Most memorable NFL draft moments for all 32 teams

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Louis Riddick breaks down how Baker Mayfield processes the game and how Josh Rosen is "as smooth as silk." (0:49)

The NFL draft never fails to produce memorable moments.

From Eagles fans booing the selection of Donovan McNabb to the Chargers drafting Eli Manning (only to trade him that same night), NFL Nation reporters look back on the draft memories that stand out the most for all 32 teams.

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West


Buffalo Bills

Jim Kelly's emotional announcement at the 2015 draft

When Jim Kelly was selected 14th overall in 1983, he spurned the Bills in order to play in the upstart United States Football League for two seasons before returning to the NFL to play 11 seasons in Buffalo. The story came full circle in 2015 when, after defeating cancer for the second time, Kelly announced the Bills' second-round pick. He received a minute-long standing ovation from the crowd in Chicago before thanking fans for their prayers and by embracing the team he once opted not to join. "We, the Buffalo Bills," began Kelly as he announced the selection of cornerback Ronald Darby. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

Dan Marino's 1983 draft slide

With the second-to-last pick of the first round in 1983, the Dolphins couldn't believe what was happening: Could Marino actually keep sliding down the board and right into their laps at No. 27? Incredibly, he did. Marino's agent, Marvin Demoff, recalled how Marino became ill as he watched the first round unfold, even asking the question "Who is Ken O'Brien?" when the Jets selected the little-known QB from UC Davis at 24. ESPN's Chris Berman immediately noted that the Dolphins would be in good shape because of coach Don Shula's presence, but others were skeptical based on rumors of Marino's alleged recreational drug use. This is undoubtedly the best moment in Dolphins draft history, as the famous quarterback class of 1983 ended with a home run for Miami, and surprisingly so. -- Mike Reiss

New England Patriots

Selecting their first Super Bowl-winning QB in 1993

While there was speculation the Patriots would draft Drew Bledsoe first overall in 1993 -- choosing him over Rick Mirer -- the club never informed Bledsoe of its intentions. So as he waited in the draft room with the likes of Garrison Hearst and Willie Roaf, Bledsoe was in suspense as much as anyone when then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue approached the podium to announce that New England was on the clock. As Bledsoe donned a red button-down shirt (no suit and tie) and held up a blue Patriots jersey with the No. 1 on it, the New England region had hope that its doormat status in the NFL was about to change. It sure did. Because of that, the selection of Bledsoe edges out Rob Gronkowski's full-family onstage celebration in 2010 and Kevin Faulk announcing a pick in 2016 in a Tom Brady jersey to show his support for his former QB as Brady went through Deflategate. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Passing on a future Hall of Famer in 1983

With Marino still on the board, the Jets chose the relatively unknown Ken O'Brien from UC Davis with the 24th pick in the 1983 draft. Jets Nation was shocked -- a feeling that would become all too familiar in the 1980s and 1990s. Then-commissioner Pete Rozelle paused after starting the announcement with "quarterback" for dramatic effect, teasing fans who wanted the popular Marino. O'Brien went on to a solid career, but he was no Marino, who broke many passing records and went to the Hall of Fame. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

Drafting a duo of first-ballot Hall of Famers in 1996

The Ravens' first draft set the gold standard for all the ones that followed. After relocating from Cleveland in 1996, the Ravens selected two future first-ballot Hall of Fame players in the first round, drafting offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden at No. 4 and linebacker Ray Lewis at No. 26. The Ravens would eventually become just the fifth team of the Super Bowl era to pick two Hall of Fame players in the same draft and the second of this era to select two Hall of Fame players in the same round, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In the first draft that he had full control of, Ozzie Newsome made a statement by taking Ogden over running back Lawrence Phillips, who was the preferred pick of owner Art Modell. Later in the first round, Newsome chose Lewis one spot before the Green Bay Packers, who were set to take him. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Turning down nine picks to draft Akili Smith in 1999

It might not be a good memory, but it's an important one in this franchise's history. The Bengals turned down nine draft picks from the Saints, including two first-rounders, in what owner Mike Brown called "the best offer he's ever had" to stay at No. 3 and draft Smith, who ended up being one of the biggest busts of all time. It wasn't until 2003 that the Bengals started to right the ship by drafting Carson Palmer first overall. -- Katherine Terrell

