As we approach the Draft, we will likely hear some pundits talk about how valuable late round picks are. How valuable are they, though? Are stars really produced there? Putting it simply, the answer is no.
In the last five years, there have been a grand total of four players taken in the fifth round or later who have made the Pro Bowl for something other in a non special teams capacity. We all know the flaws with Pro Bowl voting, but it still provides a rough estimate of which guys are making a big time impact.
There are certainly useful guys available late. You can indeed find a special teams standout. There are also more decent role players to be found who make the rookie minimum, which saves some money for other purposes. Ultimately, though, Mike Tannenbaum has a reason for being so willing to part with these picks. If he can use them to find an impact player, it would be wise to do so because there are not good odds of finding one by standing pat and using the pick.