In recent weeks, Bleacher Report has been re-drafting many of the previous NFL drafts in hindsight. While they are enjoyable to read, I thought about how much more challenging it would be to re-draft an entire decade.

After doing a two-round draft of every player eligible to be drafted in the 1990s, let’s now do the same for the 1980s. Since there are currently 32 teams, there will be 32 players selected in each round.

Many will disagree with how this is ordered, and it’s understandable. There are truly a lot of game-changing players so to place them in an order via a draft was far from easy.

Forty-two of the 64 players drafted are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and one wasn’t even included (kicker Morten Andersen).

Many players who weren’t in the re-draft were heavily considered. Some of those include Morten Andersen, Jay Hilgenberg, Mark Duper, Mark Clayton, Boomer Esiason, Eugene Robinson, Jessie Tuggle, Ken Norton, Tim McDonald, Henry Thomas, Hardy Nickerson, Andre Rison, Albert Lewis, Joey Browner, Irving Fryar, Nate Newton, Deron Cherry, Jim Everett, Bernie Kosar, Bruce Armstrong, Vinny Testaverde, Carnell Lake, Bill Romanowski, Steve McMichael, Clyde Simmons, Seth Joyner, and many others.

(Due to a character limit, blurbs on second-round picks were omitted. All stats listed were taken from Pro Football Reference.)


  • 1. Jerry Rice, WR (1985 - 16th overall)

Rice is the all-time leader in a multitude of categories including receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895), and receiving touchdowns (197).

He won three Super Bowls with the 49ers, twice was named Offensive Player of the Year, and was a ten-time First-Team All-Pro.

  • 2. John Elway, QB (1983 - 1st overall)

Named the league’s MVP in 1987, Elway led the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl victories in his last two seasons (was Super Bowl MVP in the second). He went a stellar 148-82-1 as a starting quarterback and threw 300 touchdown passes.

  • 3. Dan Marino, QB (1983 - 27th overall)

In his historic career, Marino led the league in passing yards five times and led the league in passing touchdowns three times. In his 17-year career (all with the Dolphins), the 1984 MVP totaled 61,361 passing yards and 420 passing touchdowns.

  • 4. Lawrence Taylor, LB (1981 - 2nd overall)

When he was named MVP in 1986, Taylor became only the second defensive player to receive the honors (nobody else has done it since).

He was a First-Team All-Pro in each of his first six seasons (and eight of his first nine) and had double-digit sack totals for seven straight years from 1984-90.

  • 5. Reggie White, DE (1984 - 4th overall in supplemental)

A two-time Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and 1998, White is second on the all-time list with 198 sacks. In 15 NFL seasons, he was named a Pro Bowler 13 times, a First-Team All-Pro eight times, and a Super Bowl champion with the Packers.

  • 6. Barry Sanders, RB (1989 - 3rd overall)

If Sanders had played more than 10 seasons, he’d have a case to be even higher. He was twice the Offensive Player of the Year, won MVP in 1997, rushed for 99.8 yards per game for his career (second to Jim Brown), and was named a Pro Bowler in every season he played.

  • 7. Bruce Smith, DE (1985 - 1st overall)

The all-time leader in sacks with an even 200, Smith was the 1990 and 1996 Defensive Player of the Year. In 13 of his 19 seasons, he had a double-digit sack total with a career-high of 19 in 1990.

  • 8. Ronnie Lott, CB/S (1981 - 8th overall)

One of the hardest hitters in the secondary, Lott won four Super Bowls with the 49ers and was named a Pro Bowler in 10 of his first 11 seasons. His 63 career interceptions are tied for the eighth-most in league history.

  • 9. Anthony Muñoz, OT (1980 - 3rd overall)

In his 13-year career, Muñoz proved himself to be one of the best offensive linemen that the game has ever seen. Named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1980s First Team, he earned nine First-Team All-Pro nods from 1981-90.

