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The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked  

Ranker NFL
7.7k votes 514 voters 3.6k views 53 items

List Rules Vote for players who had the most success with the franchise that drafted them. Only in Super Bowl era (since 1967).

Every No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft is a potentially franchise-changing player. Sometimes that player leads his team to multiple Super Bowls like Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman, two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

Other times, he leads another franchise to multiple Super Bowls like John Elway and Eli Manning, neither of whom played a snap for the team that drafted them.

Nine Hall of Famers have gone been the top overall pick in the NFL draft and five league MVPs.

But who has been the best No. 1 overall draft pick for his franchise. Stats below reflect only a player's time with the team that drafted him, unless otherwise noted, and that's how these players should be ranked. How much did they help the team that spent a No. 1 pick on them?

list ordered by
1
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1998
Team: Indianapolis Colts

Achievements
4-time NFL MVP with Colts (2003-2004, 2008-2009)
2004 Offensive Player of the Year
2005 Walter Payton Man of the Year
2006 Super Bowl MVP
2006 Super Bowl champion with Colts

More Peyton Manning

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2
John Elway is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1983
Team: Baltimore Colts

Achievements
Never played for Colts
2004 Hall of Fame inductee
1987 NFL MVP
1992 Walter Payton Man of the Year
2-time Super Bowl champion (1997-1998)

More John Elway

#1,343 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #184 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athleteslisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

3
Earl Campbell is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1978
Team: Houston Oilers

Achievements
1991 Hall of Fame inductee
1979 NFL MVP
3-time Offensive Player of the Year (1978-1980)
1978 Offensive Rooke of the Year
5-time Pro Bowl selection (1978-1981, 1983)
3-time first-team All-Pro (1978-1980)

More Earl Campbell

#1,982 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #58 of 59 The Best University of Tennessee Football Players Ever #31 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever

4
Ed Jones is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1974
Team: Dallas Cowboys

Achievements
3-time Pro Bowl seletion (1981-1983)
1982 first-team All-Pro
1977 Super Bowl champion

More Ed Jones

#1 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #125 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever #5 of 79 The Best NFL Player Nicknames

5
Bo Jackson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1986
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Achievements
Never played for Buccaneers

More Bo Jackson

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6
Terry Bradshaw is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1970
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Achievements
1989 Hall of Fame inductee
1978 NFL MVP
2-time Super Bowl MVP (1978-1979)
3-time Pro Bowl selection (1975, 1978-1979)
1978 first-team All-Pro
4-time Super Bowl champion (1974-1975, 1978-1979)

More Terry Bradshaw

#1,936 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #202 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athleteslisted on Guests of the Jay Leno Show

7
Bruce Smith is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1985
Team: Buffalo Bills

Achievements
2009 Hall of Fame inductee
2-time Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1996)
11-time Pro Bowl selection (1987-1990, 1992-1998)
8-time first-team All-Pro (1987-1988, 1990, 1993-1997)

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#1,573 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #35 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever #7 of 508 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History

8
Troy Aikman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1989
Team: Dallas Cowboys

Achievements
2006 Hall of Fame inductee
1997 Walter Payton Man of the Year
6-time Pro Bowl selection (1991-1996)
3-time Super Bowl champion (1992-1993, 1995)

More Troy Aikman

#2,084 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #78 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Everlisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

9
Bubba Smith is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1967
Team: Baltimore Colts

Achievements
2-time Pro Bowl selection (1970-1971)
1971 first-team All-Pro

10
Jim Plunkett is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1971
Team: New England Patriots

Achievements
Played with Patriots from 1971-1975
1980 Comeback Player of the Year
2-time Super Bowl champion (1980, 1983)

More Jim Plunkett

#1,951 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #9 of 45 The Best NFL Quarterbacks of the '80slisted on Famous Hispanic Athletes

11
O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1969
Team: Buffalo Bills

Achievements
1985 Hall of Fame inductee
1973 NFL MVP
1973 Offensive Player of the Year
6-time Pro Bowl selection (1969, 1972-1976)
5-time first-team All-Pro (1972-1976)

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12
Matthew Stafford is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 2009
Team: Detroit Lions

Achievements
2011 Comeback Player of the Year
2014 Pro Bowl selection

More Matthew Stafford

#49 of 118 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time #237 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever #51 of 218 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time

13
Orlando Pace is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1997
Team: St. Louis Rams

Achievements
2016 Hall of Fame inductee
7-time Pro Bowl selection (1999-2005)
3-time first-team All-Pro (1999, 2001, 2003)
1999 Super Bowl champion

More Orlando Pace

#161 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever #5 of 76 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time #11 of 60 The Best NFL Players From Ohio

14
John Matuszak is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1973
Team: Houston Oilers

Achievements
Played with Oilers in 1973
2-time Super Bowl champion (1976, 1980)

More John Matuszak

#936 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever #113 of 508 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History #59 of 77 The Best Athletes Who Have Used Performance Enhancing Drugs

15
Eli Manning is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 2004
Team: San Diego Chargers

Achievements
Never played with Chargers

More Eli Manning

#1,008 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #44 of 118 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time #177 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever

16
Andrew Luck is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 2012
Team: Indianapolis Colts

Achievements
2018 Comeback Player of the Year
4-time Pro Bowl selection (2012-2014, 2018)

More Andrew Luck

#18 of 118 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time #206 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever #46 of 218 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time

17
Jake Long is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 2008
Team: Miami Dolphins

Achievements
4-time Pro Bowl selection (2008-2011)
2010 first-team All-Pro

More Jake Long

#5 of 90 The Best Michigan Football Players of All Time #32 of 212 The Best Miami Dolphins of All Time #20 of 61 The Best NFL Players From Michigan

18
Ron Yary is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1968
Team: Minnesota Vikings

Achievements
2001 Hall of Fame inductee
7-time Pro Bowl selection (1971-1977)
6-time first-team All-Pro (1971-1976)

More Ron Yary

#678 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever #16 of 103 The Best USC Trojans Players of All Time #13 of 140 The Best Minnesota Vikings of All Time

19
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 2001
Team: Atlanta Falcons

Achievements
3-time Pro Bowl selection (2002, 2004-2005)

More Michael Vick

#1,733 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #42 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #13 of 118 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time

20
Lee Roy Selmon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1976
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Achievements
1995 Hall of Fame inductee
1979 Defensive Player of the Year
6-time Pro Bowl selection (1979-1984)
1979 first-team All-Pro
 

More Lee Roy Selmon

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21
Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 2011
Team: Carolina Panthers

Achievements
2015 NFL MVP
2015 Offensive Player of the Year
2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year
3-time Pro Bowl selection (2011, 2013, 2015)
2015 first-team All-Pro

More Cam Newton

#162 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #4 of 118 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time #235 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever

22
Vinny Testaverde is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1987
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Achievements
Played with Buccaneers from 1987-1992

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#24 of 45 The Best NFL Quarterbacks of the '80s #52 of 118 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time #233 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

23
Drew Bledsoe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1993
Team: New England Patriots

Achievements
3-time Pro Bowl selection (1994, 1996-1997)
2001 Super Bowl champion

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24
Jared Goff is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked
Jared Goff

Draft year: 2016
Team: Los Angeles Rams

Achievements
2-time Pro Bowl selection (2017-2018)

More Jared Goff

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25
Billy Sims is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

Draft year: 1980
Team: Detroit Lions

Achievements
1980 Offensive Rookie of the Year
3-time Pro Bowl selection (1980-1982)

More Billy Sims

#580 of 1,540 The Best Football Players Ever #6 of 116 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time #21 of 83 The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time