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NFL Draft: Hall of Famers and the Draft Since 1967

Posted by Andrew McKillop on April 27, 2011

Around draft time you hear a lot of the draft pundits bring up the fact that talented players can be found in the later rounds.  They bring up the fact that Tom Brady was a sixth round selection, and Joe Montana was a third round selection.  However finding great talent in the later rounds of the draft is certainly the exception, not the rule.

Since the 1967 draft, when the AFL and NFL first hosted the draft together, 52 future Hall of Fame players were selected in the first round (59%), while 36 such players were selected in the later rounds/undrafted (41%).

If a team is interested in finding a Hall of Fame RB they should probably select one in the first round.  Since the 1967 draft, 13 out of the 14 drafted RB’s to make it to the Hall of Fame were selected in the first round.  The exception was Thurman Thomas in 1988 (2nd Round, 40th pick).  In general Hall of Fame talent at the skilled positions is found in the first round.  Seven out of the ten Hall of Fame QB’s, and five out of eight Hall of Fame WR’s have been selected in the first round since 1967.  If a team is looking for a Hall of Fame LB, the second round or later is the place to look; eight out of ten Hall of Fame LB’s have been selected in the second round or later since 1967.

Most teams know when they have a good thing.  Out of then 83 Hall of Fame players selected in the draft/USFL supplemental draft, 73 of them spent the majority of their careers with the team that selected them.

Nine players selected with the #1 overall pick in the draft (since 1967) have made it to the Hall of Fame;  QB Troy Aikman, QB Terry Bradshaw, RB Earl Campbell, QB John Elway, DE Lee Roy Selmon, RB O.J. Simpson, DE Bruce Smith, T Ron Yary, and QB Steve Young (selected 1st in the NFL’s 1984 USFL supplemental draft).

The 1967 NFL-AFL draft produced eight Hall of Fame players, and the 1983 NFL draft produced seven Hall of Fame players.  In 1974 draft the Pittsburgh Steelers selected four Hall of Fame players.

Legend: Pos (Position), Career Team (The team the player had the most games with), Rnd (Round)