  • 10. Deion Sanders, CB (1989 - 5th overall)

One of the all-time great shutdown corners, Sanders was the 1994 Defensive Player of the Year. He was a back-to-back Super Bowl winner with different teams (1994 with 49ers, 1995 with Cowboys), intercepted 53 passes, and was a six-time First-Team All-Pro.

  • 11. Bruce Matthews, G/C (1983 - 9th overall)

Matthews received 14 Pro Bowl nods in his 19 NFL seasons, all spent with the Oilers/Titans franchise. That is tied for the most times named to the game with four other players (Merlin Olsen, Tony Gonzalez, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning).

  • 12. Rod Woodson, CB/S (1987 - 10th overall)

In 1993, Woodson was named Defensive Player of the Year in a year that he intercepted eight passes.

Altogether, the six-time First-Team All-Pro picked off 71 passes which is the third-most in league history.

  • 13. Mike Singletary, LB (1981 - 38th overall)

A two-time Defensive Player of the Year (1985 and 1988), Singletary was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his last 10 seasons. He made the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1980s First Team and was a major part of some historic Bears’ defenses, including the one that won the Super Bowl in the 1985 season.

  • 14. Steve Young, QB (1984 - 1st overall in supplemental)

The list of accolades for Young includes two MVP awards (1992 and 1994) and being the starting quarterback for the 49ers’ Super Bowl victory in the 1994 season. He led the league in passer rating six times and completion percentage five different years.

  • 15. Derrick Thomas, LB (1989 - 4th overall)

Starting his career as the 1989 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Thomas became a feared pass rusher from the get-go. He led the league with 20 sacks in 1990 and accumulated 126.5 over his 11 seasons.

  • 16. Eric Dickerson, RB (1983 - 2nd overall)

It was a magical 1984 season for Dickerson as his 2,105 rushing yards on the year are still a single-season record. That was one of four years in which he led the NFL in rushing yards, and he totaled 13,259 for his career.

  • 17. Randall McDaniel, G (1988 - 19th overall)

Named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1990s First Team, McDaniel missed only two games in his 14-year career (both coming in 1989). He was named a Pro Bowler 12 times and was a seven-time First-Team All-Pro.

  • 18. Chris Doleman, DE (1985 - 4th overall)

Only four players in NFL history have sacked the quarterback more times than Doleman who finished his career with 150.5. His 44 forced fumbles also place him in a tie for sixth-most in league history.

  • 19. Cris Carter, WR (1987 - 4th round, 3rd pick in supplemental draft)

Carter was named to the Pro Bowl every year from 1993-2000, a stretch in which he averaged 97.4 catches for 1,182 yards, and 11.3 touchdowns. His 130 touchdown receptions place him fourth all-time.

  • 20. Darrell Green, CB (1983 - 28th overall)

Playing a remarkable 20 seasons (all with the Redskins), Green’s 295 appearances are the most by any defensive player. He was a member of two Super Bowl-winning teams and made seven Pro Bowls.

  • 21. Troy Aikman, QB (1989 - 1st overall)

The starting quarterback on the dominant Cowboys teams of the 1990s, Aikman helped guide them to three Super Bowl wins (was Super Bowl MVP of the first). He was named to six straight Pro Bowls from 1991-96.

  • 22. Michael Irvin, WR (1988 - 11th overall)

On the same three Super Bowl champion teams as Aikman, Irvin finished his career with 750 catches for 11,904 yards. His 1,523 receiving yards in 1991 led the league.

  • 23. Jim Kelly, QB (1983 - 14th overall)

While the Bills weren’t able to win any, Kelly led the Bills to four straight Super Bowls in the 1990-93 seasons. He was a First-Team All-Pro in 1991 when he led the league in touchdown throws and also led in passer rating and completion percentage in 1990.

  • 24. Rickey Jackson, LB (1981 - 51st overall)

Finishing with at least 11 sacks in six seasons, Jackson had 128 over his 14-year career. He made six Pro Bowls (including four straight from 1983-86) and won a Super Bowl with the 49ers in the 1994 season.

