The tradition that is known as the NFL Draft came into existence in 1936. The first player ever taken in the NFL Draft was Running Back Jay Berwanger. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Berwanger, unfortunately he would never play a pro football game due to salary disputes with multiple teams
Since then the NFL Draft has involved thousands of players, many of which have gone on to become all time greats. Many more however went on to have careers that would earn them the dubious distinction of being called a “Draft Bust”. The most coveted position for any team is the first overall pick. The team that holds this position is usually in desperate need of a break out rookie that can turn their franchise around. There is only one chance for first overall greatness every year.
There have been only 78 men who can call themselves the first overall pick in the NFL draft. The positions picked the most may not surprise you but the positions that were picked the least might shock you.
The quarterback position has the title of the most popular first overall pick in draft history. Twenty seven QBs have been nabbed by teams with the most coveted draft spot. Ten of those twenty seven became pro bowl players, names like Eli Manning (2004), Peyton Manning (1998), Drew Bledsoe (1993) and Vinny Testaverde (1987) just to name a few. Only Troy Aikman (1989), John Elway (1983) and Terry Bradshaw (1970) had careers so great they were inducted into the Hall Of Fame.
Twenty five Running Backs have been picked first overall. Seven of them became Pro Bowlers including Bo Jackson (1986), Billy Sims (1980) and Tucker Frederickson (1965). The Running Backs hold the record of most Hall Of Fame inductees with five. Running Back Bill Dudley (1942) was the first player at any position drafted first overall to become a Hall Of Famer. The most recent Running Back to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame is Earl Campbell (1978) who was drafted by the Houston Oilers.
Defensive End’s have also been a very popular choice with eleven picked first overall. Defensive Ends Mario Williams (2006), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (1974), Dave Parks (1964) and Leon Hart (1950) were all voted to the Pro Bowl. Bruce Smith (1985) and Lee Roy Selmon (1976) were the only Defensive End’s to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame.
Positions that were drafted the least with the top pick are Defensive Tackle (4), Offensive Tackle (4), Line Backer (3), Center (2) and Wide Receiver (2). Eight different positions have all seen the top choice. Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle and Line Backer are the only positions to never have a first overall player reach the Hall Of Fame.
A few of the players drafted in the last decade will more than likely find a home in the Hall Of Fame. As of now the first overall pick has only been a future Hall Of Famer twelve of the seventy seven times. Who knows, we might see the next great NFL player drafted with the first pick tonight in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Posted in NFL, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1936, 1942, 1950, 1964, 1965, 1970, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1998, 1st pick, 2004, 2006, 2013, 2014, 77, best, bill dudley, billy sims, bo jackson, bruce smith, busts, dave parks, defensive, drew bledsoe, eagles, earl campbell, ed too tall jones, eli manning, first, greatest, hall of fame, hall of famer, history, HOF, in, Jay Berwanger, john elway, lee roy selmon, leon hart, mario williams, never played, offensive, overall, payton manning, pick, player, QB, quarterback, salary dispute, super bowl, terry bradshaw, troy aikman, tucker frederickson, vinny testaverde, was, who
The first ever NFL Draft took place in 1936. That draft only consisted of 81 players. Four of those players would become Hall Of Famers. Since then the NFL has developed the draft into a giant event. Another one of the players selected in that draft, Paul “Bear” Bryant would later give up playing football to become a coach. He would become one of the greatest college football coaches ever while at the University of Alabama. There have been many great draft classes in the years since but they all pale in comparison to one in particular.
The 1983 NFL Draft took place on Arpil 26th and 27th of that year in New York City. It included twelves rounds and 335 players were selected. Over 30 of those players selected would go to the Pro Bowl. Eric Dickerson, Jim Kelly, John Elway, Dan Marino, Bruce Matthews, Darrell Green and Richard Dent who were all selected that day would later be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. Other than all of the things I have mentioned the draft is remembered for another reason, the Quarterbacks.
This was the best draft class of quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. It also holds the record for most quarterbacks selected in the first round with six. Three of those six would make it into the Hall Of Fame. The standout quarterbacks of the class were by far John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.
John Elway (Getty Images)
John Elway was taken with the first overall pick by the Baltimore Colts. He was eventually traded before the season to Denver due to his unwillingness to play for the Colts head coach Frank Kush. During his career he established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. When his career was over he won two Super Bowl Championships and was inducted to the Hall Of Fame in 2004.
Jim Kelly (Getty Images)
With the fourteenth overall pick the Buffalo Bills selected Jim Kelly. Kelly played the season prior in the United States Football League after leaving the University Of Miami. Of the quarterbacks drafted that day Kelly made more Super Bowl appearances than any one else. Kelly lead the Buffalo Bills to the Super Bowl from 1990 through 1993. Unfortunately the Bills never won any of those Super Bowls. Nonetheless Kelly proved himself to be a great quarterback and was Inducted to the Hall Of Fame in 2002.
Dan Marino (Getty Images)
The final legendary quarterback taken in this draft was Dan Marino. He was projected to go early in the first round but fell back on a lot of teams boards due to reports of him using marijuana in college. The Miami Dolphins were willing to take a chance on this young man with a powerful arm and selected him with the twenty seventh overall pick. Marino played 17 season but only made one trip to the Super Bowl, the Dolphins lost that game to the San Fransisco 49ers. Marino did however finish career holding almost every quarterback record that existed. He was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2005.
An interesting note about this draft is all of the first round quarterbacks went to AFC teams. Also the three half Of Fame quarterbacks all played for only one team during their NFL career.
The Draft is such an intriguing event. Full of Pro Bowlers, Busts and Hall Of Famers. There will probably never be a quarterback class this good again. Some might argue that the 2012 class will stand the test of time but until it does the 1983 Draft will remain the best ever.
Posted in NFL, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1936, 2002, 2004, 2005, alabama, bear, best, bills, Broncos, colts, dan marino, dolphins, draft, drafted, first, first round, greatest, hall of famers, jim kelly, john elway, legends, marijuana, Miami, NFL, paul bryant, picked, pitt, players, pro bowl, quarterback, super bowl, who was the best