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Best NFL Player Drafted in Each of the First Round Slots

The NFL Draft is just about a month away and there are countless mock drafts that will speculate where certain players will fall. Some people concern themselves with the top of the draft most years, thinking that the only potentially great players are selected in the top 10, while the others are often seen as developmental prospects. That hasn’t been the case throughout the years, though.

Even if your team is drafting a little farther down the board in the first round, there is still a chance of getting a Hall of Fame or Pro Bowl player. Today we want to take a look at the best players that were drafted with each slot in the first 32 overall picks.

There have only been 32 picks in the first round since 2002 (and there are only 31 this year thanks to the Patriots), so there are  technically some second rounders at the bottom of the list. Regardless here are the best players for each draft position, starting with a certain Sheriff that just hung up his cleats.

32 Peyton Manning

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

31 Lawrence Taylor

via nfl.com

30 Barry Sanders

via nfl.com

29 Walter Payton

via nfl.com

28 LaDainian Tomlinson

via quotesgram.com

27 Jim Brown

via sportingnews.com

26 Adrian Peterson

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

25 Ronnie Lott

via nfl.com

24 Bruce Matthews

via nfl.com

23 Marcus Allen

via talkoffamenetwork.com

22 Michael Irvin

via espncdn.com

21 Warren Sapp

via abcactionnews.com

20 Tony Gonzalez

via zimbio.com

19 Jim Kelly

via nfl.com

18 Alan Page

via nfl.com

17 Jerry Rice

via mattwaldmanrsp.com

16 Emmitt Smith

via insidethestar.com

15 Art Monk

via blog.redskins.com

14 Marvin Harrison

via nfl.com

13 Jack Youngblood

via espn.go.com

12 Randy Moss

via boston.com

11 Andre Rison

via alchetron.com

10 Ozzie Newsome

via cleveland.com

9 Aaron Rodgers

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

8 Ted Washington

via bleacherreport.com

7 Ray Lewis 

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

6 Dan Marino

via imageevent.com

5 Darrell Green

via en.wikipedia.org

4 Steve Wisniewski

via nfl.com

3 Reggie Wayne

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2 Tommy McDonald

via theonlyblogthatmatters.com

1 Drew Brees

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

In the final year before there were 32 selections in the first round, Drew Brees was taken with the first pick of the second round by the Chargers in 2001 out of Purdue. Brees has been with the Saints since 2006, helping the team win their first Super Bowl championship. Brees has been a nine-time Pro Bowler that has led the league in passing yards six times, racking up 428 passing touchdowns and more than 60,000 yards.

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Best NFL Player Drafted in Each of the First Round Slots