Sharpe the Sharpest of NFL seventh-round draft selections

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos, November 11, 2002

(Photos courtesy of Eric Bakke, Denver Broncos)

Talk of Fame Network

Shannon Sharpe was a wide receiver at a small college and a seventh-round draft pick who didn’t start an NFL game until his second season.

That didn’t prevent our listeners and readers of the Talk of Fame Network from voting Sharpe the greatest seventh-round draft pick of all-time. Sharpe received a whopping 53.6 percent of the vote despite a field that included three other Hall of Famers and the second leading scorer of all-time.

Detroit Lions middle linebacker Joe Schmidt finished second with 17.9 percent of the vote, followed by Cardinals safety Larry Wilson with 14.3 percent and Chiefs outside linebacker Bobby Bell at 8.9 percent. Kicker Gary Anderson, who scored 2,434 points in a 23-year career, finished fifth with 5.4 percent of the vote.

Wilson was named to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team plus the 1960s all-decade team. Schmidt was named to the 1950s all-decade team, Bell the all-time AFL team and Sharpe the 1990s all-decade team.

As usual, the three Talk of Fame Network hosts disagreed with the results. Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge both cast their ballots for Schmidt and Borges went with Bell.

“One guy who always rang the bell during his career was Bobby Bell,” Borges said. “He was a great, great linebacker that many may have forgotten because it's been so long but he's my choice. He could cover Shannon Sharpe or kill the quarterback trying to throw to him. Great player.”

Sharpe, out of tiny Savannah State, ranks third all-time among tight ends with 815 receptions and won three Super Bowl rings with two different franchises, the Denver Broncos in 1997-98 and the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Schmidt went to 10 Pro Bowls and played on two NFL championship teams in the 1950s.

“I'll take Joe Schmidt,” Judge said. “He was tough, physical and just marvelous. The guy was named to nine All-Pro teams, was a four-time league defensive MVP and helped turn Motown into Title Town -- with Detroit winning three NFL championships in six years. Now tell me the last time the Lions won anything. The defense rests.”

Next up, the Talk of Fame will poll listeners and readers on the greatest sixth round draft pick of all time.