Cleveland Browns

Landing Bernie Kosar as their franchise QB in 1985

Kosar, who graduated after two years at the University of Miami, wanted badly to play in his hometown of Cleveland. Acting within the rules, the Browns acquired Buffalo's first pick in the supplemental draft, and Kosar delayed his entry into the regular draft, then filed to be part of the supplemental one. The Browns suddenly had a franchise player who wanted to be in Cleveland. His selection led to one of the most exciting eras in Browns history, which included three appearances in the AFC Championship Game. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

Drafting four future Hall of Famers in 1974

The Steelers' work from the draft room that year set the stage for one of the greatest runs in NFL history. Landing four future Hall of Famers in one class -- Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster in the first 125 picks -- is a feat no other NFL team has touched. In fact, Pittsburgh is the only franchise with more than two HOFers in one class during the common draft era (1967), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Former Steelers assistant director of player personnel Bill Nunn told Steelers.com in 2014 that "there's no question" the team's 1974 class is one of the league's best ever. The foursome catalyzed four Super Bowl wins from 1975 to 1980. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans

Trading up to draft Deshaun Watson at No. 12 in 2017

This moment is perhaps more memorable because of the season the rookie quarterback had before he tore his ACL after six starts. He was on pace to obliterate the rookie passing touchdown record and was tied for the NFL lead with 19 passing TDs when he suffered the season-ending injury. The Texans had the 25th overall pick and made the surprise move by trading that and their 2018 first-round pick to the Browns to get the player they hope will be a franchise quarterback. -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Selecting Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf in 1998

Manning promised general manager Bill Polian in their final face-to-face predraft meeting that he would lead the franchise to a championship if the Colts made him the No. 1 overall pick in 1998. He also promised Polian that he would "come back and kick your ass" if they didn't pick him. Polian listened and picked Manning over Leaf, who turned out to be a bust as the No. 2 pick that year. Manning won five MVP awards, led the Colts to the playoffs 11 times, had eight seasons with at least 12 victories and got to the Super Bowl twice (winning it once) in his 13 years in Indianapolis. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Passing on Russell Wilson to draft punter Bryan Anger in 2012

It's really not fair to say it that way because at the time nobody knew that Wilson would become one of the league's best quarterbacks and lead Seattle to a pair of Super Bowl appearances and one title, but that's the way Jaguars fans look at it. Then-general manager Gene Smith said that Anger "clearly will make an impact on our football team," and Anger did lead the league in punts in 2013 and in average in 2014. But that third-round pick was arguably the worst in franchise history. Then-coach Mike Mularkey said the team never considered Wilson because it had drafted Blaine Gabbert the year before and felt Gabbert, despite a disastrous rookie season, would be the Jaguars' franchise quarterback. Five picks later, Seattle drafted Wilson, and the Jaguars eventually traded Gabbert to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick before the 2014 season. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Making Marcus Mariota the second overall pick in 2015

A ton of anticipation of what could happen is what made this moment special. The Buccaneers took Jameis Winston with the first overall pick, but they never tipped their hand throughout the process. Mariota was coming off a Heisman Trophy-winning season with rare athleticism and accuracy, but there were questions about whether the Titans would take a QB many believed wasn't "pro ready" or choose a top position player like Amari Cooper. There were also a lot of rumors that then-Eagles head coach Chip Kelly would trade up to pick Mariota, whom Kelly coached during his redshirt freshman season at Oregon. Ultimately, the Titans stayed put, selecting Mariota to be their franchise QB. Eagles fans were upset. Titans fans were pumped. The lack of a move, and subsequent Mariota pick, changed the trajectory of both franchises, ultimately for the better. -- Cameron Wolfe


Denver Broncos

Dealing for John Elway a week after the 1983 draft

The team's most memorable draft moment didn't come from a player the Broncos selected or even on draft weekend. But in the franchise's storied history -- which includes eight Super Bowl appearances and three wins -- Elway's arrival, which came by trade days after the 1983 draft, will always be the pivotal draft moment. The Baltimore Colts had selected Elway with the No. 1 pick of the 1983 draft, but Elway's father, Jack, had no love lost for Colts coach Frank Kush, and Elway had some legitimate interest from the Yankees as some very public leverage, so Colts general manager Ernie Accorsi dealt Elway to the Broncos in a late-night deal the week following the draft for offensive lineman Chris Hinton, backup quarterback Mark Hermann and the Broncos' first-round pick for the following year. The Colts eventually took Ron Solt with that 1984 first-round pick. While Hinton went on to be named to the Pro Bowl at three different positions in his career and Solt topped 100 games in his career with the Colts, Elway became the player franchises always dream of but rarely find. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

