17. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
After shattering all sorts of Big 10 records as the quarterback of the Purdue University Boilermakers, Drew Brees was drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the 32nd pick in 2001. In 2005, Brees tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder, and people wondered if his career would ever take off. But once he got to New Orleans and teamed up with head coach Sean Payton, Brees became one of the most productive passers in NFL history. He’s an 11x Pro Bowl selection, and has led the league in passing yards seven different times between 2006 and 2016, including an NFL record 5,416 yards in 2011.
He’s the only player in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in five different seasons. No other quarterback in NFL history has done it more than once in their career. More importantly, in 2010, Brees led the Saints to a Super Bowl title over Peyton Manning and the Colts. During his 10+ years in New Orleans he’s helped transform the Saints from a laughingstock into a perennial contender in the NFC.