NFL Draft: Who selects the #1 pick and from where?

The 83rd NFL Draft is taking place next week and for the second consecutive year, the Cleveland Browns are on the clock. However, what does history have to say about who most often selects the first overall pick and from where?

Which teams have most often had the #1 pick?

The Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Rams have both selected the top pick in the NFL draft seven times in their franchises histories. Indianapolis last used the first pick to take Andrew Luck in 2012, while Los Angeles took Jared Goff in 2016.

The 2018 draft will see the Browns select the #1 pick for the fifth time, tying them with the Buccaneers for second place.


*Titans made all their #1 picks as the Oilers

*The Boston Yanks were active from 1944-48

Teams to have the #1 pick once: Chargers, Chiefs, Dolphins, Jets, Panthers, Raiders, and Saints

Team to never have the #1 pick: Broncos, Jaguars, Ravens, and Seahawks

What colleges have produced the most #1 picks?

Over the last 82 NFL drafts, five colleges have produced 22 (26.82%) of the #1 overall picks. There have been 16 colleges to have at least 2 players taken with the top selection, with Notre Dame and USC tied at the top. However, USC can be in first place all by themselves if quarterback Sam Darnold is taken by the Browns next Thursday.


The last Notre Dame player taken #1 was defensive end Walt Patulski in 1972, while the last USC player taken first was quarterback Carson Palmer in 2003.

Schools to have one player taken #1 include: Alabama, Central Michigan, Chicago, Colorado State, Florida State, Fresno State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisana Tech, Michigan State, Mississippi, NC State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pennsylvania, Rice, SMU, South Carolina, Syracuse, *Tampa, Tennessee State, Texas A&M, Tulane, UCLA, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Washington and Washington State.

*The University of Tampa discontinued its football program in 1974

Where are #1 picks born?

Out of the 82 players that have been selected #1 in the NFL draft, 18 (21.95%) of them were born in Texas or California. 21 of the 50 states (42%) have never produced a player who was selected with the top pick in the NFL draft.

Number of #1 picks born in state.png

Same map but in gradient colors

# of players taken 1st in draft born in state.png

Only two players selected first overall was not born in one of the 50 states. 2012’s top pick Andrew Luck was born in Washington, D.C., while 1943’s top pick Frank Sinkwich was born in Starjak, Croatia.

Info and sources:

Featured Image: “2011 NFL Draft stage” by Marianne O’Leary is licensed under CC BY-2.0 (Use to note team and college player was drafted from, clicked on each player to find place of birth)

Map of player’s place of birth made using

All other charts and graphs made using Google Spreadsheet in Google Docs