushing touchdowns (14). He played three seasons with the Patriots before moving on to the Jets. His most productive season was 2004, when he finished with 1,697 yards on 371 carries.
6 of 16Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Bruschi tied the NCAA Division I-A sack record as a defensive lineman in Arizona's "Desert Swarm" defense, but he was too small to play lineman in the NFL and many thought he was too slow to play linebacker. The Patriots have developed a keen eye for the kind of intangibles that made Bruschi such an effective linebacker. He has been the emotional leader of a defense that has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl championships.
7 of 16Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Hall of Fame voter Jim Trotter said the opposition to Terrell Owens' candidacy felt personal.
8 of 16Peter Read Miller/SI
Gbaja-Biamila entered college weighing less than 200 pounds, but set the career sack record at San Diego State with 33. But he measured 6-foot-3 1/2, 245 pounds at the Combine, too small to play on the defensive line. The Packers were confident he could put on weight and play defensive end. They were right, and Gbaja-Biamila quickly became one of the league's top pass-rushers. He's consistently among the NFL's leaders in sacks.
9 of 16John Biever/SI
Anderson was little known when he was selected by the Falcons and remained that way until the 1998 season - despite having rushed for 1,000-plus yards in each of his previous two seasons. The '98 season, though, was special -- he had an NFL-record 410 carries and his 1,846 yards -- the ninth-best total in NFL history. He helped the Falcons to Super Bowl XXXIII and rushed for 96 yards on 18 carries in the 34-19 loss to Denver. The former Utah star used his anger at falling to the 201st pick as a motivating factor throughout his career.
10 of 16AP
Even though he left UNLV as the school's all-time leading receiver, NFL teams weren't interested in the 6-foot-1 McCardell. The Redskins picked him up late, which was fortunate for McCardell, because he could learn from Art Monk and Gary Clark. After bouncing around the league a bit, McCardell landed in Jacksonville and became one of the NFL's most consistent No. 2 receivers. In 2002, McCardell caught two TDs to lead the Bucs to a Super Bowl championship, and even at 34 he played well after being traded to the Chargers midway through the 2004 season.
11 of 16Paul Buck/AFP/Getty Images
Out of tiny Emporia State, Lett burst into the Cowboys' starting lineup in 1994 and made the first of his two Pro Bowl appearances that season. One of the most dominant defensive tackles of his time, Lett was a member of three Cowboys Super Bowl championship teams, starting in Super Bowls XXVIII and XXX. Lett's off-the-field indiscretions and questionable plays (getting the ball swiped out of his hands in the Super Bowl and knocking the ball out of the back of the end zone against the Dolphins on Thanksgiving) sometimes tarnish his image, but he was a force in his 11-year career.
12 of 16Brian Bahr/Getty Images
An All-Ivy performer at Harvard, Birk has been a fixture at center for the Vikings since 2000 and is considered by some to be the top center in the NFL. He earned his first bid to the Pro Bowl in 2000 and was selected again in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007.
13 of 16Bob Rosato/SI
A classic example of why Combine results aren't everything when it comes to drafting quality players. Thomas was a standout at Texas Tech, but scouts considered him too small and slow. Those who saw him on a weekly basis in college knew Thomas made up for his shortcomings with tenacity and outstanding instincts. He came to Miami and instantly became the leader of the defense, and is consistently one of the leading tacklers in the NFL.
14 of 16John W. McDonough/SI
After playing at Western Illinois, Harrison broke in as a special-teams player and then became a star safety. He was named the Chargers' defensive player of the year in 1996 and '97 and Pro Bowler in '98. In 2003 he joined the Patriots, and became a leader on a defense that helped New England win three Super Bowls. Harrison has a reputation for nasty hits, but is respected for his non-stop motor and outstanding instincts.
15 of 16John Biever/SI
Thanks to a serious knee injury he suffered at Oklahoma State, Thomas slipped to the Bills in the second round. He instantly energized Buffalo's offense and helped form a nucleus that carried the Bills to four straight Super Bowls. He retired in 2001 ranked sixth all time in total yards from scrimmage (16,532) and ninth in rushing (12,074). Thomas said the anger he felt at being bypassed in the first round was a key motivating factor in his rise to stardom.
16 of 16Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Davis didn't get a chance to work out at the Combine because of a knee injury, which helps explain how he feel to the fourth round. His breakout season came in 1999 when he led the NFC with 1,045 yards. In 2001, he set Washington's single-season record for rushing yards (1,432). Davis went to Carolina in '03 setting a personal-best mark with 1,444 yards rushing.
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