Having the No. 1 pick in 2013 with no franchise QB available

After six seasons with starters such as Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn, the Chiefs were in need of a franchise QB in the worst way when they had the top overall pick for the first and only time in franchise history. But one year after Andrew Luck was available and two after Cam Newton, there was no QB in the draft worthy of such a pick. The Chiefs settled for an offensive tackle, Eric Fisher, who is still with Kansas City but also hasn't proved worthy of being the first overall choice. -- Adam Teicher

Los Angeles Chargers

Eli Manning holding up a Chargers jersey at the 2004 draft

The Manning family made it public that the Ole Miss quarterback did not want to play for the Chargers, so Eli Manning holding up a blue and gold jersey with a forced smile after the Chargers made him the No. 1 overall selection in 2004 was one of the most awkward moments in NFL draft history. Of course, the Chargers would go on to trade Manning to the Giants for Philip Rivers after they selected Rivers at No. 4, along with three other selections that turned into linebacker Shawne Merriman, kicker Nate Kaeding and tackle Roman Oben. Manning went on to win two Super Bowls with the Giants but was booed by San Diegans the two times he played at Qualcomm Stadium and is 0-4 all time against the Chargers. -- Eric D. Williams

Oakland Raiders

Drafting the right running back in 1982

The Raiders knew they wanted a running back at No. 10 in the 1982 draft, but after Darrin Nelson and Gerald Riggs were already gone, some in the draft room wanted Baylor's Walter Abercrombie. Richmond's Barry Redden came up. Others wanted the reigning Heisman Trophy winner out of USC, Marcus Allen. As Tom Flores tells it, the Allen camp had to call Al Davis on a pay phone in Los Angeles, where he was in court trying to move the team to L.A., to get him to sign off on the pick. Allen, upon receiving the phone call himself, threw up a newspaper in celebration, exclaiming, "I'm an Oakland Raider!" The Raiders moved to Southern California and Allen turned into what many believe is the greatest Raider of all time -- with 1982 Rookie of the Year, Super Bowl XVIII MVP and 1985 NFL MVP honors on top of being elected to the Hall of Fame -- even with Allen's legendary feud with Davis. -- Paul Gutierrez


Dallas Cowboys

Drafting their third Hall of Famer in as many years in 1990

The Cowboys got their Hall of Fame wide receiver in 1988 with Michael Irvin. They added their Hall of Fame quarterback in 1989 with Troy Aikman. Then they got their Hall of Fame running back in 1990 with Emmitt Smith at 17th overall. And they were lucky. Leading into the 1990 draft, Jimmy Johnson had eyes for linebacker James Francis, who went to Cincinnati at No. 12. Smith became the NFL's all-time leading rusher, a mark that might stand forever given the way the game is played now. From 1991 until 2001, Smith ran for more than 1,000 yards and helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls. While Smith's selection is remembered because of his greatness, the brown and yellow jumpsuit he wore to his introductory media conference remains a classic as well. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

Trading for quarterback Eli Manning in 2004

It was known coming in that Manning was trying to orchestrate his way to the Giants. But he was ultimately selected No. 1 overall by the Chargers, and it made for an awkward onstage moment afterward. It wasn't until the Giants selected Philip Rivers at No. 4 that the trade was made and the Giants got the franchise quarterback they desired. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

Fans booing the selection of Donovan McNabb in 1999

Leading up to that draft, a local radio station pushed for the Eagles to take running back Ricky Williams with the No. 2 overall pick. It bused a large group of listeners to New York to watch the NFL draft live, and when Philadelphia selected McNabb instead, boos rained down. That got the relationship between McNabb and the city off to a rocky start -- a relationship that remains complicated to this day, even though McNabb went on to be the most productive quarterback in Eagles history. -- Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

