List of No. 1 Overall Picks in NFL Draft History

The list of No. 1 overall NFL Draft picks dates all the way back to 1936. How many times has your favorite NFL team selected first overall?

NFL teams don’t necessarily want to be holding the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Absent a trade, it means they had the worst record in football the previous season. There is a silver lining, though.

Having the first pick gives its holder a chance to turn a franchise around quickly. Let’s go back through history and take a look at every No. 1 NFL draft pick, dating back to 1936.

Full List of No. 1 Overall Picks in the NFL Draft

  • 2024: Caleb Williams, QB, USC | Chicago Bears
  • 2023: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama | Carolina Panthers
  • 2022: Travon Walker, DE, Georgia | Jacksonville Jaguars
  • 2021: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson | Jacksonville Jaguars
  • 2020: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU | Cincinnati Bengals
  • 2019: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma | Arizona Cardinals
  • 2018: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma | Cleveland Browns
  • 2017: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M | Cleveland Browns
  • 2016: Jared Goff, QB, California | Los Angeles Rams
  • 2015: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 2014: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina | Houston Texans
  • 2013: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan | Kansas City Chiefs
  • 2012: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford | Indianapolis Colts
  • 2011: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn | Carolina Panthers
  • 2010: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma | St. Louis Rams
  • 2009: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia | Detroit Lions
  • 2008: Jake Long, OT, Michigan | Miami Dolphins
  • 2007: JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU | Oakland Raiders
  • 2006: Mario Williams, DE, North Carolina State | Houston Texans
  • 2005: Alex Smith, QB, Utah | San Francisco 49ers
  • 2004: Eli Manning, QB, Ole Miss | San Diego Chargers
  • 2003: Carson Palmer, QB, USC | Cincinnati Bengals
  • 2002: David Carr, QB, Fresno State | Houston Texans
  • 2001: Michael Vick, QB, Virginia Tech | Atlanta Falcons
  • 2000: Courtney Brown, DE, Penn State | Cleveland Browns
  • 1999: Tim Couch, QB, Kentucky | Cleveland Browns
  • 1998: Peyton Manning, QB, Tennessee | Indianapolis Colts
  • 1997: Orlando Pace, OT, Ohio State | St. Louis Rams
  • 1996: Keyshawn Johnson, WR, USC | New York Jets
  • 1995: Ki-Jana Carter, HB, Penn State | Cincinnati Bengals
  • 1994: Dan Wilkinson, DT, Ohio State | Cincinnati Bengals
  • 1993: Drew Bledsoe, QB, Washington State | New England Patriots
  • 1992: Steve Emtman, DE, Washington | Indianapolis Colts
  • 1991: Russell Maryland, DT, Miami (FL) | Dallas Cowboys
  • 1990: Jeff George, QB, Illinois | Indianapolis Colts
  • 1989: Troy Aikman, QB, UCLA | Dallas Cowboys
  • 1988: Aundray Bruce, LB, Auburn | Atlanta Falcons
  • 1987: Vinny Testaverde, QB, Miami (FL) | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 1986: Bo Jackson, HB, Auburn | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 1985: Bruce Smith, DE, Virginia Tech | Buffalo Bills
  • 1984: Irving Fryar, WR, Nebraska | New England Patriots
  • 1983: John Elway, QB, Stanford | Baltimore Colts
  • 1982: Kenneth Sims, DE, Texas | New England Patriots
  • 1981: George Rogers, HB, South Carolina | New Orleans Saints
  • 1980: Billy Sims, HB, Oklahoma | Detroit Lions
  • 1979: Tom Cousineau, LB, Ohio State | Buffalo Bills
  • 1978: Earl Campbell, HB, Texas | Houston Oilers
  • 1977: Ricky Bell, HB, USC | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 1976: Lee Roy Selmon, DE, Oklahoma | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 1975: Steve Bartkowski, QB, Cal | Atlanta Falcons
  • 1974: Ed Jones, DE, Tennessee State | Dallas Cowboys
  • 1973: John Matuszak, DE, Tampa | Houston Oilers
  • 1972: Walt Patulski, DE, Notre Dame | Buffalo Bills
  • 1971: Jim Plunkett, QB, Stanford | New England Patriots
  • 1970: Terry Bradshaw, QB, Louisiana Tech | Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 1969: O.J. Simpson, HB, USC | Buffalo Bills
  • 1968: Ron Yary, OT, USC | Minnesota Vikings
  • 1967: Bubba Smith, DE, Michigan State | Baltimore Colts
  • 1966: Tommy Nobis, LB, Texas | Atlanta Falcons
  • 1965: Tucker Frederickson, HB, Auburn | New York Giants
  • 1964: Dave Parks, WR, Texas Tech | San Francisco 49ers
  • 1963: Terry Baker, QB, Oregon State | Los Angeles Rams
  • 1962: Ernie Davis, HB, Syracuse | Washington Commanders
  • 1961: Tommy Mason, HB, Tulane | Minnesota Vikings
  • 1960: Billy Cannon, HB, LSU | Los Angeles Rams
  • 1959: Randy Duncan, QB, Iowa | Green Bay Packers
  • 1958: King Hill, QB, Rice | Chicago Cardinals
  • 1957: Paul Hornung, HB, Notre Dame | Green Bay Packers
  • 1956: Gary Glick, DB, Colorado A&M | Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 1955: George Shaw, QB, Oregon | Baltimore Colts
  • 1954: Bobby Garrett, QB, Stanford | Cleveland Browns
  • 1953: Harry Babcock, E, Georgia | San Francisco 49ers
  • 1952: Bill Wade, QB, Vanderbilt | Los Angeles Rams
  • 1951: Kyle Rote, HB, SMU | New York Giants
  • 1950: Leon Hart, E, Notre Dame | Detroit Lions
  • 1949: Chuck Bednarik, C/LB, Penn | Philadelphia Eagles
  • 1948: Harry Gilmer, HB/WR, Alabama | Washington Commanders
  • 1947: Bob Fenimore, HB, Oklahoma A&M | Chicago Bears
  • 1946: Frank Dancewicz, QB, Notre Dame | Boston Yanks
  • 1945: Charley Trippi, HB, Georgia | Chicago Cardinals
  • 1944: Angelo Bertelli, QB, Notre Dame | Boston Yanks
  • 1943: Frank Sinkwich, HB, Georgia | Detroit Lions
  • 1942: Bill Dudley, HB, Virginia | Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 1941: Tom Harmon, HB, Michigan | Chicago Bears
  • 1940: George Cafego, HB, Tennessee | Chicago Cardinals
  • 1939: Ki Aldrich, C, TCU | Chicago Cardinals
  • 1938: Corbett Davis, FB, Indiana | Cleveland Rams
  • 1937: Sam Francis, FB, Nebraska | Philadelphia Eagles
  • 1936: Jay Berwanger, HB, Chicago | Philadelphia Eagles

