With the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select…
Well, we don’t know yet. But we do know that general manager Ryan Poles and Co. have a decision to make. Selecting first overall doesn’t guarantee you anything, but it’s generally where you want to be if you’re looking for a star.
How often does the top pick pan out? And which teams have been atop the draft most often?
Here’s a full deep dive on the history of the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft:
Which NFL team has the No. 1 draft pick in 2023?
The Bears hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft after finishing 3-14 last season.
What NFL team has had the most No. 1 overall picks?
The Colts’ No. 1 picks include George Shaw (1955), Bubba Smith (1967), John Elway (1983), Jeff George (1990), Steve Emtman (1992), Peyton Manning (1998) and Andrew Luck (2012). The Rams’ top overall picks were Corbett Davis (1938), Bill Wade (1952), Billy Cannon (1960), Terry Baker (1963), Orlando Pace (1997), Sam Bradford (2010) and Jared Goff (2016).
Behind the Colts and Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have each picked first overall five times.
What NFL teams have never had the first pick?
The Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos are the only NFL franchises to never hold the No. 1 draft pick.
What position is most frequently picked No. 1?
Quarterback is the most common position for No. 1 overall picks. A whopping 34 quarterbacks were taken first in the draft.
Beyond quarterback, the second most frequent position picked is, surprisingly, running back. Twenty-three running backs have been the first pick, but it hasn’t happened since Ki-Jana Carter in 1995 and likely won’t happen again as the position has been devalued.
Here’s a full breakdown by position:
- Quarterback: 34
- Running back: 23
- Defensive linemen: 16
- Offensive linemen: 6
- Wide receivers/tight ends: 5
- Linebackers: 5
- Defensive backs: 1
What school has the most No. 1 picks in the NFL?
Four schools are tied with five players selected at No. 1: Notre Dame, USC, Oklahoma and Georgia. Auburn and Stanford both have had four players at the top of the draft.
With Georgia’s Jalen Carter among the No. 1 pick candidates this year, the Bulldogs could soon be in sole possession of this record. If Carter is the first player off the board, it would be just the third time in history that a school produced the No. 1 pick in consecutive years (Oklahoma 2018-19, USC 1968-69).
How many No. 1 picks have made the Hall of Fame?
Fourteen players have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame after being the first pick. Here’s the full list and their draft year:
- Bill Dudley, 1942
- Charley Trippi, 1945
- Chuck Bednarik, 1949
- Paul Hornung, 1957
- Ron Yary, 1968
- O.J. Simpson, 1969
- Terry Bradshaw, 1970
- Lee Roy Selmon, 1976
- Earl Campbell, 1978
- John Elway, 1983
- Bruce Smith, 1985
- Troy Aikman, 1989
- Orlando Pace, 1997
- Peyton Manning, 1998
Full list of No. 1 overall picks in NFL Draft
The NFL Draft has been held annually since 1936. Here’s the full list of players to be selected first overall, plus their college and the team that selected them:
- 2022: DE Travon Walker, Georgia, Jaguars
- 2021: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, Jaguars
- 2020: QB Joe Burrow, LSU, Bengals
- 2019: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma, Cardinals
- 2018: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, Browns
- 2017: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, Browns
- 2016: QB Jared Goff, Cal, Rams
