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A Complete Timeline of the NFL Draft's Top Overall Picks

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A Complete Timeline of the NFL Draft's Top Overall Picks
Al Bello/Getty Images

Since 1936, NFL teams have hoped to find a franchise saviour with draft's first overall pick. The player taken has often reflected the trends of the day.

In the '30s and '40s, running backs dominated the top selection. That was due to the groundhog nature of football in that era.

Things shifted in the '50s, with more quarterbacks taken in response to the expansion of the passing game. The '60s saw defensive players valued higher, in part thanks to the success of the New York Giants' defensive concepts.

This continued in the '70s, and running backs still featured heavily, as every contending team boasted a dynamic workhorse.

The '80s saw the true rise of quarterbacks and wide receivers leading draft classes. Drafts in the '90s and noughties were usually led by quarterbacks or pass-rushers.

With the 78th top overall pick set to be announced this April 25th, here's a look back at every first player taken since '36.

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