Recent late-round draft picks who have hit it big in the NFL

You hear it every year around draft time, the whispering that goes on when your favorite team has extra picks in the later rounds.

"Hey, Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick. Maybe our GM can uncover a guy like that!"

The whispering needs to stop: Brady basically was a once-in-a-lifetime outlier. But there's no question teams can find valuable players -- even stars -- in the later rounds.

By the way, Brady eventually will become just the second sixth-round pick to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame (the other is former Detroit Lions defensive back Jack Christiansen). There are nine former seventh-rounders, including Shannon Sharpe, and 22 more players who were drafted in the eighth round or later, including Richard Dent, Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Deacon Jones and Bart Starr.

Here are 12 sixth- or seventh-rounders who have hit it (relatively) big from the past five drafts (2010-14):

OT Kelvin Beachum, Steelers

WR Antonio Brown, Steelers

TE Charles Clay, Bills

RB Andre Ellington, Cardinals

CB E.J. Gaines, Rams

DE Greg Hardy, Cowboys

OT Seantrel Henderson, Dolphins

C Jason Kelce, Eagles

RB Alfred Morris, Redskins

OT Derek Newton, Texans

TE Mychal Rivera, Raiders

G J.R. Sweezy, Seahawks

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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