NFL Draft: The Best First-Round Pick in Each Franchise's History

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NFL Draft: The Best First-Round Pick in Each Franchise's History
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Even in a year with a lockout, interest and buzz about the 2011 NFL draft is still high. But, we often get so caught up in the present (myself included) that we forget to reflect on the past.

So, before I question my sanity for knowing that TCU quarterback Andy Dalton is a marketing major and was a 2-star recruit by Scout.com and a 3-star recruit by Rivals, let's take a look at the past in the form of the best first-round picks in each franchise's history.

In doing this analysis, there were some no-brainer decisions and some very difficult choices. As such, I came up with the following rules to follow.

For a player to be considered, he had to make the majority of his impact on the team that drafted him. As such, John Elway will not represent the Denver Broncos or the Baltimore Colts who actually drafted him in 1983 before he was quickly dealt to Denver. 

Also, I had to limit my decision in general to the current 32 teams in the NFL. In short, my analysis of Baltimore is limited to the Ravens and not the Colts.

If you are looking for an exception to this rule, although I don't consider it as such, I will evaluate the history of teams that essentially stayed the same, such as the Houston Oilers history in looking at the Tennessee Titans, the St. Louis Rams and Los Angeles Rams, the Indianapolis and Baltimore Colts, and the St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals.

I will not include the Cleveland Browns history with the Baltimore Ravens because even though it was the same team, the Browns were re-introduced into the league.

I hope that this is not too confusing for you. I will try to clarify further as we go along.

Let's start with the first-round picks that I consider to be no-brainers and eventually move to the harder decisions towards the end. Otherwise, there is no specific order in how the teams and associated players are listed.  

Special thanks to NFL.com, pro-football-reference.com, profootballhof.com, and the Associated Press for their list of the best and worst first-round draft picks of each team that can be read by clicking on this link: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/football/7533910.html.

Obviously, there are going to be many of the same players on both the Associated Press list and my own, but I do beg to differ on a few selections.

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