10 Fun Facts to Spice Up Your NFL Draft Knowledge

The Trade Up for Elway 

Remember John Elway's iconic "I'm outta here!" statement? Drafted 1st overall by the Baltimore Colts in 1983, Elway refused to play for them, eventually forcing a trade to his preferred Denver Broncos. This bold move by a rookie forever altered draft day drama. 

Mr. Irrelevant No More 

The last pick in the draft is traditionally nicknamed "Mr. Irrelevant." But don't be fooled by the title! Plenty of "Mr. Irrelevants" have carved out successful careers, like kicker Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played for 17 seasons after being the final pick in 2005. 

From Lawyer to Legend 

Tom Brady wasn't always the GOAT. Believe it or not, the future NFL legend was drafted a surprising 199th overall in 2000 by the New England Patriots. Talk about a steal! 

The Height of the Matter 

While quarterbacks are often the talk of the draft, the tallest player ever drafted wasn't a passer. In 2003, the Houston Texans selected defensive lineman Yao Ming (yes, the same Yao Ming!) at 7'6", though he ultimately pursued a legendary basketball career. 

Twice Drafted, Never Played  

Strangely enough, a player can be drafted by two different teams in the same year! The bizarre situation occurred in 1936, with Jay Berwanger drafted by both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears. He ultimately chose a different career path altogether. 

The OG Draft Pick 

The very first NFL Draft pick in history belongs to Jay Berwanger (mentioned above) in 1936.  However, he never played a single down in the NFL, opting for a career in professional baseball instead 

Dog Days of the Draft

Believe it or not, some teams have drafted actual canine companions! In 1999, the Green Bay Packers selected a golden retriever named Buddy to be their "official mascot." 

Draft Day Double Duty 

In 2018, the Dallas Cowboys made history by drafting identical twin brothers, Leighton and Blake Vander Esch, in the first round. The talented linebackers became the first twins drafted in the first round since 2002. 

The Shortest Wonder 

At just 5'7", running back Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers holds the record for the shortest player ever drafted in the first round (1971). He defied expectations with a stellar career, proving size isn't everything on the gridiron. 

Draft Day Declarations 

The draft isn't just about selecting players. It can also be a platform for social messages. In 2020, several players used their draft selections to raise awareness about social justice issues.