Smith goes No. 1

Hall of Famers Published on : 1/1/2005


Bruce Smith is one of only 14 players in the history of the National Football League draft to have gone from being the first overall pick of a draft to earning election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.




How the Bills landed the No. 1 pick:

After advancing to the playoffs in 1980 and 1981, the Bills fortunes took a downturn marked by the first of back-to-back 2-14 seasons in 1984.

Scouting Smith’s college career:

Smith, the winner of the Outland Trophy as best college lineman, was the nation’s top prospect after a stellar career at Virginia Tech. He was named a unanimous All-America choice as a junior and senior. In all, he amassed 46 career sacks for the Hokies and led the club to a berth in the Independence Bowl in his senior season. His speed and acceleration were noteworthy observations in most NFL scouting reports.

Rookie debut:

Smith, who recorded three sacks in his NFL preseason debut, led the Bills in sacks with 6.5 and fumble recoveries (4) during his rookie season. He was voted the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year by the NFL Players Association. In all, he started 13 of 16 games in the 1985 season but the Bills suffered a 2-14 season. Better days were on the horizon and by his fourth season, the Bills captured an AFC Eastern Division crown. Two years later, the club reached the Super Bowl for the first of an unprecedented four straight times.

NFL career highlights:

Smith, a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Teams of the 1980s and 1990s, retired as the all-time sack leader with 200 career sacks. HOF Bio>>>