vote on everything
Sports
1.1k voters

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

Updated July 25, 2019 21.1k votes 1.1k voters 6.5k views53 items

List RulesVote 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?

Photo:
  • 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 

    #10 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#143 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

  • 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)

  • 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)

  • 4
    Terry Bradshaw is listed (or ranked) 4 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)

  • 5
    Bruce Smith is listed (or ranked) 5 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)

  • 6
    Bo Jackson is listed (or ranked) 6 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 

    #224 of 582 The Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time#62 of 104 The Greatest Throwing Arms of All Time

  • 7
    Troy Aikman is listed (or ranked) 7 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)

  • 8
    Ed Jones is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked
    304
    203

    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 

    #42 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History#78 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

  • 9
    O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 9 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)

    More O. J. Simpson 

    Facts About OJ Simpson That Will Make Your Skin Crawl#1376 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

  • 10
    Orlando Pace is listed (or ranked) 10 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 

    #4 of 83 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time#9 of 61 The Best NFL Players From Ohio

  • 11
    Eli Manning is listed (or ranked) 11 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

  • 12
    Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 12 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)

  • 13
    Andrew Luck is listed (or ranked) 13 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)

  • 14
    Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 14 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

  • 15
    Jim Plunkett is listed (or ranked) 15 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)

  • 16
    Matthew Stafford is listed (or ranked) 16 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

  • 17
    Bubba Smith is listed (or ranked) 17 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

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

    Draft year: 2014
    Team: Houston Texans

    Achievements
    3-time Pro Bowl selection (2016-2018)

  • 19
    Lee Roy Selmon is listed (or ranked) 19 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
     

  • 20
    Ron Yary is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked
    156
    196

    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)

  • 21
    Jake Long is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked
    182
    231

    Draft year: 2008
    Team: Miami Dolphins

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

    More Jake Long 

    #7 of 87 The Best Michigan Football Players of All Time#42 of 246 The Best Miami Dolphins of All Time

  • 22
    Billy Sims is listed (or ranked) 22 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)

  • 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

    More Drew Bledsoe 

    #48 of 252 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time#1491 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time

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

    Draft year: 2017
    Team: Cleveland Browns

    Achievements
    2018 Pro Bowl selection

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

    Draft year: 2003
    Team: Cincinnati Bengals

    Achievements
    2-time Pro Bowl selection (2005-2006)

    More Carson Palmer 

    #37 of 119 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time#32 of 83 The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Football PlayersSportsPeople In SportsAthletesNFLtop 50Football