List of first overall National Football League draft picks

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A man posing for a picture while wearing a dark shirt.
Jay Berwanger was the first ever number one overall draft pick in 1936.

This is a list of first overall National Football League draft picks. The National Football League draft is an annual sports draft in which NFL teams select newly eligible players for their rosters. To be eligible, a player must be out of high school at least three years. Teams are ranked in reverse order based on the previous season's record, with the worst record picking first. Each NFL franchise seeks to add new players through the annual NFL Draft. The draft rules were last updated in 2009. The team with the worst record the previous year picks first, the next-worst team second, and so on. Teams that did not make the playoffs are ordered by their regular-season record, with any remaining ties broken by strength of schedule. Playoff participants are sequenced after non-playoff teams, based on their round of elimination (wild card, division, conference, and Super Bowl).[1]

From 1947 through 1958 the first selection was awarded by a random draw. The team which received this "bonus" pick forfeited its selection in the final round of the draft. The winner of the "bonus pick" was eliminated from the draw in future years. By 1958 all twelve clubs in the league at the time had received a bonus choice and the system was abolished.[2]:525 [3]

Before the merger agreements in 1966, the American Football League (AFL) operated in direct competition with the NFL and held a separate draft. This led to a massive bidding war over top prospects between the two leagues, along with the subsequent drafting of the same player in each draft. As part of the merger agreement on June 8, 1966, the two leagues held a multiple round "Common Draft". Once the AFL officially merged with the NFL in 1970, the "Common Draft" simply became the NFL Draft.[4][5][6]

Through the 2014 NFL Draft, 79 players have been selected first overall, with the most recent being Jadeveon Clowney in 2014. The Indianapolis Colts - formerly the Baltimore Colts - have made the most first overall selections in history with seven. Of the first overall draft picks, 42 have been selected to a Pro Bowl and of those 42, twelve have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only five first overall draft pick players have been selected the NFL Rookie of the Year: Earl Campbell (1978); Billy Sims (1980); George Rogers (1981); Sam Bradford (2010); and Cam Newton (2011).

Key[edit]

B Back[A 1] K Kicker NT Nose tackle
C Center LB Linebacker FB Fullback
DB Defensive back P Punter HB Halfback
DE Defensive end QB Quarterback WR Wide receiver
DT Defensive tackle RB Running back G Guard
E End T Offensive tackle TE Tight end
* Selected to a Pro Bowl
Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

List of first overall picks[edit]

