The All-Time First-Round NFL Draft Team

Including 26 members of the NFL's 100th anniversary team

The first round provides the cornerstone of every NFL championship team.

That’s where you find the franchise players. The great ones. The Hall of Famers.  The Jim Browns, John Elways, Joe Greenes and Lawrence Taylors.

The all-time first-round NFL draft team would be a formidable one. How formidable? The NFL’s all-time leading rusher (Emmitt Smith) and a four-time Super Bowl championship quarterback (Terry Bradshaw) didn’t make the cut. The 27-player team includes 26 Hall of Famers. The only player on this team who isn’t in the Hall is wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who isn’t eligible for Canton yet.

All but one of the 27 players were named to the NFL’s 100th anniversary team. The lone exception was Doak Walker, who played only six seasons with Detroit in the early 1950s but went to five Pro Bowls and helped the Lions win two championships. He’s on this first-round team as the placekicker.

The 27 players combined for 264 Pro Bowl appearances. Here is that team, including the franchise each was drafted by and the year:

QB Otto Graham, Detroit 1944, 10 seasons with Browns, 10 championship games, 7 championship rings

HB Barry Sanders, Detroit 1989, 1997 NFL MVP, 4 rushing titles

FB Jim Brown, Cleveland 1958, 3-time NFL MVP, 8 rushing titles

WR Jerry Rice, San Francisco 1985, NFL’s all-time leading receiver

WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona 2004, NFL’s second all-time leading receiver

TE Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City 1997, NFL’s third all-time leading receiver

OT Anthony Munoz, Cincinnati 1980, 1980s NFL all-decade team

OT Forrest Gregg, Green Bay 1956, 1960s NFL all-decade team, 6 championship rings

G John Hannah, New England 1973, 2-time NFL all-decade selection (1970-80)

G Randall McDaniel, Minnesota 1988, 1990s NFL all-decade team

C Chuck Bednarik, Philadelphia 1949, 1950s NFL all-decade team

DE Bruce Smith, Buffalo 1985, NFL’s all-time sack leader

DE Doug Atkins, Chicago 1953, 1950s NFL all-decade team

DT Joe Greene, Pittsburgh 1969, 2-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year

DT Bob Lilly, Dallas 1961, 2-time NFL all-decade selection (1960-70)

OLB Lawrence Taylor, NY Giants 1981, 1986 NFL MVP

MLB Dick Butkus, Chicago 1965, 2-time NFL all-decade selection (1960-70)

OLB Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay 1995, 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

CB Deion Sanders, Atlanta 1989, 1995 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

CB Rod Woodson, Pittsburgh 1987, 1993 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

S Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens 2002, 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

S Ronnie Lott, SF 49ers 1981, 2-time NFL all-decade selection (1980-90)

K Doak Walker, Detroit 1950, 2-time NFL scoring champion

P Sammy Baugh, Washington 1937, 5-time NFL punting champion

KR Gale Sayers, Chicago 1965, NFL record 30.6-yard career KR average

ST Alan Page, Minnesota 1967, 1971 NFL MVP, blocked 28 career kicks

LS Bruce Matthews, Houston 1983, Played an NFL OL record 296 games


You can read the All-Time Draft Teams here:

  1. Mel Allen says

    Is Doug Atkins over Reggie White because he (White) was taken in the Supplemtal Draft?

  2. Brian wolf says

    I would have taken Paul Warfield over Fitz … Dynamic weapon who had such an impact he played for the last Brown’s and Dolphin’s champions

  3. Brian wolf says

    Its a tough call but I would have chosen Mike Haynes over Deion Sanders. Sanders scored in so many ways but Haynes tackled better and didnt put his team in limbo playing baseball … Its close.

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