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Published: March 25, 2014 at 05:49 p.m.
Updated: March 26, 2014 at 08:44 p.m.

Top NFL compensatory draft picks

Each year, when the NFL announces its compensatory draft picks distribution, it receives little fanfare. No blaring headlines, more chirping on social media than chatter. But maybe it should receive more attention, considering the impact past compensatory picks have made in the NFL. There is already one former compensatory pick in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and another three looking like they'll be enshrined one day. There is also a threesome of Super Bowl MVPs, and a multitude of big-game heroes. We compiled a list of the 18 most impactful NFL compensatory picks of all-time.

18 Photos Total

  • 18. Aaron Brooks (Green Bay, Round 4, Pick No. 131 overall, 1999) 18

    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    18. Aaron Brooks (Green Bay, Round 4, Pick No. 131 overall, 1999)

    A typical pick-and-store quarterback choice of Ron Wolf in Green Bay, Brooks was traded to the Saints in 2000 and went on to start 90 career NFL games.

  • 17. David Tyree (N.Y. Giants, Round 6, Pick No. 211 overall, 2003) 17

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    17. David Tyree (N.Y. Giants, Round 6, Pick No. 211 overall, 2003)

    Tyree didn't have a great NFL career, but this list is about impact. He made a Pro Bowl as a special teams player, but what he's most known for is the miraculous helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII that will go down as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. It also helped give the Giants an improbable victory over the previously undefeated Patriots.

  • 16. Malcolm Smith (Seahawks, Round 7, Pick No. 242 overall, 2011) 16

    Ric Tapia/NFL

    16. Malcolm Smith (Seahawks, Round 7, Pick No. 242 overall, 2011)

    Smith wasn't even invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but he showed enough at his pro day (at a school where his NFL head coach recruited him) to get drafted late. His interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVIII earned him MVP honors.

  • 15. Ahmad Bradshaw (N.Y. Giants, Round 7, Pick No. 250 overall, 2007) 15

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    15. Ahmad Bradshaw (N.Y. Giants, Round 7, Pick No. 250 overall, 2007)

    Bradshaw was not only on two Super Bowl-winning teams, he was the leading rusher in each game. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards twice with the Giants and has 35 career touchdowns.

  • 14. Tim Ruddy (Miami, Round 2, Pick No. 65 overall, 1994) 14

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    14. Tim Ruddy (Miami, Round 2, Pick No. 65 overall, 1994)

    Ruddy, Dan Marino's center for most of the Hall of Fame quarterback's career, started 140 of 156 career games with the Dolphins. He made his only Pro Bowl in 2000.

  • 13. Josh Sitton (Green Bay, Round 4, Pick No. 135 overall, 2008) 13

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    13. Josh Sitton (Green Bay, Round 4, Pick No. 135 overall, 2008)

    Sitton has been a full-time starter with the Packers since his second season, starting all but two games he was injured. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and was a second-team All-Pro member in 2013.

  • 12. Pat Tillman (Arizona, Round 7, Pick No. 226 overall, 1998) 12

    Roy Dabner/Associated Press

    12. Pat Tillman (Arizona, Round 7, Pick No. 226 overall, 1998)

    Leaving Tillman off this list feels a little un-American. But he was a good player for the Cardinals in his own right. Unfortunately, his career -- and life -- ended way too early.

  • 11. Antoine Bethea (Indianapolis, Round 6, Pick No. 207 overall, 2006) 11

    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    11. Antoine Bethea (Indianapolis, Round 6, Pick No. 207 overall, 2006)

    Bethea has started every game he's appeared in since entering the NFL and hasn't missed a start in six consecutive seasons. He's versatile (can play both safety positions) and supports the run. He has been to two Pro Bowls, seven postseasons, and owns a Super Bowl ring.

  • 10. Pierre Garcon (Indianapolis, Round 6, Pick No. 205 overall, 2008) 10

    Brian Blanco/Associated Press

    10. Pierre Garcon (Indianapolis, Round 6, Pick No. 205 overall, 2008)

    Usually when players go from being a No. 2 at their position to No. 1 with another team, they aren't quite up to the challenge. Garcon is the exception. He has thrived as Robert Griffin's primary target in Washington, catching 113 passes in 2013, tops in the NFL and the 17th most in league history.