Trading down for a load of draft capital in 1999

Robert Griffin III was the most anticipated draft pick in franchise history, but the most memorable moment came when the Redskins were the recipients of a bold (or dumb?) move by New Orleans, which traded eight picks to Washington for the fifth overall choice in the 1999 draft. The Redskins used that draft capital to move back into the first round, drafting corner Champ Bailey at No. 7 -- the player they wanted all along. Washington then used its future bounty from New Orleans to select three-time second-team All-Pro linebacker LaVar Arrington at No. 2 in the 2000 draft, then to trade up to get six-time Pro Bowl tackle Chris Samuels at No. 3. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

Trading up one spot to draft Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 in 2017

Most believed that the Bears would draft a quarterback last year, but few -- if any -- foresaw them doing so in the top three. The Bears' pursuit of Trubisky was so clandestine that virtually no one inside their own building -- outside of general manager Ryan Pace and a handful of his top lieutenants -- knew Chicago planned to select Trubisky, who had started only 13 games at North Carolina, until the exact moment the Bears turned in their official draft card. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Selecting wide receivers in four of five years during the Matt Millen era

It led to a decade's worth of jokes about Detroit always taking receivers in the first round of the draft. Of those four receivers, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams were gigantic busts, Roy Williams was OK and then Calvin Johnson became one of the best players in franchise history before retiring in his prime at age 30. It's brought up because of who Detroit could have picked in their places: Andre Johnson or Terence Newman in 2003, DeAngelo Hall or Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, then DeMarcus Ware in 2006. Even though it has been a decade, thinking of taking a receiver in the first round still causes a segment of the fan base to shudder. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers falling to the Packers in 2005

Ted Thompson knew that at some point he would be charged with finding the next Brett Favre. He had no idea that he'd get that chance in his first-ever draft as the Packers general manager in 2005. Still, Thompson did his due diligence, studying the top quarterbacks on the off chance one became available when he picked at No. 24. But with one of the top two QBs sure to go to the 49ers at No. 1, Thompson recalled in an interview last year: "There's only two. How is either of them going to get to us? And the one we want, how is he going to get to us?" Just days before the draft, it looked like the 49ers would take Rodgers, and that would be that as far as the Packers were concerned. But when San Francisco picked Alex Smith and Rodgers' draft free fall began, it was a no-brainer to Thompson to take the quarterback who would successfully follow Favre. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Mismanaging the draft clock in 2002 (and 2003)

In 2002, Minnesota was on the clock in the first round when the Chiefs beat them to a trade with the Cowboys to land defensive tackle Ryan Sims with the sixth overall pick. The Vikings ended up with offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, which worked out well, but issues arose with the clock the following year, leading them to miss out on yet another player they wanted. In 2003, Jacksonville and Carolina, who were drafting seventh and eighth respectively, took advantage of Minnesota failing to make a pick while on the clock, leaving the Vikings to select defensive tackle Kevin Williams ninth overall. Both McKinnie and Williams went on to become Pro Bowlers, so the Vikings might have gotten the last laugh in the long run, but that time management snafu is one of the more memorable gaffes in draft history. -- Courtney Cronin


Atlanta Falcons

Trading up to draft Julio Jones at No. 6 in 2011

The Falcons traded away five draft picks to the Browns -- including the 27th overall pick that year -- to select the game-changing wide receiver. The Browns also picked up the Falcons' second- and fourth-round picks in that draft and first- and fourth-round picks in 2012. "It took me by surprise," Jones said immediately following the trade. "I feel like they have a lot of trust in me. I'm not going to disappoint." Jones, with four consecutive seasons of 1,400-plus yards, is arguably the most dangerous threat in the game -- when healthy. And although some criticize the Falcons for voiding themselves of some depth, general manager Thomas Dimitroff never publicly expressed regret even though friend Bill Belichick advised him not to make the trade, according to author Michael Holley in his book "War Room." -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Trading for more capital in 2007

This one gets overlooked among the selections of Julius Peppers second overall in 2002 and Cam Newton first overall in 2011. But in 2007, the Panthers traded their first- (No. 14) and sixth-round picks to the Jets in exchange for New York's first-, second- and fifth-round picks. They got linebacker Jon Beason at No. 25 and center Ryan Kalil at No. 59 in the second round. Beason went on to become a three-time Pro Bowl selection and Kalil a five-time Pro Bowl selection. Beason was a mainstay in the lineup until an Achilles injury ended his 2011 season. And then, of course, the Panthers took Luke Kuechly in the first round of the 2012 draft and the rest is history with him. But Kalil will go down as one of the greatest offensive linemen in team history, if not the greatest. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Trading every pick to move up and draft Ricky Williams in 1999

