The NFL draft is an exciting and optimistic time as teams select the players they hope will help shape the franchise for years. Some picks obviously work out, and some obviously don’t. But that’s any sport for you.
While the vast majority of NFL players who go on to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame come from the first few rounds, some diamonds in the rough play with chips on their shoulders and have phenomenal careers.
Look no further than Tom Brady, who was famously taken in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft with the 199th overall pick by the New England Patriots. Seven Super Bowl titles and numerous NFL records later, TB12 will obviously get the call to Canton whenever he decides to hang up his cleats.
If the current list of the lowest NFL draft picks to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame holds up until Brady is inducted, he would be the eighth-lowest pick to get in, right in between three-time Super Bowl champion tight end Shannon Sharpe (No. 192 in 1990) and legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr (No. 200 in 1956). Super Bowl 20 MVP Richard Dent is sixth on the list as he was taken with the 203rd pick in 1983.
Here’s a look at the five lowest NFL draft picks to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
5. Ken Houston: No. 214 in 1967
Taken out of Prairie View A&M by the Houston Oilers in the ninth round of the 1967 NFL draft, safety Ken Houston played 14 NFL seasons, six with the Oilers and his final eight with Washington. He recorded 49 interceptions, returning nine of them for touchdowns, and added another score on a fumble recovery.
Houston was a 12-time Pro Bowler and 12-time All-Pro selection (two First Team, 10 Second Team), and he was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1970s. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and was later named to both the NFL’s 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams.
4. Andy Robustelli: No. 228 in 1951
Out of now-defunct Arnold College, defensive end Andy Robustelli was selected in the 19th round of the 1951 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams. Considered a long shot to make the team, he worked his way into the starting lineup as a rookie and helped the Rams to an NFL championship.
After five seasons in LA, Robustelli joined the New York Giants in 1956 and promptly helped them to an NFL championship, as well. He played nine seasons in New York before retiring in 1964. In 14 total seasons, he was a seven-time Pro Bowler and a 10-time All-Pro selection (six First Team, four Second Team).
Robustelli was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
3. Raymond Berry: No. 232 in 1954
Taken in the 20th round of the 1954 NFL draft, split end Raymond Berry played his entire 13-year NFL career with the Baltimore Colts, winning back-to-back titles alongside Johnny Unitas in 1958 and 1959.
In those 13 seasons, Berry, who caught just 33 passes at SMU, caught 631 passes for 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns while adding another 20 receptions for 284 yards and a score in four postseason games. He was a six-time Pro Bowler, a six-time All-Pro selection (three First Team, three Second Team), a three-time receiving yards leader, a three-time receptions leader, and a two-time receiving touchdowns leader. He was also a member of the 1950s All-Decade Team and was named to both the NFL’s 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams.
Berry was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973 and was the head coach of the New England Patriots from 1984 to 1989, leading them to Super Bowl 20 in 1985.
2. Chris Hanburger: No. 245 in 1965
Selected in the 18th round of the 1965 NFL draft, North Carolina linebacker Chris Hanburger spent his entire 14-year NFL career with Washington.
Known as the Hangman for his clothesline-style tackles, Hanburger recorded 46 sacks and 19 interceptions during his career, returning two for touchdowns while also adding three scores on fumble recoveries. Over 14 seasons in the nation’s capital, he was a nine-time Pro Bowler (the most in franchise history) and a six-time All-Pro selection (five First Team, one Second Team).
After he was snubbed for decades, Hanburger was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
1. Roosevelt Brown: No. 321 in 1953
Morgan State offensive tackle Roosevelt “Rosey” Brown was taken in the 27th round of the 1953 NFL draft and played his entire 13-year NFL career with the New York Giants, teaming with Robustelli to help the franchise to an NFL title in 1956.
In 13 seasons with the Giants, Brown was a nine-time Pro Bowler and a nine-time All-Pro selection (six First Team, three Second Team), and he was also a member of the 1950s All-Decade Team. Like Houston and Berry, he was named to both the NFL’s 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams.
Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975 and is a member of the Giants Ring of Honor.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference