NFL Draft History: Ranking the NFL's 1st Overall Picks Since 1980

« Prev
1 of 33
Next »
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse the slideshow
NFL Draft History: Ranking the NFL's 1st Overall Picks Since 1980
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Psalms 25:8 says the "meek shall inherit the earth."

Teams in possession of the first overall pick in the National Football League draft are well-heeled believers in the scripture, but damned if it doesn't work every time.

Since 1980, only two teams have have been able to claim their franchise savior was able to live up to lofty expectations, as Buffalo's Bruce Smith (1985) and Dallas' Troy Aikman (1989) guided their team to the Super Bowl en route to the Hall of Fame. A third—John Elway (1983)—needed a trade from Baltimore to Denver to claim his gridiron manna from heaven, while Peyton Manning (1998) is in the midst of redefining the role of quarterback on his road to Canton, a process that Orlando Pace (1997) will achieve in a couple of seasons.

Unfortunately, being christened number one has been cratered with flops; injuries have destroyed more than its share of promising careers, while in the case of at least two selections, the word "bust" is about the most kind word one can say on this site.

How do they rank over the last 31 years? One can only guess who rests at the bottom..... 

Begin Slideshow »
Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

NFL

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.