The modern NFL draft began in 1936, when the Chicago Bears made University of Chicago running back Jay Berwanger the first-ever pick. It didn’t work out as Berwanger decided not the play professional football - a move not uncommon in those days among college stars.
Berwanger was the first “bust” of the NFL draft and later regretted not accepting the Bears’ salary offer of $13,500 per year. He worked at a rubber company and coached part-time at his college alma mater after railing to make the U.S. Olympic team in the decathlon.
Sometimes teams do get it right and find that superstar for which they were hoping. As far as the latest top picks, it’s still too early to tell whether Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck belongs among the best ever after just one really good season. The same goes for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who has had two dynamic, yet inconsistent, NFL seasons. A list of the league’s worst top overall selections will be posted soon, but below is the cream of the crop among the players selected with the No. 1 overall pick.