A football player wearing a dark jersey with the number 98 on it.
Tom Harmon was selected with the first overall pick in 1941 by the Chicago Bears.
A football player in a tackling stance while wearing a dark jersey with the number 82 on it.
The Detroit Lions chose Leon Hart with the first overall pick in 1950.
A football player wearing light colored uniform with the number 20 on it.
Billy Cannon was the first pick in the 1960 NFL Draft.
A black man smiling at a camera while wearing a white shirt.
O. J. Simpson was drafted first overall by Buffalo Bills in 1969.
A man wearing a black shirt with blue jeans while clutching a football.
John Elway was the first pick in the 1983 NFL Draft.
A football player wearing a white jersey with the number 76 and blue bottoms.
Orlando Pace was drafted first overall by the St. Louis Rams in 1997.
A man wearing glasses and a black shirt.
Cam Newton was the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
A man wearing a red jersey with the number 12 on it while sitting down.
The Indianapolis Colts chose Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in 2012.
First Overall Draft Picks
Year Name Position College Team Notes
1936 Berwanger, JayJay Berwanger[A 2] HB Chicago Philadelphia Eagles Heisman Trophy (1935)
1937 Francis, SamSam Francis FB Nebraska Philadelphia Eagles
1938 Davis, CorbettCorbett Davis FB Indiana Cleveland Rams
1939 Aldrich, KiKi Aldrich* C TCU Chicago Cardinals NFL All-Star Game (1939, 1942)[7]
1940 Cafego, GeorgeGeorge Cafego HB Tennessee Chicago Cardinals
1941 Harmon, TomTom Harmon HB Michigan Chicago Bears Heisman Trophy (1940)
1942 Dudley, BillBill Dudley HB Virginia Pittsburgh Steelers NFL All-Star Game (1950, 1951)[8]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1966)[8]
NFL MVP (1946)[8]
1943 Sinkwich, FrankFrank Sinkwich HB Georgia Detroit Lions Heisman Trophy (1942)
1944 Bertelli, AngeloAngelo Bertelli QB Notre Dame Boston Yanks Heisman Trophy (1943)
1945 Trippi, CharleyCharley Trippi HB Georgia Chicago Cardinals Pro Bowl (1952, 1953)[9]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1968)[9]
NFL Champion (1947)[10]
1946 Dancewicz, FrankFrank Dancewicz QB Notre Dame Boston Yanks
1947 Fenimore, BobBob Fenimore HB Oklahoma A&M Chicago Bears
1948 Gilmer, HarryHarry Gilmer* QB Alabama Washington Redskins Pro Bowl (1950, 1952)[11]
1949 Bednarik, ChuckChuck Bednarik C, LB Penn Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1960)[12]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1967)[12]
NFL Champion (1949, 1960)[13][14]
1950 Hart, LeonLeon Hart* E Notre Dame Detroit Lions Heisman Trophy (1949)
Pro Bowl (1951)[15]
1951 Rote, KyleKyle Rote* HB SMU New York Giants Pro Bowl (1953, 1954, 1955, 1956)[16]
1952 Wade, BillBill Wade* QB Vanderbilt Los Angeles Rams Pro Bowl (1958, 1963)[17]
1953 Babcock, HarryHarry Babcock E Georgia San Francisco 49ers
1954 Garrett, BobbyBobby Garrett QB Stanford Cleveland Browns
1955 Shaw, GeorgeGeorge Shaw QB Oregon Baltimore Colts NFL Champion (1958)[18]
1956 Glick, GaryGary Glick DB Colorado A&M Pittsburgh Steelers
1957 Hornung, PaulPaul Hornung HB Notre Dame Green Bay Packers Heisman Trophy (1956)
Pro Bowl (1959, 1960)[19]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1986)[19]
NFL Champion (1961, 1962, 1965)[20][21][22]
Super Bowl champion (I)[23]
NFL MVP (1961)[19]
1958 Hill, KingKing Hill QB Rice Chicago Cardinals
1959 Duncan, RandyRandy Duncan QB Iowa Green Bay Packers
