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Julian Edelman retires as one of NFL’s best seventh-round picks: Here’s where he ranks among top 10 all-time

Julian Edelman’s retirement marks the end to one of the more successful NFL careers over the past dozen years. A former quarterback for Kent State, Edelman blossomed into one of the cornerstones of the Patriots‘ second wave of Super Bowl wins during the 2010s. The MVP of Super Bowl LIII, Edelman is also one of the most productive receivers in postseason history. 

While fans and media members have already begun to debate Edelman’s eventual Hall of Fame status, there’s no debating his place as one of the best seventh-round picks in NFL history. Here’s where Edelman ranks among the greatest seventh-round picks of all time. Edelman managed to make the cut over several productive players, including receivers Marques Colston and Donald Driver, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, offensive lineman Rayfield Wright, running back Jamal Anderson, defensive back Lemar Parrish and kicker Gary Anderson, among others. 

Honorable mention: Jake Scott, S

7th round, 159th overall pick, 1970 draft 

Teams: 
Dolphins (1970-75), Washington (1976-78)

A key member of Miami’s “No Name” defense, Scott helped the Dolphins win the franchise’s only two Super Bowl titles. A five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, Scott earned Super Bowl MVP honors after picking off two passes in Miami’s 14-7 win over Washington in Super Bowl VII. Scott remains the Dolphins’ career leader in interceptions. 

10. Tom Nalen, C

7th round, 218th pick, 1994 draft 

Team:
Broncos (1994-07)

A starter for 13 of his 14 seasons in Denver, Nalen anchored a Broncos offensive line that helped win back-to-back Super Bowls in the late 1990s. A five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, Nalen blocked for six different 1,000-yard running backs, including Terrell Davis, who rushed for 2,008 yards during his MVP season. 

9. Julian Edelman, WR

7th round, 232nd pick, 2009 draft 

Team: 
Patriots (2009-20)

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Getty Images

Edelman ranks second in Patriots history in receptions with 670, fourth with 6,822 receiving yards and ninth with 36 touchdowns. A three-time champion and the MVP of Super Bowl LIII, Edelman’s 118 postseason receptions and 1,442 career postseason receiving yards are second all time. Edelman’s 24 receptions in Super Bowl play are tied for fifth all time. His 337 Super Bowl receiving yards are fourth all time. 

8. Harold Carmichael, WR

7th round, 161st overall, 1971 draft 

Teams:
Eagles (1971-83), Cowboys (1984)

Position: WR

The 6-foot-8, 225-pound Carmichael was a four-time Pro Bowler as well as a member of the NFL’s All-1970s Team. The league leader in receptions and yards during the 1973 season, Carmichael was one of the driving forces behind the Eagles’ 1980 NFC championship team. He remains the Eagles’ all-time leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He was part of the Hall of Fame’s 2020 induction class.  

7. Bobby Mitchell, HB/WR 

7th round, 84th overall pick, 1958 draft 

Teams:
Browns (1958-61), Washington (1962-68) 

While he earned his first Pro Bowl in Cleveland, Mitchell’s career took off after he was traded to Washington in 1962. A Pro Bowler in each of his first three seasons in Washington, the electric Mitchell led the NFL in receiving during the 1962 and ’63 seasons. A member of Washington’s Ring of Fame, Mitchell was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983. 

6. Gene Hickerson, G

7th round, 78th overall pick, 1957 draft 

Team:
Browns (1958-73) 

A key blocker for Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, Hickerson was a key piece of the Browns’ 1964 championship team. A member of the NFL’s All-1960s Team, Hickerson earned Pro Bowl honors each season from 1965-70. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. 

5. Jim Ringo, C

7th round, 80th overall, 1953 draft

Team:
Packers (1953-63), Eagles (1964-67)

The first of two members from the 1953 draft to make this list, Ringo was part of Vince Lombardi’s first two championship teams in Green Bay. A 10-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro, Ringo earned three of his Pro Bowls during his final four seasons in Philadelphia. A member of the NFL’s All-1960s Team, Ringo was enshrined in Canton, Ohio in 1981. 

4. Bo Jackson, RB 

7th round, 183rd overall, 1987 draft 

Team:
 Raiders (1987-90) 

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Peter Brouillet/Getty Images

The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner, Jackson was the No. 1 overall pick by the Buccaneers‘ during the 1986 draft. But after initially passing on football to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals, Jackson was eligible to be selected in the 1987 draft, where he was picked up by the Raiders in the seventh round. 

Jackson was still a force on both the gridiron and the diamond. The only athlete to be named an all-star in two different sports, Jackson boasted the NFL’s longest runs during three separate seasons. A Pro Bowler in 1990 (his last NFL season), Jackson’s career was cut short by a hip injury that was sustained during a playoff win over the Bengals

3. Shannon Sharpe, TE

7th round, 192nd overall, 1990 draft 

Teams:
Broncos (1990-99, 2002-03), Ravens (2000-03) 

Arguably the NFL’s greatest tight end during the 1990s, Sharpe played a vital role on the Broncos back-to-back championship teams. A Pro Bowler each season from 1992-98, Sharpe retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in receiving yards by a tight end. A member of the NFL’s All-1990s Team, Sharpe won a third Super Bowl as a member of the 2000 Ravens. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. 

2. Joe Schmidt, LB

7th round, 86th overall, 1953 draft 

Team:
Lions (1953-65)

A 10-time Pro Bowler and eight-time All-Pro, Schmidt was part of a dominant Lions defense that also included Dick “Night Train” Lane and Dick LeBeau. A member of the NFL’s All-1950s Team, Schmidt helped the Lions bring home NFL titles in 1953 and in 1957. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973. Schmidt was named to the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2019. 

1. Larry Wilson, S

7th round, 74th overall, 1960 draft 

Team: 
Cardinals (1960-72) 

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Getty Images

A member of the NFL’s All-1960s and ’70s teams, Wilson was included in the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2019. The NFL’s interception leader in 1966, Wilson was named to eight Pro Bowls in a nine-year span and an All-Pro each season from 1966-70. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978. Wilson’s No. 8 jersey has been retired by the Cardinals. 

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