Drafting at the latter part of the first round is naturally less of a sure thing than picking early. While plenty of top prospects do flame out, there are often a handful that do explode onto the NFL scene as big stars.
At pick number 29, the results have been inconsistent over the past few years. Here is a look at the last five players who have been drafted 29th overall and a few notable players who were the 29th selection in their drafts from previous years.
2016: DT Robert Nkemdiche (Cardinals)
Once thought of as a possible first overall pick, the former #1-ranked high school recruit saw very little playing time as a rookie, as he was limited to just five games as a rookie. It has been reported that he has had disciplinary issues with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians.
2015: WR Phillip Dorsett (Colts)
In his two years, Dorsett has yet to crack 800 combined receiving yards, but he doubled his production from year one to year two in almost every category. A smaller deep threat, the jury remains out on Dorsett.
2014: DT Dominique Easley (Patriots)
Easley was coming off a major knee injury when he was drafted, and he lasted just two seasons in New England. He was waived in April of last season, then signed a one-year contract with the Rams in May. He enters this coming season as a restricted free agent, meaning he will return to Los Angeles for another season.
Last year, he did show some signs of progress, however, recording a career high with 3.5 sacks and playing in all 16 games.
2013: WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson (Vikings)
Patterson was always an athlete first and a receiver second, and the Vikings learned that all too quickly after making him a first-round pick. In four years with the Vikings, he never eclipsed 500 receiving yards and bottomed out with an absurd 2015 receiving stat line of two catches for 10 yards.
It is as a kick returner that Patterson has made his mark, taking five kickoffs back for touchdowns in four years and being named first-team All-Pro twice.
2012: S Harrison Smith (Vikings)
By far the best pick of the past five years at this slot, Smith has developed into a perennial Pro Bowler and one of the better free safeties in the NFL. Although he did not intercept a pass in 2016, it was his first season with fewer than two picks, and he did force two fumbles. Smith is a mainstay of the Vikings’ secondary for now and for the foreseeable future.
Other notable past picks
2009: WR Hakeem Nicks (Giants)
For a few years early in his career, Nicks appeared to be on the verge of stardom; he had 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011, and averaged more than 110 yards receiving and a touchdown per game in the Giants’ 2011 playoff run to a Super Bowl XLVI victory.
However, his career tailed off after moving on to Indianapolis in 2014, and he did not play in the NFL last season.
2006: C Nick Mangold (Jets)
One of the best centers of the past two decades, Mangold has manned the position in excellent fashion for the Jets since his selection, missing just four games in his first ten years and making six Pro Bowls However, in 2016 he played just eight games and was released this February with a failed physical.
2003: MLB Nick Barnett (Packers)
The Packers have chosen 29th overall twice in the past 25 years, and the most recent selection was used on Barnett. The stalwart middle linebacker was an excellent player for his 8-year tenure in Green Bay, and though he never made it to a Pro Bowl, he provided excellent play at his position throughout. After suffering a season-ending injury in the fourth game of the 2010 season, he gave way to Desmond Bishop for the Packers’ playoff run, but earned a Super Bowl ring that season.
2001: DT Ryan Pickett (Rams)
Joining Barnett on the 2010 Packers squad was Pickett, one of Ted Thompson’s two early blockbuster free agent signings prior to the 2006 season (along with cornerback Charles Woodson). Pickett manned the nose tackle position for five years with the Rams and then with the Packers fora few seasons before moving out to defensive end when the Packers shifted to a 3-4 defense and drafted B.J. Raji in 2009. All in all, he played 14 NFL seasons, finishing his career with one year in Houston.
1993 S George Teague (Packers)
The final pick of the first round in 1993 was Teague, who spent his first three seasons with the Packers at free safety. During that time, Teague picked off six passes and forced three fumbles. In 1996, he left for Dallas, eventually playing five of his final six seasons with the Cowboys before retiring after the 2001 campaign.