There have been 85 players selected with the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Typically, the 8th pick belongs to a team that finished outside of the playoff picture the previous season. But, as you'll see below, several players picked 8th overall quickly helped take their new team from the outhouse to the penthouse.
We're breaking down the best draft picks of all time at each spot from 32-1. The entire rundown can be found at our hub of all-time selections. This year, the Panthers own the No. 8 pick, and here's how our draft writers see Carolina using the pick, including several going with former Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, who would be asked to help protect Sam Darnold and create a path for Christian McCaffrey.
Speaking of McCaffrey, he is one of the notable players who missed the cut of the top-five players ever picked with the 8th overall pick. Other talented No. 8 picks who missed the cut include receivers Plaxico Burress (2000) and Joey Galloway (1995), defensive end Greg Ellis (1998), linebacker James Farrior (1997), linebacker/defensive end Leslie O'Neal (1986), offensive tackle Bob Whitfield (1992), and running back Ottis Anderson (1979).
Here are the five players (as well as an honorable mention) that did make the cut as the best players ever taken with the No. 8 overall pick.
Honorable mention: Mike Munchak, G
1982 NFL Draft: Round 1, No. 8
Teams: Oilers (1982-93)
One of the best offensive lineman of his era, Munchak earned nine Pro Bowls and two All-Pro nods from 1984-93. A member of the NFL's All-1980s Team, Munchak was an integral part of the Oilers' "run and shoot" offense that featured quarterback Warren Moon and receivers Haywood Jeffires, Drew Hill and Ernest Givins. Munchak was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
5. Larry Csonka, RB
Csonka was the engine that fueled the offense of the NFL's only perfect team. A Pro Bowler each season from 1970-74, Csonka helped Miami post a 65-15-1 overall record over that span. The MVP of Super Bowl VIII, Csonka rushed for a 257 yards and two touchdowns in Miami's consecutive Super Bowl wins over Washington and Minnesota. Csonka, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987, remains the Dolphins' all-time career rushing leader.
4. Willie Roaf, OT
A member of the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, Roaf was also an All-Decade performer in two different decades. A Pro Bowler each season from 1994-05, Roaf's blocking helped the Saints capture their first ever playoff victory in 2000. One of the greatest left tackles in NFL history, Roaf continued to have success after signing with the Chiefs in 2002. His blocking helped pave the way for Priest Holmes, who led the league in rushing touchdowns during Roaf's first two seasons in Kansas City. Roaf's influence was felt throughout the Chiefs' offense, as Kansas City finished first, first, second, and sixth in the league in scoring during his four seasons with the Chiefs. Roaf was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
3. Jim Parker, OL
1957 NFL Draft: Round 1, No. 8
Team: Colts (1957-67)
One of the anchors of the Colts' powerful offense, Parker earned All-Pro honors at both left tackle and left guard during his Hall of Fame career. Parker, who was named to the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2019, protected Johnny Unitas' blind side during the Colts' championship seasons in 1958 and '59. Along with protecting Unitas, Parker also helped open up holes for running back Lenny Moore, a fellow member of the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. An All-Pro each season from 1958-65, Parker was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973.
2. Lance Alworth, WR
Alworth, who was nicknamed Bambi for his grace on the football field, was drafted by the 49ers with the No. 8 pick in the 1962. But after being drafted by the Raiders with the 9th overall pick in that year's AFL draft, Alworth chose to play for the Chargers after he was traded from Oakland to San Diego. The decision ended up being a wise one, as Alworth flourished in Sid Gillman's innovative, pass-happy offense.
The greatest receiver in AFL history, Alworth helped lead the Chargers to the franchise's first championship in 1963. An All-Pro each year from 1968-68, Alworth led the AFL in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns three times over that span. His best season took place in 1965, when he tallied 1,602 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 23.2 yards per catch while leading the Chargers to their third conductive AFC title game.
After a successful run in San Diego, Alworth signed with the defending NFC champion Cowboys in 1971. While he was no longer a dominant player, Alworth nevertheless helped the Cowboys win the franchise's first Super Bowl. He caught one of Roger Staubach's two touchdown passes in Dallas' 24-3 win over Miami in Super Bowl VI. Seven years later, Alworth was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was named to the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2019.
1. Ronnie Lott, CB/S
1981 NFL Draft: Round 1, No. 8
Teams: 49ers (1981-90); Raiders (1991-92); Jets (1993-94)
Regarded as arguably the greatest safety in NFL history, Lott anchored a 49ers defensed that helped San Francisco capture four world championships during the 1980s. A cornerback during his first five seasons, Lott earned four Pro Bowl nods during that span while helping the 49ers win Super Bowls XVI and XIX. Lott moved over to free safety in 1986, where he earned six consecutive Pro Bowl nods (along with five All-Pro selections) while helping the 49ers close out the '80s with back-to-back Super Bowls.
Lott again switched positions after joining the Raiders in 1991. He led the NFL in interceptions (eight) during his first season as a strong safety. Lott also led the NFL in interceptions in 1986 (with 10) while pacing the league in interception returns for touchdowns during his first two seasons in Fan Francisco.
A two-time an All-Decade performer and a member of the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, Lott is tied for eighth all-time with 63 interceptions. And while his pass coverage was revered, Lott's physicality was the stuff of legend; he once had part of a finger amputated in order to avoid missing significant playing time.