  • 25. Thurman Thomas, RB (1988 - 40th overall)

On those same AFC champion teams as Kelly, Thomas was the MVP in 1991 when he rushed for 1,407 yards and added another 631 in receiving. He went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for eight straight years from 1989-96.

  • 26. Gary Zimmerman, OT (1984 - 3rd overall in supplemental)

Zimmerman was one of the game’s premier left tackles during his tenure and played in all 16 games in nine of his 12 seasons. He won a Super Bowl with the Broncos and was named to seven Pro Bowls.

  • 27. Mike Munchak, G (1982 - 8th overall)

Munchak was named to the Pro Bowl in nine of his last 10 seasons and was a First-Team All-Pro in 1987 and 1991. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

  • 28. Tim Brown, WR (1988 - 6th overall)

From 1993 until 2001, Brown finished each season with at least 76 receptions and 1,012 receiving yards. In NFL history, he ranks seventh all-time in both career receptions (1,094) and receiving yards (14,934).

  • 29. Marcus Allen, RB (1982 - 10th overall)

The 1985 MVP, Allen was also named the Super Bowl MVP in the 1983 season as the Raiders defeated the Redskins. Only Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson have scored more times on the ground than Allen who had 123 rushing touchdowns.

  • 30. Dermontti Dawson, C (1988 - 44th overall)

Dawson started every game at center for the Steelers for 10 straight years spanning from 1989-98. For six consecutive seasons from 1993-98, he was a First-Team All-Pro.

  • 31. Kevin Greene, LB (1985 - 113th overall)

The leader in sacks in both 1994 and 1996, Greene finished with 160 for his career which is the third-most all-time. He had a double-digit total in that department in 10 of his last 12 seasons.

  • 32. Andre Reed, WR (1985 - 86th overall)

The third player on here to be a part of all four Bills Super Bowl appearances, Reed earned Pro Bowl nods for seven straight years from 1988-94. He ended his career with more than 13,000 receiving yards.


  • 33. Dwight Stephenson, C (1980 - 48th overall)
  • 34. Richard Dent, DE (1983 - 203rd overall)
  • 35. Howie Long, DE (1981 - 48th overall)
  • 36. Art Monk, WR (1980 - 18th overall)
  • 37. Andre Tippett, LB (1982 - 41st overall)
  • 38. Steve Atwater, S (1989 - 20th overall)
  • 39. Charles Haley, DE (1986 - 96th overall)
  • 40. Steve Wisniewski, G (1989 - 29th overall)
  • 41. Sam Mills, LB (1981 - undrafted)
  • 42. Sterling Sharpe, WR (1988 - 7th overall)
  • 43. Russ Grimm, G (1981 - 69th overall)
  • 44. Roger Craig, RB (1983 - 49th overall)
  • 45. Karl Mecklenburg, LB (1983 - 310th overall)
  • 46. Kenny Easley, S (1981 - 4th overall)
  • 47. Eric Allen, CB (1988 - 30th overall)
  • 48. Pat Swilling, LB (1986 - 60th overall)
  • 49. Wilber Marshall, LB (1984 - 11th overall)
  • 50. Lomas Brown, OT (1985 - 6th overall)
  • 51. Jimbo Covert, OT (1983 - 6th overall)
  • 52. Henry Ellard, WR (1983 - 32nd overall)
  • 53. Randall Cunningham, QB (1985 - 37th overall)
  • 54. Rich Gannon, QB (1987 - 98th overall)
  • 55. Neil Smith, DE (1988 - 2nd overall)
  • 56. Leslie O’Neal, DE/LB (1986 - 8th overall)
  • 57. Greg Lloyd, LB (1987 - 150th overall)
  • 58. Chris Hinton, OT/G (1983 - 4th overall)
  • 59. Ray Childress, DE/DT (1985 - 3rd overall)
  • 60. Michael Dean Perry, DT (1988 - 50th overall)
  • 61. Gary Clark, WR (1984 - 55th overall)
  • 62. Everson Walls, CB (1981 - undrafted)
  • 63. Joe Jacoby, OT (1981 - undrafted)
  • 64. Cornelius Bennett, LB (