Tom Brady is sort of the 'patron saint' of NFL late-round picks

Go ahead and admit it: You were saying "Who is that guy and why is he being drafted?" when the names of some of those sixth- and seventh-round picks were being announced Saturday during the final day of the 2014 draft.

Don't be surprised if a handful of those sixth- and seventh-rounders end up being key players over the next three or four seasons.

Four sixth-rounders from the 2013 draft -- Jacksonville Jaguars safety Josh Evans (from Florida), Houston Texans tight end Ryan Griffin (Connecticut), New England Patriots defensive tackle Chris Jones (Bowling Green) and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Vince Williams (Florida State) -- started at least eight games as rookies, with all but Griffin starting at least 10. (Jones was drafted by Houston, released in August, picked up by Tampa Bay, released in September, then signed by the Patriots in late September.)

While New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- a sixth-round pick in 2000 -- is held up as the patron saint of late-rounders, a perusal of recent drafts shows a bunch of late-round picks have made it big.

Here's a "Dandy Dozen" of late-rounders who have hit it big from the past 10 drafts (and this is not a complete list, by any means). One name not here: Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, the Super Bowl MVP. His overall body of work isn't as strong as the other guys' on this list.

S Antoine Bethea, San Francisco

WR Marques Colston, New Orleans

WR Pierre Garcon, Washington

DE Greg Hardy, Carolina

C Jason Kelce, Philadelphia

RB Alfred Morris, Washington

CB Captain Munnerlyn, Minnesota

C Chris Myers, Houston

DE Ahtyba Rubin, Cleveland

OT Zach Strief, New Orleans

LB Danny Trevathan, Denver

CB Cary Williams, Philadelphia

Brady is a lock to become just the second sixth-round pick to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There are nine former seventh-rounders, including Bob Hayes, Gene Hickerson and Shannon Sharpe, and 24 other players who were drafted in the eighth round or later.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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