1960 Cannon, BillyBilly Cannon[A 3] RB LSU Los Angeles Rams Heisman Trophy (1959)
1961 Mason, TommyTommy Mason* RB Tulane Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl (1962, 1963, 1964)[24]
1962 Davis, ErnieErnie Davis[A 4] RB Syracuse Washington Redskins Heisman Trophy (1961)
1963 Baker, TerryTerry Baker QB Oregon State Los Angeles Rams Heisman Trophy (1962)
1964 Parks, DaveDave Parks* WR Texas Tech San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl (1964, 1965, 1966)[25]
1965 Frederickson, TuckerTucker Frederickson* RB Auburn New York Giants Pro Bowl (1965)[26]
1966 Nobis, TommyTommy Nobis* LB Texas Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl (1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1972)[27]
1967[A 5] Smith, BubbaBubba Smith* DE Michigan State Baltimore Colts Pro Bowl (1970, 1971)[28]
Super Bowl champion (V)[29]
1968[A 5] Yary, RonRon Yary T USC Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977)[30]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (2001)[30]
1969[A 5] Simpson, O. J.O. J. Simpson RB USC Buffalo Bills[A 6] Heisman Trophy (1968)
Pro Bowl (1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976)[31]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1985)[31]
NFL MVP (1973)[31]
1970 Bradshaw, TerryTerry Bradshaw QB Louisiana Tech Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl (1975, 1978, 1979)[32]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1989)[32]
Super Bowl champion (IX, X, XIII, XIV)[33][34][35][36]
Super Bowl MVP (XIII, XIV)[32]
NFL MVP (1978)[32]
1971 Plunkett, JimJim Plunkett QB Stanford New England Patriots Heisman Trophy (1970)
Super Bowl champion (XV, XVIII)[37][38]
Super Bowl MVP (XV)[39]
1972 Patulski, WaltWalt Patulski DE Notre Dame Buffalo Bills
1973 Matuszak, JohnJohn Matuszak DE Tampa Houston Oilers Super Bowl champion (XI, XV)[37][40]
1974 Jones, EdEd Jones* DE Tennessee State Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl (1981, 1982, 1983)[41]
Super Bowl champion (XII)[42]
1975 Bartkowski, SteveSteve Bartkowski* QB California Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl (1980, 1981)[43]
1976 Selmon, Lee RoyLee Roy Selmon DE Oklahoma Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl (1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984)[44]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1995)[44]
1977 Bell, RickyRicky Bell RB USC Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1978 Campbell, EarlEarl Campbell RB Texas Houston Oilers Heisman Trophy (1977)
Pro Bowl (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983)[45]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1991)[45]
NFL MVP (1979)[45]
Rookie of the Year (1978)
1979 Cousineau, TomTom Cousineau[A 7] LB Ohio State Buffalo Bills
1980 Sims, BillyBilly Sims* RB Oklahoma Detroit Lions Heisman Trophy (1978)
Pro Bowl (1980, 1981, 1982)[46]
Rookie of the Year (1980)
1981 Rogers, GeorgeGeorge Rogers* RB South Carolina New Orleans Saints Heisman Trophy (1980)
Pro Bowl (1981, 1982)[47]
Super Bowl champion (XXII)[48]
Rookie of the Year (1981)
1982 Sims, KennethKenneth Sims DE Texas New England Patriots
1983 Elway, JohnJohn Elway[A 8] QB Stanford Baltimore Colts Pro Bowl (1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998)[49]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (2004)[49]
Super Bowl champion (XXXII, XXXIII)[50][51]
Super Bowl MVP (XXXIII)[49]
NFL MVP (1987)[49]
1984[A 9] Fryar, IrvingIrving Fryar* WR Nebraska New England Patriots Pro Bowl (1985, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997)[52]