  • 9. Derrick Alexander (Cleveland, Round 1, Pick No. 29 overall, 1994) 9

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    9. Derrick Alexander (Cleveland, Round 1, Pick No. 29 overall, 1994)

    In nine NFL seasons (with four teams), Alexander was a consistently productive player, a deep threat who hauled in 417 career passes for almost 7,000 yards and 40 touchdowns.

  • 8. Mike Vrabel (Pittsburgh, Round 3, Pick No. 91 overall, 1997) 8

    Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

    8. Mike Vrabel (Pittsburgh, Round 3, Pick No. 91 overall, 1997)

    One of the most versatile players in modern NFL history, Vrabel moved from defensive end in college to outside linebacker, then inside, and even lined up at tight end in goal-line situations, in the pros. He played 14 seasons in the NFL, eight with the Patriots where he won three Super Bowls. He was an all-pro in 2007.

  • 7. Matt Hasselbeck (Green Bay, Round 6, Pick No. 187 overall, 1998) 7

    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    7. Matt Hasselbeck (Green Bay, Round 6, Pick No. 187 overall, 1998)

    After sitting behind Brett Favre for two seasons, Hasselbeck was traded to Seattle, where he led the Seahawks to six playoff appearances and a Super Bowl, and became the franchise's all-time leading passer. He was also voted to three Pro Bowls.

  • 6. Marques Colston (New Orleans, Round 7, Pick No. 252 overall, 2006) 6

    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    6. Marques Colston (New Orleans, Round 7, Pick No. 252 overall, 2006)

    All Colston did to start his career was set the record for most receptions (168) in a player's first two seasons. He has seven receptions for 83 yards in the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV victory. He holds New Orleans career marks for receptions, yards and touchdowns.

  • 5. La'Roi Glover (Oakland, Round 5, Pick No. 166 overall, 1996) 5

    Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

    5. La'Roi Glover (Oakland, Round 5, Pick No. 166 overall, 1996)

    Glover was a fabulous player during his 13-year NFL career, making six Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams, while being named to the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team. He led the NFL in sacks in 2000 with 17, the year he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year.

  • 4. Hines Ward (Pittsburgh, Round 3, Pick No. 92 overall, 1998) 4

    Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

    4. Hines Ward (Pittsburgh, Round 3, Pick No. 92 overall, 1998)

    Ward is the Steelers' all-time leader in catches, yards and TD receptions, and finished his career as one of just eight players to record at least 1,000 receptions. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion and won MVP honors in XL. He appears to have a solid case for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • 3. Brian Dawkins (Philadelphia, Round 2, Pick No. 61 overall, 1996) 3

    Tom Mihalek/Associated Press

    3. Brian Dawkins (Philadelphia, Round 2, Pick No. 61 overall, 1996)

    Like Hines Ward, Dawkins appears headed to the Hall of Fame after a career that included nine Pro Bowls, six All-Pro teams and a Super Bowl. A member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, Dawkins finished his career with 1,131 tackles, 26 sacks, 37 forced fumbles, 37 interceptions (two returned for TDs) and 175 passes defensed.

  • 2. Larry Allen (Dallas, Round 2, Pick No. 46 overall, 1994) 2

    National Football League

    2. Larry Allen (Dallas, Round 2, Pick No. 46 overall, 1994)

    Allen is the only compensatory draft pick in the Hall of Fame. He had quite a career in the NFL, starting 197 of 203 games and making 11 Pro Bowls and seven All-Pro teams. He was voted to both the NFL's 1990s and 2000s All-Decade Teams.

  • 1. Tom Brady (New England, Round 6, Pick No. 199 overall, 2000) 1

    Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL

    1. Tom Brady (New England, Round 6, Pick No. 199 overall, 2000)

    Brady is a lock for the Hall of Fame with credentials that include two NFL MVPs, two Super Bowl MVPs, three Super Bowl titles and nine Pro Bowl selections. He is the Patriots' all-time leader in passing yards, completions and career wins. And he has a supermodel wife, to boot.

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