- 2015: QB Jameis Winston, Florida State, Buccaneers
- 2014: DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
- 2013: OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, Chiefs
- 2012: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford, Colts
- 2011: QB Cam Newton, Auburn, Panthers
- 2010: QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, Rams
- 2009: QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia, Lions
- 2008: OT Jake Long, Michigan, Dolphins
- 2007: QB JaMarcus Russell, LSU, Raiders
- 2006: DE Mario Williams, North Carolina State, Texans
- 2005: QB Alex Smith, Utah, 49ers
- 2004: QB Eli Manning, Ole Miss, Chargers
- 2003: QB Carson Palmer, USC, Bengals
- 2002: QB David Carr, Fresno State, Texans
- 2001: QB Michael Vick, Virginia Tech, Falcons
- 2000: DE Courtney Brown, Penn State, Browns
- 1999: QB Tim Couch, Kentucky, Browns
- 1998: QB Peyton Manning, Tennessee, Colts
- 1997: OT Orlando Pace, Ohio State, Rams
- 1996: WR Keyshawn Johnson, USC, Jets
- 1995: HB Ki-Jana Carter, Penn State, Bengals
- 1994: DT Dan Wilkinson, Ohio State, Bengals
- 1993: QB Drew Bledsoe, Washington State, Patriots
- 1992: DE Steve Emtman, Washington, Colts
- 1991: DT Russell Maryland, Miami (FL), Cowboys
- 1990: QB Jeff George, Illinois, Colts
- 1989: QB Troy Aikman, UCLA, Cowboys
- 1988: LB Aundray Bruce, Auburn, Falcons
- 1987: QB Vinny Testaverde, Miami (FL), Buccaneers
- 1986: HB Bo Jackson, Auburn, Buccaneers
- 1985: DE Bruce Smith, Virginia Tech, Bills
- 1984: WR Irving Fryar, Nebraska, Patriots
- 1983: QB John Elway, Stanford, Colts
- 1982: DE Kenneth Sims, Texas, Patriots
- 1981: HB George Rogers, South Carolina, Saints
- 1980: HB Billy Sims, Oklahoma, Lions
- 1979: LB Tom Cousineau, Ohio State, Bills
- 1978: HB Earl Campbell, Texas, Oilers
- 1977: HB Ricky Bell, USC, Buccaneers
- 1976: DE Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma, Buccaneers
- 1975: QB Steve Bartkowski, Cal, Falcons
- 1974: DE Ed Jones, Tennessee State, Cowboys
- 1973: DE John Matuszak, Tampa, Oilers
- 1972: DE Walt Patulski, Notre Dame, Bills
- 1971: QB Jim Plunkett, Stanford, Patriots
- 1970: QB Terry Bradshaw, Louisiana Tech, Steelers
- 1969: HB O.J. Simpson, USC, Bills
- 1968: OT Ron Yary, USC, Vikings
- 1967: DE Bubba Smith, Michigan State, Colts
- 1966: LB Tommy Nobis, Texas, Falcons
- 1965: HB Tucker Frederickson, Auburn, Giants
- 1964: WR Dave Parks, Texas Tech, 49ers
- 1963: QB Terry Baker, Oregon State, Rams
- 1962: HB Ernie Davis, Syracuse, Washington
- 1961: HB Tommy Mason, Tulane, Vikings
- 1960: HB Billy Cannon, LSU, Rams
- 1959: QB Randy Duncan, Iowa, Packers
- 1958: QB King Hill, Rice, Cardinals
- 1957: HB Paul Hornung, Notre Dame, Packers
- 1956: DB Gary Glick, Colorado A&M, Steelers
- 1955: QB George Shaw, Oregon, Colts
- 1954: QB Bobby Garrett, Stanford, Browns
- 1953: OE Harry Babcock, Georgia, 49ers
- 1952: QB Bill Wade, Vanderbilt, Rams
- 1951: HB Kyle Rote, SMU, Giants
- 1950: OE Leon Hart, Notre Dame, Lions
- 1949: C/LB Chuck Bednarik, Penn, Eagles
- 1948: HB/WR Harry Gilmer, Alabama, Washington
- 1947: HB Bob Fenimore, Oklahoma A&M, Bears
- 1946: QB Frank Dancewicz, Notre Dame, Yanks
- 1945: HB Charley Trippi, Georgia, Cardinals
- 1944: QB Angelo Bertelli, Notre Dame, Yanks
- 1943: HB Frank Sinkwich, Georgia, Lions
- 1942: HB Bill Dudley, Virginia, Steelers
- 1941: HB Tom Harmon, Michigan, Bears
- 1940: HB George Cafego, Tennessee, Cardinals
- 1939: C Ki Aldrich, TCU, Cardinals
- 1938: FB Corbett Davis, Indiana, Rams
- 1937: FB Sam Francis, Nebraska, Eagles
- 1936: HB Jay Berwanger, Chicago, Eagles