1985 Smith, BruceBruce Smith DE Virginia Tech Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)[53]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (2009)[53]
1986 Jackson, BoBo Jackson*[A 10] RB Auburn Tampa Bay Buccaneers[A 11] Heisman Trophy (1985)
Pro Bowl (1990)[54]
1987 Testaverde, VinnyVinny Testaverde* QB Miami (FL) Tampa Bay Buccaneers Heisman Trophy (1986)
Pro Bowl (1996, 1998)[55]
1988 Bruce, AundrayAundray Bruce LB Auburn Atlanta Falcons
1989 Aikman, TroyTroy Aikman QB UCLA Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996)[56]
Pro Football Hall of Fame (2006)[56]
Super Bowl champion (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)[57][58][59]
Super Bowl MVP (XXVII)[56]
1990 George, JeffJeff George QB Illinois Indianapolis Colts[A 12]
1991 Maryland, RussellRussell Maryland* DT Miami (FL) Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl (1993)[60]
Super Bowl champion (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)[57][58][59]
1992 Emtman, SteveSteve Emtman DT Washington Indianapolis Colts
1993 Bledsoe, DrewDrew Bledsoe* QB Washington State New England Patriots Pro Bowl (1994, 1996, 1997, 2002)[61]
Super Bowl champion (XXXVI)[62]
1994 Wilkinson, DanDan Wilkinson DT Ohio State Cincinnati Bengals
1995 Carter, Ki-JanaKi-Jana Carter RB Penn State Cincinnati Bengals
1996 Johnson, KeyshawnKeyshawn Johnson* WR USC New York Jets Pro Bowl (1998, 1999, 2001)[63]
Super Bowl champion (XXXVII)[64]
1997 Pace, OrlandoOrlando Pace* T Ohio State St. Louis Rams Pro Bowl (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)[65]
Super Bowl champion (XXXIV)[66]
1998 Manning, PeytonPeyton Manning* QB Tennessee Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)[67]
Super Bowl champion (XLI)[68]
Super Bowl MVP (XLI)[67]
NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013)[67]
1999 Couch, TimTim Couch QB Kentucky Cleveland Browns
2000 Brown, CourtneyCourtney Brown DE Penn State Cleveland Browns
2001 Vick, MichaelMichael Vick* QB Virginia Tech Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl (2002, 2004, 2005, 2010)[69]
2002 Carr, DavidDavid Carr QB Fresno State Houston Texans Super Bowl champion (XLVI)
2003 Palmer, CarsonCarson Palmer* QB USC Cincinnati Bengals Heisman Trophy (2002)
Pro Bowl (2005, 2006)[70]
2004 Manning, EliEli Manning*[A 13] QB Ole Miss San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl (2008, 2011, 2012)[71]
Super Bowl champion (XLII, XLVI)[72][73]
Super Bowl MVP (XLII, XLVI)[71]
2005 Smith, AlexAlex Smith QB Utah San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl (2013)
2006 Williams, MarioMario Williams* DE North Carolina State Houston Texans Pro Bowl (2008, 2009)[74]
2007 Russell, JaMarcusJaMarcus Russell QB LSU Oakland Raiders
2008 Long, JakeJake Long* T Michigan Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)[75]
2009 Stafford, MatthewMatthew Stafford QB Georgia Detroit Lions
2010 Bradford, SamSam Bradford QB Oklahoma St. Louis Rams Heisman Trophy (2008)
Rookie of the Year (2010)
2011 Newton, CamCam Newton* QB Auburn Carolina Panthers Heisman Trophy (2010)
Pro Bowl (2011,2013)[76]
Rookie of the Year (2011)
2012 Luck, AndrewAndrew Luck* QB Stanford Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl (2012, 2013)[77]
2013 Fisher, EricEric Fisher T Central Michigan Kansas City Chiefs
2014 Clowney, JadeveonJadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina Houston Texans

