Skip to main content
Advertising | The Official Website of the Chicago Bears

Road to the Draft

Brought to you by

Fun facts about No. 1 overall pick in draft


With the NFL Draft just one day away and the Bears set to pick at No. 1, here are some fun facts about the first selection in the draft:

(1) The Bears have chosen two players at No. 1: Michigan halfback Tom Harmon in 1941 and Oklahoma A&M halfback Bob Fenimore in 1947.

After winning the Heisman Trophy in 1940, Harmon was picked by the Bears at No. 1. But he opted to play for the New York Americans in the rival All-American Football Conference.

Harmon enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star. He eventually played in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams in 1946-47 before becoming a sports broadcaster. Harmon, who passed away in 1990 at the age of 70, was the father of actor and former UCLA quarterback Mark Harmon.

Fenimore played just one NFL season—appearing in 10 games with the Bears in 1947 and rushing for 189 yards and one touchdown on 53 carries and catching 15 passes for 219 yards and two TDs.

After his football career, Fenimore returned to Oklahoma and worked for Massachusetts Mutual Life insurance company and Mass Mutual financial services. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 84.

Fenimore was chosen by the Bears with a bonus pick that randomly awarded the No. 1 selection to teams from 1947-58. The winner of the bonus choice would forfeit its last-round pick and could not win it again in future years.

(2) Since the Bears selected Fenimore, 29 of the other 31 NFL teams have chosen a player at No. 1.

The only exceptions are the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens.

(3) Fifteen No. 1 picks have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The group consists of halfback Bill Dudley (1942), halfback Charley Trippi (1945), center/linebacker Chuck Bednarik (1949), halfback/quarterback Paul Hornung (1957), defensive lineman Buck Buchanan (1963), tackle Ron Yary (1968), running back O.J. Simpson (1969), quarterback Terry Bradshaw (1970), defensive tackle Lee Roy Selmon (1976), running back Earl Campbell (1978), quarterback John Elway (1983), defensive end Bruce Smith (1985), quarterback Troy Aikman (1989), left tackle Orlando Pace (1997) and quarterback Peyton Manning (1998).

(4) Nine No. 1 selections have been named NFL MVP.

Manning is the only No. 1 choice who has won more than one NFL MVP trophy, claiming the honor a league-record five times. The one-time recipients are Dudley, halfback Frank Sinkwich (1943), Hornung, Simpson, Bradshaw, Campbell, Elway and quarterback Cam Newton (2011).

(5) Pace was the last No. 1 pick to play for the Bears.

Pace spent the first 12 seasons of his NFL career with the St. Louis Rams before playing his final year with the Bears in 2009. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.

(6) Quarterbacks have been selected with five of the last six No. 1 choices, seven of the last nine, 11 of the last 15 and 17 of the last 23:

  • 2023 QB Bryce Young (Panthers)
  • 2022 DE Travon Walker (Jaguars)
  • 2021 QB Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars)
  • 2020 QB Joe Burrow (Bengals)
  • 2019 QB Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
  • 2018 QB Baker Mayfield (Browns)
  • 2017 DE Myles Garrett (Browns)
  • 2016 QB Jared Goff (Rams)
  • 2015 QB Jameis Winston (Buccaneers)
  • 2014 DE Jadeveon Clowney (Texans)
  • 2013 OT Eric Fisher (Chiefs)
  • 2012 QB Andrew Luck (Colts)
  • 2011 QB Cam Newton (Panthers)
  • 2010 QB Sam Bradford (Rams)
  • 2009 QB Matthew Stafford (Lions)
  • 2008 OT Jake Long (Dolphins)
  • 2007 QB JaMarcus Russell (Raiders)
  • 2006 DE Mario Williams (Texans)
  • 2005 QB Alex Smith (49ers)
  • 2004 QB Eli Manning (Chargers)
  • 2003 QB Carson Palmer (Bengals)
  • 2002 QB David Carr (Texans)
  • 2001 QB Michael Vick (Falcons)

(7) Eighteen of the last 23 No. 1 picks have been voted to the Pro Bowl.

The only exceptions from the above list are Young (2023), Walker (2022), Bradford (2010), Russell (2007) and Carr (2002).

(8) Prior to last year when the Bears dealt the No. 1 selection to the Panthers, the first choice had been traded only once in the previous 18 drafts.

That deal occurred in 2016 when the Rams took Goff. They acquired picks in the first (1st), fourth (113th) and sixth rounds (177th) from the Titans in exchange for selections in the 1st (15th), 2nd (43rd and 45th) and 3rd rounds (76th) in addition to 2017 choices in the first and third rounds.

Related Content