Hall of Famer Johnny Manziel? First-rounders have best shot at Canton
If you weren't drafted in the first-round of the NFL Draft, you can probably forget about getting a bronze bust in Canton, Ohio.
Now that the NFL Draft is over, you've probably been asking yourself the same question I've been asking myself all week: Who will give Johnny Manziel's Hall of Fame induction speech?
It seems like a ridiculous question, but when you think about it, it's really not -- because someone from Johnny's draft class is going to make it to the Hall of Fame.
Since the AFL and NFL held the first combined draft in 1967 (the common draft), a total of 96 drafted players have gone on to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The last draft class to produce a Hall of Famer was the 1997 class -- this means no one drafted after 1997 has made it to the Hall of Fame yet -- so there have been a total of 31 drafts since 1967 that could have potentially produced a Hall of Fame player.
Those 31 drafts have produced a total of 96 Hall of Famers (there have also been four undrafted Hall of Famers and three Hall of Famers from the USFL supplemental draft in 1984). Of those 96, 58 were drafted in the first round (60.4 percent).
Fifty-eight players over 31 drafts averages out to about two players per draft. That's two first-round Hall of Famers per NFL Draft. Basically, if you want a bronze bust in Canton, Ohio, then you better have entered the NFL as a first-round pick.
When you hear a draftnik say that a team should "look for the next Tom Brady," that's actually even more ridiculous than it sounds because there literally is no "next Tom Brady."
When Brady inevitably reaches the Hall of Fame, he'll be the first sixth-rounder from the common draft-era to be inducted and only the second sixth-rounder ever, joining Jack Christiansen, who was drafted by the Lions in 1951. Former Broncos running back Terrell Davis could also one day join the sixth-round party. The 196th pick in the 1995 draft, Davis was one of 25 semifinalists for induction in 2014.
The seventh, eighth and ninth rounds have all produced more common-era Hall of Famers than the sixth round, which is crazy because two of those rounds (eighth and ninth) don't even exist anymore.
Two of the most notable late-round Hall of Famers are Richard Dent and Shannon Sharpe. Dent went on to have a Hall of Fame career after being an eighth-round pick of the Bears in 1983. Sharpe went on to have a Hall of Fame career after being taken in the seventh round of the 1990 draft by the Broncos.
The ninth-rounder on the chart above is safety Ken Houston, who was taken by the Oilers in the 1967 draft. The last undrafted Hall of Famer was John Randle, whose rookie year came with the Vikings in 1990.
The rule of thumb here is that a future Hall of Famer can come from almost any round, but it's most likely he'll come from the first round. Overall, 854 players have been drafted in the first round since 1967 and 58 have been enshrined in Canton (6.8 percent).
The historical average says that at least two first-rounders from the class of 2014 will eventually reach the Hall of Fame, so all things equal, Johnny Football has a 6.25 percent chance of making it. On that note, maybe we should start thinking about who's going to induct him. I say LeBron.
List of non-first round Hall of Famers drafted since 1967
Second round: Lem Barney (34th pick in 1967 by the Detroit Lions); Willie Lanier (50th pick in 1967 by the Kansas City Chiefs); Curley Culp (31st pick in 1968 to the Denver Broncos); Ted Hendricks (33rd pick in 1969 to the Baltimore Colts); Jack Ham (34th pick in 1971 to Pittsburgh Steelers); Dan Dierdorf (43rd pick in 1971 to the St. Louis Cardinals); Dave Casper (45th pick in 1974 to the Oakland Raiders); Jack Lambert (46th pick in 1974 to the Pittsburgh Steelers); Fred Dean (33rd pick in 1975 to the San Diego Chargers); Dwight Stephenson (48th pick in 1980 to the Miami Dolphins); Mike Singletary (38th pick in 1981 to the Chicago Bears); Howie Long (48th pick in 1981 to the Oakland Raiders); Rickey Jackson (51st pick in 1981 to the New Orleans Saints); Andre Tippett (41st pick in 1982 to the New England Patriots); Thurman Thomas (40th pick in 1988 to the Buffalo Bills); Dermontti Dawson (44th pick in 1988 to the Pittsburgh Steelers); Michael Strahan (40th pick in 1993 to the New York Giants); Larry Allen (46th pick in 1994 to the Dallas Cowboys).
Third round: Charlie Sanders (74th pick in 1968 by the Detroit Lions); Elvin Bethea (77th pick in 1968 by the Houston Oilers); Art Shell (80th pick in 1968 by the Oakland Raiders); Mel Blount (53rd pick in 1970 by the Pittsburgh Steelers); Dan Fouts (84th pick in 1973 by the San Diego Chargers); Jackie Slater (86th pick in 1976 by the Los Angeles Rams); Joe Montana (82nd pick in 1979 by the San Francisco 49ers); Russ Grimm (69th pick in 1981 by the Washington Redskins); Aeneas Williams (59th pick in 1991 by the Phoenix Cardinals); Curtis Martin (74th pick in 1995 by the New England Patriots).
Fourth round: Charlie Joiner (93rd pick in 1969 by the Houston Oilers); John Stallworth (82nd pick in 1974 by the Pittsburgh Steelers); Harry Carson (105th pick in 1976 by the New York Giants); Steve Largent (117th pick in 1976 by the Houston Oilers); Andre Reed (86th pick in 1985 by the Buffalo Bills).
Fifth round: Mike Webster (125th pick in 1974 by the Pittsburgh Steelers).
Sixth round: None.
Seventh round: Shannon Sharpe (192nd pick in 1990 by the Denver Broncos); Rayfield Wright (182nd pick in 1982 by the Dallas Cowboys).
Eighth round: Richard Dent (203rd overall pick in 1983 by the Chicago Bears)
Ninth round: Ken Houston (214th overall pick in 1967 by the Houston Oilers).
Undrafted: John Randle, Warren Moon, Jim Langer, Larry Little.
1984 USFL supplemental draft: Steve Young, Reggie White, Gary Zimmerman.
You can find a complete list of the 58 first-rounders here.
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