South Carolina Football: Ranking the greatest Gamecock hidden gems in NFL Draft history

South Carolina football has had some great players selected late in the NFL Draft. Here is a ranking of the greatest Gamecock hidden gems in NFL Draft history.
South Carolina football alum Ernest Jones with the Los Angeles Rams
South Carolina football alum Ernest Jones with the Los Angeles Rams / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Football's Greatest NFL Draft Hidden Gems:
No. 6 Running Back Duce Staley

Duce Staley (Round 3, Pick 71; Philadelphia Eagles; 1997 NFL Draft) spent just two years in garnet and black after starting his career in the junior college ranks, but he did enough to be picked up in the middle of the '97 NFL Draft. The league didn't know how good the Columbia native was going to be, however.

After becoming the full-time starter at running back in his second year with the Philadelphia Eagles, Staley had four seasons in five years in which he put up over 1200 yards of offense, averaging just under 1500 yards in those four seasons.

Duce Staley was one of the best receiving running backs in football when he was healthy, logging six seasons in a row in which he tallied over 200 yards through the air, including three in which he reeled in over 430 yards worth of passes.

Unfortunately for the Gamecock great, like Wally Pipp with Lou Gehrig, Staley lost his starting job with the Eagles after an injury opened the door for Brian Westbrook to take the job. He moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers where the same thing happened with Willie Parker.

After retiring, Staley got into coaching and is one of the most well-respected assistants in the NFL today. But as a player, Staley outperformed his draft expectations by finishing inside the top-5 in Eagles history in rushing yards and receiving yards by a running back despite playing in less than 100 games with the franchise.