Class full of No. 1s

01/01/2005

Four of the five players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009 were drafted in the first round. It is the fifth class in the 46-year history of the Hall of Fame that has had four members who were former first round selections. The Class of 2004 remains the only group of inductees all of whom were first round draft picks.

The Buffalo Bills chose Virginia Tech defensive end Bruce Smith as the top pick in the 1985 NFL Draft. Smith is one of just 13 Hall of Famers selected as the first overall pick of a NFL draft.

The Minnesota Vikings used their first round draft pick, 19th overall, of the 1988 draft to select Arizona State guard Randall McDaniel.

Rod Woodson, a star defensive back/kick returner out of Purdue, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers at the 10th spot of the first round in 1987.

In 1989, the Kansas City Chiefs used the fourth pick to take Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas. It marked the first time in franchise history that the Chiefs picked a linebacker in the first round.

Class of 1987 Class of 1999 Class of 2001 Class of 2004
Larry Csonka
Len Dawson
Joe Greene
Gene Upshaw
Eric Dickerson
Tom Mack
Ozzie Newsome
Lawrence Taylor
Mike Munchak
Lynn Swann
Ron Yary
Jack Youngblood
Bob Brown
Carl Eller
John Elway
Barry Sanders

The other two members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009 are Bob Hayes and Ralph Wilson, Jr.

Hayes was tapped in the seventh round as a future choice in 1964 by the Dallas Cowboys. The gold medal winning track star of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics also was selected by the Denver Broncos in the 14th round of the AFL Draft in 1964. He joined the Cowboys the following season.

Wilson, the founder and owner of the Bills certainly has had great experience in drafting. The club has selected a number of high profile players in the first round over the past half century. Four of Wilson’s first rounders – O.J. Simpson, Joe DeLamielleure, Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith – later earned election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In addition, the Bills selected another future Hall of Famer. In 1964 when the AFL and NFL held separate drafts, Buffalo picked Carl Eller with the fifth overall pick. However, the defensive end opted to play in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings who had selected him sixth overall in the first round of the NFL draft.

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