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Ranking the 10 Biggest NFL Draft Steals of the Past 5 Years

Lamar Jackson

Lamar JacksonMark Zaleski/Associated Press

Not every draft-day steal can crack the top 10. However, the following players deserve mention. We’ll examine why, and why they don’t make the list proper, here.


WR Chris Godwin: 2017, Round 3 (84th Overall)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t select wide receiver Chris Godwin until the third round of the 2017 draft. However, the former Penn State standout has since become an integral piece of Tampa’s Super Bowl puzzle.

Godwin has caught at least seven touchdown passes in each of the last three seasons and had an outstanding 1,333 receiving yards in 2019. With just one spectacular season on his resume, though, Godwin falls just outside our top 10.


QB Lamar Jackson: 2018, Round 1 (32nd Overall)

The Baltimore Ravens traded back into the first round in 2018 to select Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. The fifth quarterback drafted that year, Jackson has already made one Pro Bowl and was named NFL MVP in 2019.

Compared to the quarterbacks drafted ahead of him, Jackson was a tremendous value pick. However, he was still a first-round pick—one Baltimore traded up to get—so it’s hard to classify him as a top-10 steal.


LB Fred Warner: 2018, Round 3 (70th overall)

The San Francisco 49ers scooped up former Brigham Young linebacker Fred Warner in the third round of the 2018 draft. While linebackers who don’t regularly rush the passer are often drafted on Day 2, Warner should still be considered a steal. He hasn’t missed a start since being drafted and has amassed 367 tackles, 21 passes defended and three interceptions.

A first-team All-Pro in 2020, Warner deserves a mention—as does 2018 second-round pick and two-time All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts.


WR DK Metcalf: 2019, Round 2 (64th Overall)

Seattle Seahawks wideout DK Metcalf only gets an honorable mention because he only truly arrived as an elite receiver this past season. He was good as a rookie, producing 900 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. But he was a Pro Bowler in 2020—a season in which he racked up 1,303 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

The ninth receiver taken in the 2019 draft definitely warrants consideration, as does fellow second-round pick A.J. Brown of the Tennessee Titans.


CB L’Jarius Sneed: 2020, Round 4 (138th Overall)

The Kansas City Chiefs scooped up former Louisiana Tech cornerback L’Jarius Sneed in the fourth round of this past year’s draft. Sneed immediately became an impact defender for the Chiefs, racking up seven passes defended, two sacks, three interceptions and an opposing quarterback rating of just 54.2 as a rookie.

Sneed was unquestionably one of the biggest steals of this past draft, but with only nine regular-season games on his resume, it’s too early to place him inside the top 10.

Read More:Ranking the 10 Biggest NFL Draft Steals of the Past 5 Years

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