1. Brett Favre – Atlanta Falcons
Everyone remembers Brett Favre as the gun-slinging, Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, but he was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons before being traded. Selected in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft (33rd overall), Favre went on to become a three-time MVP who holds the record for most career passing yards.
2. Randy Moss – Minnesota Vikings
Randy Moss had as much talent as any player in the 1998 draft. The Marshall receiver slipped to 21st overall due to off-field transgressions. Moss holds the single-season touchdown reception record with 23.
3. Joe Montana – San Francisco 49ers
Joe Montana goes down as one of the biggest steals in draft history. The four-time Super Bowl champ slipped to the end of the third round (82nd overall) of the 1979 draft. Montana was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
4. Jerry Rice – San Francisco 49ers
Joe Montana’s favorite target also was one of the best draft picks of all time. Jerry Rice slipped to No. 16 in the 1985 draft, where the 49ers traded ahead of the Cowboys to select maybe the greatest receiver of all time. Rice holds a plethora of records, including most career TDs with 208. He’s arguably the greatest football player to step on the gridiron.
5. Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts
Praising a team for selecting a highly-touted quarterback first overall seems simple, but when you see what could have happened you realize why the Colts selection of Peyton Manning was so pivotal in 1998.
Ryan Leaf, one of the biggest draft busts, was drafted directly after Manning.
Manning is a 14-time Pro Bowler who holds the record for most touchdown passes in a career with 530 and counting.
6. Bart Starr – Green Bay Packers
A 1977 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Bart Starr was selected in the 17th round of the 1956 draft. Starr won five championships as starting QB for the Green Bay Packers.
7. Ray Lewis – Baltimore Ravens
The value of a middle linebacker has been devalued in today’s league, but Ray Lewis goes down as one of the best at his position. Lewis was drafted 26th overall in the 1996 draft. In his time, Lewis brought home two Super Bowls to Baltimore.
8. Johnny Unitas – Pittsburgh Steelers
Drafted by the Steelers in the ninth round of the 1955 draft, Unitas went on to star for the Colts. The quarterback was a three-time MVP and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
9. Lawrence Taylor – New York Giants
Lawrence Taylor is regarded as one of the best, most ferocious defensive players the league has ever seen. LT was the second overall pick in the 1981 draft winning two Super Bowls and three Defensive Player of the Year awards.
10. Emmitt Smith – Dallas Cowboys
Snagging the all-time leading rusher in NFL history with the 17th pick in the 1990 NFL Draft (Jeff George went No. 1 overall) was one of the best selections the Cowboys have made. Emmitt Smith was part of the dominant 90s Cowboys teams that won three Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.