Which NFL Team Has Had the Most No. 1 Overall Picks?

The Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Rams have both held the No. 1 overall pick seven times. While the Rams earned their No. 1 overall pick in 2010 with a 1-15 record the previous season, their most recent first overall selection in 2016 came via a trade. The Rams traded up to acquire the top pick, using it on California quarterback Jared Goff.

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The last time the Colts had the No. 1 overall pick was in 2012. They had been perennial playoff contenders until a neck injury forced Peyton Manning to miss the entire 2011 season. Without their star QB, the Colts were the worst team in football. With generational prospect Andrew Luck as the surefire top player in the draft, the Colts opted to move on from Manning and select Luck to carry them into the future.

Which NFL Teams Have Never Had the First Pick?

Only three teams have never held the first pick in the draft: the Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle Seahawks. While it shouldn’t be a major surprise that the Ravens, who have only existed since 1996, have never had the worst record in football, the same cannot be said about the other two teams.

The Seahawks entered the league in 1976, and the Broncos have been around since 1960. It’s certainly an accomplishment for both teams to say they’ve never been the worst in a given season.

Which Position Is Most Often Picked No. 1?

Unsurprisingly, the quarterback is the position most frequently selected at No. 1 overall. Since 1936, a staggering 35quarterbacks have had the honor of hearing their names called first on draft day.

A quarterback has been the first pick in five of the last six drafts and seven of the last 11.

KEEP READING: How Many Players Are Drafted in the NFL Each Year?

Ironically (if you’re a more modern fan of the NFL), running backs (23) rank second. Given that it’s been 29 years since we last saw it happen, it’s probably safe to say Ki-Jana Carter will go down as a nice trivia answer as the last running back to be taken with the first overall pick.

Defensive linemen (15) come in third. Given the importance of rushing the passer in the modern NFL, it stands to reason we have not seen the last pass rusher to go No. 1 overall. But given the importance of the quarterback position, its lead as the position most selected with the top pick is only going to grow.

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