Ranking the 3 best draft classes in NFL history

2004 NFL Draft
Ben Roethlisberger - 2004 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is an event that is held every year for the best college football players to be selected by professional teams. Over the years, there have been several draft classes that stand out as some of the best in the history of the league. With so many great players to consider, it was difficult to rank the three best drafts. That said, here are our top three:

#3. The 1983 NFL Draft

Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts
Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts

The 1983 Draft class was also littered with football greats, with several players going on to have successful careers. Some of the more well-known people from this class include:

Quarterback John Elway was selected first overall by the Baltimore Colts before being traded to the Denver Broncos. Elway is considered to be one of the best old-school quarterbacks in NFL history. He also won the Super Bowl twice.

Dan Marino went to the Miami Dolphins with the 27th pick. Marino became one of the best quarterbacks of all time, a legendary figure in the NFL records. The only thing missing from his Hall of Fame career was a Super Bowl ring.

The Philadelphia Eagles chose Reggie White as the fourth pick in the draft. White is considered one of the best defensive tackles in history, with 13 Pro Bowl appearances. In 2006, he entered the Football Hall of Fame.

#2. The 1998 NFL Draft

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos
AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos

The 1998 Draft class is also considered one of the best in history. The standout players from this class include:

The Indianapolis Colts, who had the first pick of the draft, chose Peyton Manning. Like his younger brother Eli, Peyton Manning was a quarterback. He was an impressive leader with an iconic NFL career. He was a 14-time Pro Bowler during his time in the league. Like his brother, he won two Super Bowls.

Wide receiver Marvin Harrison was selected 19th overall by the Indianapolis Colts. Harrison was a part of the 2006 Indianapolis championship team. He is widely known as one of the most agile wide receivers the game has ever seen.

Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, who was selected fourth overall by the Baltimore Ravens. Ogden was a 11-time Pro Bowler, and in 2013 he was added to the Hall of Fame.

Legendary wide receiver Randy Moss was taken by the Minnesota Vikings with the 21st pick. Moss is widely regarded as the greatest receiver in the history of the NFL and is constantly used as a benchmark in modern day comparisons.

#1. The 2004 NFL Draft

Super Bowl XLVI
Super Bowl XLVI

The 2004 Draft class was one with many high-level recruits getting ready to join the pro league. A large number of early-round picks from this class went on to have Hall of Fame careers. This was the only draft so far to have produced multiple Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Some of the notable selections include:

Quarterback Eli Manning was selected as the number one pick by the San Diego Chargers. Soon after, they traded him to the New York Giants. Manning was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, and he and the Giants won two Super Bowl rings with him as quarterback.

Ben Roethlisberger was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 11th pick. He went on to win two Super Bowls, make six Pro Bowls and lead the NFL in passing yards twice.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was selected third overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Fitzgerald is among the greatest receivers in the NFL. He is an 11-time Pro Bowler and had the most receiving touchdowns in the league twice.

Quarterback Phillip Rivers was selected with the fourth pick by the New York Giants, who traded him to the Chargers. Rivers became a franchise legend for the Bolts, playing there for 16 years.

Sean Taylor was taken by the Washington Commanders (then-Redskins) with the fifth overall pick. After four seasons of dominant football, Taylor was shot and killed confronting burglars in his house. He made one Pro Bowl during his career and was awarded another posthumously. Taylor was a safety with huge potential that, as a result of his murder, he was unable to realize.

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Edited by John Maxwell
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