Top 10 No. 1 overall picks in NFL Draft history

These top prospects lived up to the hype, and then some.
New York Giants v Indianapolis Colts
New York Giants v Indianapolis Colts / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Whenever a player is selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft, that prospect is expected to be the emotional and competitive center of the team that leads the franchise to championship heights regularly over the next decade. That immense pressure can oftentimes cause highly touted picks to flop.

However, a good chunk of No. 1 picks are testaments to good scouting. Many of the players picked this high not only had long NFL careers, but they became some of the best at their respective positions and some of the greatest players anywhere on the field in NFL history.

It's time to take a look at every payer once thought to be the best in their respective draft classes and figure out which one of them reigns supreme. This list was so challenging to narrow down that multiple Hall of Fame players (sorry, Paul Hornung!) didn't even make the Honorable Mentions.

Top 10 No. 1 Draft Picks in NFL Draft History

Honorable Mentions:

Lee Roy Selmon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976)
Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys (1989)
Drew Bledsoe, New England Patriots (1993)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (2009)
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (2011)

10. Eli Manning, New York Giants (2004)

Manning made waves when he came out of Ole Miss, as he refused to join the Chargers when they picked him in 2004. He was eventually traded to the New York Giants, and he became an icon by leading the team uninterrupted for over a decade. Manning amassed 57,000 yards and 366 touchdown passes in his career.

Manning may only have four Pro Bowls to his name, and his down years at the end were tough to watch, but it's hard for quarterbacks on this list to top two Super Bowl rings against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. While he might be a controversial Hall of Famer to some, he has the rings and stats to warrant induction.

Eli Manning was a good use of a No. 1 pick

9. Orlando Pace, St. Louis Rams (1997)

Pace was as dominant a player at Ohio State as any offensive lineman in the last few decades. After acquiring the No. 1 overall pick in 1997 after the Jets traded out of the top spot, Pace went on to be the true unsung hero of the Greatest Show on Turf that kept Kurt Warner upright in the pocket.

Pace finished his career with seven Pro Bowl nods and five All-Pro selections (three of which were First-Team nods). While injuries may have largely ended his prime at just 30 years old, Pace's rime with the Rams was so dominant as both a lead blocker for Marshall Faulk and Warner's bodyguard was touched by only a select few in NFL history.