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NFL

Which teams have picked first most times in the history of the NFL draft?

The first overall pick in the NFL draft can reform an ailing franchise so the eyes of the football world are on the likely candidates and where they will go

Jeffrey May
Update:
The first overall pick in the NFL draft can reform an ailing franchise so the eyes of the football world are on the likely candidates and where they will go
Justin CasterlineAFP

The 2022 NFL Draft will kick off, for the second year running, with the first overall pick being held by the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is a coveted spot in the NFL yearly proceedings, and goes a long way toward dulling the pain of having finished dead last the previous season.

While there are a few teams that seem to be perennially at the bottom of the table, it is interesting to note that the first overall pick in the draft is pretty evenly distributed amongst NFL teams.

The Indianapolis Colts and the Los Angeles Rams are tied for first place with seven first picks apiece. Following behind them are three teams on five first picks each, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cleveland Browns, and the Arizona Cardinals.

Although it is the dream scenario to believe that first overall pick can turn the fortunes of a franchise around to the extent that they follow it up with a Super Bowl win, that has actually never happened. Three teams have gone from first pick to the Super Bowl but all have fallen at the final hurdle. The Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X, and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.

Here are a full list of first picks:

TEAMFIRST OVERALL PICKS
Indianapolis Colts7
Los Angeles Rams7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers5
Cleveland Browns5
Arizona Cardinals5
Detroit Lions4
Atlanta Falcons4
Buffalo Bills4
Cincinnati Bengals4
New England Patriots4
Philadelphia Eagles3
Pittsburgh Steelers3
San Francisco 49ers3
Dallas Cowboys3
Houston Texans3
Chicago Bears2
Boston Yanks*2
Washington Commanders2
New York Giants2
Green Bay Packers2
Minnesota Vikings2
Tennessee Titans2
Jacksonville Jaguars2
New Orleans Saints1
New York Jets1
Los Angeles Chargers1
Las Vegas Raiders1
Miami Dolphins1
Carolina Panthers1
Kansas City Chiefs1

*The Boston Yanks are the only defunct team to have had a first overall pick.

Most often selected are quarterbacks and running backs, with those two positions accounting for 57 years of the 86 years that the draft has been held. The only defensive back that has ever gone number one overall was Gary Glick in 1956 who was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers. No kicker has ever been taken first, with Sebastian Janikowski the highest when he was taken by the Radiers at 17th overall in 2000.

POSITIONFIRST OVERALL PICKS
Quarterbacks34
Running backs23
Defensive linemen15
Offensive linemen6
Wide receivers/ends 5
Linebackers 4
Defensive backs 1
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