Statistics[edit]

  • The following teams have never had the first overall pick
    • Denver Broncos
    • Jacksonville Jaguars
    • Baltimore Ravens
    • Seattle Seahawks
  • Eight teams have made the playoffs in the same season in which they made the first overall selection in the draft. They were the 1968 Minnesota Vikings, 1978 Houston Oilers, 1982 New England Patriots, 1991 Dallas Cowboys, 2004 San Diego Chargers, 2008 Miami Dolphins, 2012 Indianapolis Colts, and 2013 Kansas City Chiefs.
  • No team has ever gone from the first overall pick to a Super Bowl win in the same season. The Minnesota Vikings lost Super Bowl IV the year after they had the first overall pick and the Dallas Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVII the year after making the first overall selection.

First overall draft picks per team[edit]

The Indianapolis Colts have held the first overall pick a total of seven times, the most of any NFL team, throughout the franchise's history including while in Baltimore. Only four teams in the league have never held the first overall pick in the NFL Draft: the Denver Broncos, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Seattle Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens. The Boston Yanks are the only defunct franchise to have held a first overall pick.[78]

Team Total
number
Year(s) Notes Ref
Indianapolis Colts 7 1955, 1967, 1983, 1990
1992, 1998, 2012
  • 3 as the Baltimore Colts
  • 4 as the Indianapolis Colts
[79]
St. Louis Rams 6 1938, 1952, 1960
1963, 1997, 2010
  • 1 as the Cleveland Rams
  • 3 as the Los Angeles Rams
  • 2 as the St. Louis Rams
[80]
Arizona Cardinals 4 1939, 1940, 1945, 1958
  • 4 as the Chicago Cardinals
[81]
Detroit Lions 4 1943, 1950, 1980, 2009 [82]
Atlanta Falcons 4 1966, 1975, 1988, 2001 [83]
Buffalo Bills 4 1969, 1972, 1979, 1985 [84]
New England Patriots 4 1971, 1982, 1984, 1993
  • Also had first selection in the 1964 AFL Draft
    (as the Boston Patriots)
[85]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4 1976, 1977, 1986, 1987 [86]
Philadelphia Eagles 3 1936, 1937, 1949 [87]
Pittsburgh Steelers 3 1942, 1956, 1970 [88]
San Francisco 49ers 3 1953, 1964, 2005 [89]
Cleveland Browns 3 1954, 1999, 2000 [90]
Dallas Cowboys 3 1974, 1989, 1991 [91]
Cincinnati Bengals 3 1994, 1995, 2003 [92]
Houston Texans 3 2002, 2006, 2014 [93]
Chicago Bears 2 1941, 1947 [94]
Boston Yanks 2 1944, 1946 [78]
Washington Redskins 2 1948, 1962 [95]
New York Giants 2 1951, 1965 [96]
Green Bay Packers 2 1957, 1959 [97]
Minnesota Vikings 2 1961, 1968 [98]
Tennessee Titans 2 1973, 1978
  • 2 as the Houston Oilers
[99]
New Orleans Saints 1 1981 [100]
New York Jets 1 1996 [101]
San Diego Chargers 1 2004 [102]
Oakland Raiders 1 2007 [103]
Miami Dolphins 1 2008 [104]
Carolina Panthers 1 2011 [105]
Kansas City Chiefs 1 2013 [106]

First overall draft picks by position[edit]

First overall selections by position played[2]:525
Position Number of
Selections
Quarterbacks 31
Running backs 23
Defensive linemen 14
Offensive linemen 7
Wide Receivers 6
Linebackers 3
Defensive backs 1

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In American and Canadian football, a back is a player who is lined up behind the linemen, the players who line up closest to the line of scrimmage.
  2. ^ Jay Berwanger did not sign with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles traded his rights to the Chicago Bears, he did not sign with them either.
  3. ^ Billy Cannon signed with the AFL team Houston Oilers rather than the Los Angeles Rams.
  4. ^ Ernie Davis was subsequently traded to the Cleveland Browns after being drafted by the Washington Redskins.
  5. ^ a b c Because of the NFL–AFL merger agreement, the history of the AFL is officially recognized by the NFL and therefore this list includes the Common Draft for the years 1967, 1968, and 1969.
  6. ^ The Buffalo Bills were a part of the AFL when they selected Simpson with the first overall pick in the 1969 draft. The Bills joined the NFL the next year, in 1970.
  7. ^ Tom Cousineau chose to sign with the CFL team Montreal Alouettes over the Buffalo Bills.
  8. ^ John Elway was subsequently traded to the Denver Broncos after being drafted by the Baltimore Colts.
  9. ^ College seniors who had already sign with the USFL or CFL were not eligible for the regular draft. Instead the NFL held a three round special draft on June 5, 1984. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Steve Young first overall in that draft.
  10. ^ Bo Jackson did not sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and chose to enter the 1987 NFL Draft the following year.
  11. ^ The Cleveland Browns - via the Buffalo Bills originally - possessed the number one overall pick but because they selected Bernie Kosar in the 1985 Supplemental Draft, the pick was subsequently given to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  12. ^ The Dallas Cowboys originally possessed the number one overall pick but because they selected Steve Walsh in the 1989 Supplemental Draft, the pick was given to the Indianapolis Colts who originally held the second overall pick.
  13. ^ Eli Manning was subsequently traded to the New York Giants after being drafted by the San Diego Chargers.

References[edit]

General

Specific

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  89. ^ "San Francisco 49ers Number One Draft Picks". Draft Finder. Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
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See also[edit]