Is there an easier choice on this entire list? The Saints' decision to trade all of their 1999 draft picks and their first- and third-round picks in 2000 to move from No. 12 to No. 5 for Williams remains one of the most infamous draft moments in NFL history. Coach Mike Ditka was so all-in on the move that he showed up wearing Williams' signature dreadlocks at a fan fest the next day and posed as the groom next to Williams in a wedding dress on an unforgettable ESPN The Magazine cover. The move didn't quite work out, since Williams battled injuries as a rookie and Ditka wound up getting fired after a 3-13 season. But Williams did go on to have two 1,000-yard seasons with the Saints before being traded to the Dolphins for two first-round picks. And he finished his eventful 12-year career with more than 10,000 rushing yards. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gerald McCoy hugging Roger Goodell in 2010

McCoy didn't just provide the most memorable moment in Bucs draft history, he started a movement across the entire league. When McCoy's name was announced as the third overall pick in 2010, he greeted Roger Goodell, who was expecting a handshake, with a full-on bear hug. Anyone who knows the six-time Pro Bowler will tell you that it was vintage McCoy. That's just who he is. McCoy will tell you that it was because he was so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. Now it's become a draft day tradition for players to hug the commish. -- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

Tyrann Mathieu's emotional selection in 2013

When the Cardinals went on the clock with the 69th pick in the third round of the 2013 draft, Mathieu was still sitting at his New Orleans watch party, waiting to get picked. That's when the Cardinals took a chance on the player who became a fan favorite, even though injuries were a common liability throughout his tenure with Arizona. But the emotion of Mathieu getting passed over for two full rounds and the first six picks of the third round before he was drafted made his selection memorable. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

Moving up 14 spots to select their franchise QB at No. 1 in 2016

Sam Bradford's inability to stay healthy prompted the Rams to have major issues at this position for years. But in 2016, they were moving back to L.A. and needed a major move to solidify the position long-term and get the fans excited. They did that by moving all the way to the top of the draft and ultimately selecting Jared Goff out of Cal with the first overall pick. That 2016 season went miserably, with Goff struggling while two other quarterbacks in his draft class, Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott, outshined him. But the Rams experienced a major resurgence under first-year head coach Sean McVay in 2017, going 11-5 while leading the NFL in points. Now they look like the NFL's most exciting team. And it all started with a bold move leading up to the 2016 draft. -- Alden Gonzalez

San Francisco 49ers

Trading up to take Jerry Rice at No. 16 in 1985

The Niners dealt picks in each of the first three rounds to the Patriots to move up from No. 28 to No. 16 and also received New England's third-round pick. They coveted a wide receiver, with Al Toon, Eddie Brown and Rice as the consensus top three. With Toon and Brown off the board by No. 13, coach Bill Walsh determined he needed to get ahead of the rival Cowboys, who held the 17th pick, to get the wideout he coveted. As Walsh wrote in his book "Building a Champion," he saw Rice, then at tiny Mississippi Valley State, on highlights late at night before a game against Houston and was instantly smitten. In the moment, many wondered how a wideout from such a small school with such an underwhelming 40-yard-dash time (around 4.7 seconds) would prove worthy of such a bold trade. Rice, of course, went on to set every meaningful receiving record in league history and serve as one of the focal points of three Super Bowl teams. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

Nailing the 2012 draft with a franchise-altering haul of players

It wasn't just memorable because of what that class produced, but also because of how roundly the Seahawks were panned after making defensive end Bruce Irvin, linebacker Bobby Wagner and quarterback Russell Wilson their first three selections. Irvin (15th overall pick) didn't get a second contract from Seattle but was still a productive player who had 22 sacks over his four seasons with the Seahawks, including a franchise rookie record of eight in 2012. Wagner (47th) has been a first-team All-Pro three times and is a centerpiece of Seattle's defense. Wilson (75th), perhaps the greatest draft pick in franchise history, helped the Seahawks win their first Super Bowl and has consistently played at an MVP-caliber level. That draft also produced two other starters in nickelback Jeremy Lane (sixth round) and guard J.R. Sweezy (seventh). Not bad for a class that no one outside of the Seahawks' draft room seemed to like at first. -- Brady Henderson