1936 - The NFL's First Draft

Jay Berwanger, B, University of Chicago

On May 19, 1935, the NFL club owners approved a plan devised by future Commissioner Bert Bell. The idea called for a draft whereby the weaker teams would have the first choice at top college prospects. The teams would draft in reverse order of their finish with the league champions from the previous season picking last.

The first NFL draft was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia on Feb. 8, 1936. Since that time, there has been a college draft held every year resulting in a competitively balanced league.

The first-ever Heisman Trophy winner, Jay Berwanger from the University of Chicago, was the first player ever taken in an NFL draft. The Eagles selected the halfback but traded his rights to the Bears. Considering pro football wasn't a very lucrative career in 1936, Berwanger never played in the NFL.

The 1936 NFL Draft PIcks

View 1936 Draft by Team
Draft# Team Player, Position, College
1 Philadelphia Eagles​ Bruce Smith DE, Virginia Tech
2 Atlanta Falcons Bill Fralic T, Pittsburgh
3 Houston Oilers Ray Childress DE, Texas A&M
4 Minnesota Vikings Chris Doleman LB, Pittsburgh
5 Indianapolis Colts Duane Bickett LB, USC
6 Detroit Lions Lomas Brown T, Florida
7 Green Bay Pakcers Ken Ruettgers T, USC
8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ron Holmes DE, Washington
9 Philadelphia Eagles Kevin Allen T, Indiana
10 New York Jets Al Toon WR, Wisconsin
  • #1 - Pick acquired from the Houston Oilers
  • #2 - Pick acquired from the Minnesota Vikings
  • #3 - Pick acquired from the Atlanta Falcons
  • #4 - Pick acquired from the Cleveland Browns
  • #5 - Pick acquired from the New Orleans Saints
  • #6 - Pick acquired from the Green Bay Packers
  • #7 - Pick acquired from the New England Patriots
  • #8 - Pick acquired from the Washington Redskins
  • #9 - Pick acquired from the Seattle Seahawks
  • #10 - Pick acquired from the San Francisco 49ers