The highest accolade any player can achieve on an individual basis in football is membership in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This exclusive club features players who have changed the fortunes of the league or their team, and even both. It includes men who excelled at a level few ever reach. It even includes one of a kind players who accomplish things that will never be seen again.
The NFL Draft began in 1936 as a fair way to disperse the talent from the college football ranks to NFL teams as those players choose to move on to pro football. The bulk of the players that make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame do enter the pro through the NFL Draft. Here is a look at some interesting facts surrounding Hall of Fame players and the NFL Draft.
-In 1974, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted four players that would eventually make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: 1st Round – Lynn Swann, 2nd Round – Jack Lambert, 4th Round – John Stallworth, and 5th Round – Mike Webster.
-There was no NFL Draft held in 1943, this was due the labor shortage caused by World War II.
-Len Dawson made the Hall of Fame as the great Kansas City Chiefs quarterback of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Johnny Unitas made the Hall of Fame as one of the best quarterbacks ever, leading the Baltimore Colts from the late 1950’s to the early 1970’s. Both men were originally drafted by another team though, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unitas in the 9th round in 1955 and Dawsn in the first round in 1957.
-No player has made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and been selected lower in the NFL Draft than offensive tackle Roosevelt “Rosey” Brown. The New York Giants selected him in 1953 in the 27th round with the 321st overall pick.
-The most eventual Hall of Famers chosen in one draft was ten. This happened in 1964. The players drafted that year were offensive lineman Bob Brown, running back Charley Taylor, defensive lineman Carl Eller, wide receiver Paul Warfield, defensive back Mel Renfro, defensive back Paul Krause, defensive lineman Dave Wilcox, wide receiver Bob Hayes, running back Leroy Kelly, and quarterback Roger Staubach.
-The longest last name any player chosen in the NFL Draft and making it into the Hall of Fame is 13 letters. Two players are tied with this mark: Alex Wojciechowicz, drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1938 and Joe Delamielleure, drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1973. Wojciechowicz wins the tie breaker though as his first name is one letter longer than Delamielleure’s.
-As of the year 2010, and not including any draft year after 1990 as many of those players are still playing or are not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame, there have only been three years when no eventual Hall of Famer was taken in the NFL Draft. Those years were 1943, 1984, and 1986.
-Since 1936, fifteen players drafted with the number one overall pick have ended up being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.