The Best NFL Draft Picks of All Time

NFL is the greatest sport in America and the draft is one of the most exciting parts of the sport. But who are the best NFL draft picks of all time? Today we bring your our roundup of the footballers that we think have provided the best value for their pick:

John Elway (Indianapolis Colts – Number 1 pick)

DENVER - DECEMBER 8: Quarterback John Elway #7 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass during a game against the Los Angeles Raiders at Mile High Stadium on December 8, 1985 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders won 17-14 in overtime. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

John Elway would prove to be an incredible draft pick but not for the Indianapolis Colts who took him as their first pick; he refused to play for the team and it was the Denver Broncos who took him in trade. The Broncos certainly got their money’s worth as he took them to two Super Bowl victories and then joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

Brett Favre (Atlanta Falcons – 33rd Pick)

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Brett Favre would win the Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers and that’s, perhaps, how he is best remembered by NFL fans but in truth he was a second round pick in the 1991 draft for the Atlanta Falcons and it was there that he set the record for most passing yards in a career. He was also an MVP three times for them.

Barry Sanders (Detroit Lions – 3rd Pick)

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Barry Sanders was great value for the third pick of 1989’s draft. The Detroit Lions picked up a player who rushed over 15,000 yards across a decade long run. That puts him number 3 in the all-time charts for rushing. He was also an All-Pro in every single season that he turned out for The Detroit Lions.

Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers – 82nd Pick)

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Joe Montana may be one of the best known NFL players of all time and his performances brought many new fans to the game. Yet back in 1979 he was only in the third round of the draft and was picked 82nd overall. He picked up his Hall of Fame place in 2000 on the back of four Super Bowl wins. Enough said really.

Walter Payton (Chicago Bears – 4th Pick)

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Walter Payton was picked up by the Chicago Bears back in the 1975 draft and was taken as fourth pick. He would go on to be one of the best performing running backs in the history of the league. He finally won a Super Bowl in 1985 and picked up the NFL MVP award twice.

Jerry Rice (San Francisco 49ers – 16th Pick)

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Proving that Joe Montana wasn’t a flash in the pan for the 49ers; Jerry Rice who may be arguably the best receiver in the NFL of all time – was picked up in the draft in 16th place. Many say Jerry is the best NFL player of them all. He certainly broke enough records during his time on the field and scored an insane 208 touchdowns during his career.

Jim Brown (Cleveland Browns – 6th Pick)

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We go back a ways to find Jim Brown joining the Cleveland Browns in 1957 and in 6th place in the draft. He would go on to never miss so much as a single game in a 9 year career in which he carved out a reputation as an all-star running back who picked up the rookie of the year, the MVP 4 times and was a nominated pro-bowler for all nine seasons. Then he quit in a surprise move to become an actor.

Bart Starr (Green Bay Packers – 17th Pick)

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Bart Starr was picked up by the Green Bay Packers in the 1956 draft in 17th place. He would then go on to deliver, as a starting quarter back, 5 championships over the course of his career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Champ Bailey (Washington Redskins – 7th Pick)

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You can’t really argue with a player who turns up in 11 pro bowls and breaks the record for the most appearances by a cornerback can you? That’s Champ Bailey who was picked up 7th by the Washington Redskins in 1999 and would go on to be traded over to the Denver Broncos in 2004. Champ has proven his worth over and over again.

Lawrence Taylor (New York Giants – 2nd Pick)

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What can you say about a defensive player who has given offensive players nightmares? Lawrence Taylor was the perfect pick for the New York Giants in 1981. He has won two Super Bowls and the NFL’s defensive player of the year award three times.

Tony Gonzalez (Kansas City Chiefs – 13th Pick)

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The Kansas City Chiefs conducted some seriously wise business when they traded for 13th Pick in 1997 with the Houston Oilers. The first tight end to ever catch 1,000 balls and the holder of the records for receptions, touchdown receptions and receiving yards for a tight end. He also only missed 2 games in a 17 year career on the gridiron. To top things off he was a 12-time Pro Bowl pick too.

Jim Kelly (Buffalo Bills – 14th Pick)

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Jim was picked in the 1983 draft but chose to play for USFL rather than NFL at that point so didn’t make his debut for The Bills until 1986. His impact for the Buffalo Bills was incredible and culminated in him leading them to four Super Bowls in consecutive seasons. His legacy is so strong for the team that to this day the Number 12 shirt he wore for them has been permanently retired and it’s the only shirt number the team has ever retired.

Alan Page (Minnesota Vikings – 15th Pick)

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Alan Page became the very first defensive player to win the NFL MVP. In a 15 year career and most of it at the Minnesota Vikings who picked him 15th he would record 173 sacks as a defensive tackle who knew what he was about. Today, he’s an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers – 24th Pick)

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Life can be funny sometimes and Aaron Rogers who was expected to be the first pick of the 2005 draft ended up being picked up by the Green Bay Packers in a surprising 24th pick. They’ve not been sorry about that decision though – he helped them win the Super Bowl and that’s what really matters.

Emmit Smith (Dallas Cowboys – 17th Pick)

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The NFL’s all time leading rusher needs no introduction – he won four separate NFL rushing titles. He has also picked up the league and Super Bowl MVP titles. The Dallas Cowboys proved they knew a good thing when they saw it when they selected Emmit Smith as the 17th pick of 1990.

 

 

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About The Author
Melissa Stenson
Melissa Stenson
Melissa Stenson is a senior writer at PopCrunch. She covers movies, tv, and music news. She also writes engaging and fun lists about various pop culture events.