1984 U: In 1984 the NFL held a draft distributing the rights of current USFL players not already claimed by NFL teams.

Pos Player Career Team Drafted Drafted By Rnd Pick
RB Marshall Faulk Rams 1994 Colts 1 2
RB Emmitt Smith Cowboys 1990 Cowboys 1 17
TE Shannon Sharpe Broncos 1990 Broncos 7 192
QB Troy Aikman Cowboys 1989 Cowboys 1 1
RB Barry Sanders Lions 1989 Lions 1 3
LB Derrick Thomas Chiefs 1989 Chiefs 1 4
CB Deion Sanders Falcons 1989 Falcons 1 5
WR Michael Irvin Cowboys 1988 Cowboys 1 11
G Randall McDaniel Vikings 1988 Vikings 1 19
RB Thurman Thomas Bills 1988 Bills 2 40
CB Rod Woodson Steelers 1987 Steelers 1 10
DE Bruce Smith Bills 1985 Bills 1 1
WR Jerry Rice 49ers 1985 49ers 1 16
QB Steve Young 49ers 1984 U Buccaneers 1 1
T Gary Zimmerman Vikings 1984 U Giants 1 3
DE Reggie White Eagles 1984 U Eagles 1 4
QB John Elway Broncos 1983 Colts 1 1
RB Eric Dickerson Rams 1983 Rams 1 2
G Bruce Matthews Oilers 1983 Oilers 1 9
QB Jim Kelly Bills 1983 Bills 1 14
QB Dan Marino Dolphins 1983 Dolphins 1 27
DB Darrell Green Redskins 1983 Redskins 1 28
DE Richard Dent Bears 1983 Bears 8 203
G Mike Munchak Oilers 1982 Oilers 1 8
RB Marcus Allen Raiders 1982 Raiders 1 10
LB Andre Tippett Patriots 1982 Patriots 2 41
LB Lawrence Taylor Giants 1981 Giants 1 2
S Ronnie Lott 49ers 1981 49ers 1 8
LB Mike Singletary Bears 1981 Bears 2 38
DE Howie Long Raiders 1981 Raiders 2 48
LB Rickey Jackson Saints 1981 Saints 2 51
G Russ Grimm Redskins 1981 Redskins 3 69
T Anthony Munoz Bengals 1980 Bengals 1 3
WR Art Monk Redskins 1980 Redskins 1 18
C Dwight Stephenson Dolphins 1980 Dolphins 2 48
DE Dan Hampton Bears 1979 Bears 1 4
TE Kellen Winslow Chargers 1979 Chargers 1 13
QB Joe Montana 49ers 1979 49ers 3 82
RB Earl Campbell Oilers 1978 Oilers 1 1
WR James Lofton Packers 1978 Packers 1 6
TE Ozzie Newsome Browns 1978 Broncos 1 23
RB Tony Dorsett Cowboys 1977 Cowboys 1 2
DE Lee Roy Selmon Buccaneers 1976 Buccaneers 1 1
CB Mike Haynes Patriots 1976 Patriots 1 5
T Jackie Slater Rams 1976 Rams 3 86
LB Harry Carson Giants 1976 Giants 4 105
WR Steve Largent Seahawks 1976 Oilers 4 117
DT Randy White Cowboys 1975 Cowboys 1 2
RB Walter Payton Bears 1975 Bears 1 4
DE Fred Dean Chargers 1975 Chargers 2 33
WR Lynn Swann Steelers 1974 Steelers 1 21
TE Dave Casper Raiders 1974 Raiders 2 45
LB Jack Lambert Steelers 1974 Steelers 2 46
WR John Stallworth Steelers 1974 Steelers 4 82
C Mike Webster Steelers 1974 Steelers 5 125
G John Hannah Patriots 1973 Patriots 1 4
G Joe DeLamielleure Bills 1973 Bills 1 26
QB Dan Fouts Chargers 1973 Chargers 3 64
RB Franco Harris Steelers 1972 Steelers 1 13
RB John Riggins Redskins 1971 Jets 1 6
DE Jack Youngblood Rams 1971 Rams 1 20
LB Jack Ham Steelers 1971 Steelers 2 34
T Dan Dierdorf Cardinals 1971 Cardinals 2 43
QB Terry Bradshaw Steelers 1970 Steelers 1 1
CB Mel Blount Steelers 1970 Steelers 3 53
RB O.J. Simpson Bills 1969 Bills 1 1
DT Joe Greene Steelers 1969 Steelers 1 4
CB Roger Wehrli Cardinals 1969 Cardinals 1 19
LB Ted Hendricks Raiders 1969 Colts 2 33
WR Charlie Joiner Chargers 1969 Oilers 4 93
T Ron Yary Vikings 1968 Vikings 1 1
RB Larry Csonka Dolphins 1968 Dolphins 1 8
TE Charlie Sanders Lions 1968 Lions 3 74
DE Elvin Bethea Oilers 1968 Oilers 3 77
T Art Shell Raiders 1968 Raiders 3 80
QB Bob Griese Dolphins 1967 Dolphins 1 4
RB Floyd Little Broncos 1967 Broncos 1 6
DT Alan Page Vikings 1967 Vikings 1 15
G Gene Upshaw Raiders 1967 Raiders 1 17
CB Lem Barney Lions 1967 Lions 2 34
LB Willie Lanier Chiefs 1967 Chiefs 2 50
T Rayfield Wright Cowboys 1967 Cowboys 7 182
S Ken Houston Redskins 1967 Oilers 9 214
C Jim Langer Dolphins Undrafted
DT John Randle Vikings Undrafted
G Larry Little Dolphins Undrafted
K Jan Stenerud Chiefs Undrafted
QB Warren Moon Oilers Undrafted



Reference: Pro-Football-Reference Draft Finder

2 Responses to “NFL Draft: Hall of Famers and the Draft Since 1967”

  1. Idan Solon said

    Great post, but you said 8 out of 10 HOF LB were picked in the second round. Three mentioned: Taylor, Thomas & Carson were not picked in the 2nd rd.

    • Andrew McKillop said

      Thanks for the correction. I changed the wording to correct the mistake. Some of the percentages are also a bit off because I wrote this before the 2012 class.

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