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Which Teams Had the Most, Fewest No. 1 NFL Draft Picks?

The NFL Draft has come a long way since its first one in 1934. It has become an event heavily covered by NFL draft News, including the scouting combine, highlighting all the incoming players into the league.

With the NFL and the draft expanding over time and already having such a rich history, many franchises have earned the No.1 pick, which is granted to the team with the worst record from the prior season, helping level the playing field within the league.

Which Teams Had the Most, Fewest No. 1 NFL Draft Picks?
Anthony Richardson poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell | David Eulitt/Getty Images/AFP

However, because the NFL has undergone so many changes since its start, the franchises with the most first-overall picks in the draft could be surprising. Most NFL draft predictions would guess that the teams that regularly have the worst record would likely have the most first-overall picks, but that is not the case.

Some of those teams have not been in the league long enough to rack up the amount of No.1 picks compared to some of the older franchises. The opposite is true when looking at the teams with the fewest No.1 draft picks.

NFL Teams With The Most No.1 Picks

Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams – Tied At 7

The two teams tied at seven for the most No.1 picks in the NFL Draft are the Los Angeles Rams and the Indianapolis Colts. Both teams have been in the league for a long time and earned the No.1 pick when the franchise was in multiple cities.

The Rams’ tie for holding the most first-overall picks in the draft makes a lot of sense. They were founded in 1937 and have a long history in the league. The franchise had the No.1 pick in 1938, 1952, 1960, 1963, 1997, 2010, and 2015, playing as the Cleveland Rams, St. Louis Rams, and Los Angeles Rams.

While the Rams have had a lot of success, winning two championships and two Super Bowls, NFL draft odds have not always been on their side. The franchise has gone through two massive playoff droughts that contributed to the team getting first overall picks. They missed the playoffs between 1956 and 1966, then another long drought from 2005 to 2016.

 

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Similarly, the Colts have had solid success in the NFL, winning two championships and two Super Bowls. However, the Colts still earned the No.1 pick in the draft in 1955, 1967, 1983, 1990, 1992, 1998, and 2012. The franchise was only founded in 1953, making it surprising that it would have so many first-overall picks.

It is also slightly surprising that the Colts don’t have a massive playoff drought to back up their first-overall picks. However, from 1978 to 1994, the Colts only made the playoffs once (in 1987), which resulted in three of the franchise’s first-overall picks.

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NFL Teams With The Fewest No.1 Picks

New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs – Tied at 1

Right away, one team stands out that does not seem to match the rest: the New York Jets. Since being founded in 1960, they have only made one Super Bowl and managed to win it.

Despite that, the Jets have only earned the 1st round draft pick once, in 1996. What makes that even more surprising is that out of all these teams, the Jets have the worst franchise record, with a winning percentage of 43.9%.

The next lowest team is the New Orleans Saints, with a winning percentage of 46.8%. Their only first NFL draft pick came in 1981, with the franchise playing its first season in 1967. The Saints have become a more reliable team than the Jets, but started without making the playoffs till 1987, struggling for a long time.

On the other hand, it makes sense that the Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, and Kansas City Chiefs only have one first-overall pick in the NFL draft. All three franchises have been pretty reliable and successful. The Dolphins have had tough patches but a long history of success. The same can be said about the Raiders, who have won three Super Bowls. The Chiefs have been a staple in the playoffs since 1990, with their longest playoff drought being only five seasons. All three teams are also in the league’s top half regarding franchise winning percentage.

Finally, the Los Angeles Chargers are somewhat of a surprise. While the franchise has never won a Super Bowl, it did win an AFL Championship. They are often a team that is never good enough to win it all but never bad enough to completely rebuild its roster, which rarely puts it in the position to have the first-overall pick.

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