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No. 1 NFL draft picks of the '80s: Bill Sims to Troy Aikman



bo_jackson.jpgThe NFL Draft. Remember when nobody really cared all that much about this yearly exercise in media overindulgence? Nowadays, it's a tradition to sit there and listen to the Jets fans boo every move by the commissioner and every draft pick by their rivals. (Stay classy, New York).

As a lifelong Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan, I have a lot of experience watching teams pick "the future of the franchise" ... only to see the player crush the hopes of us all. Yeah, Testaverde, I'm looking in your direction.

Here are the No. 1 NFL Draft picks of the '80s:

1989: Troy Aikman -- The quarterback from UCLA played 12 years and was a six-time Pro Bowl selection.

1988: Aundray Bruce -- The Auburn linebacker, drafted by the Falcons, lasted 11 years, but started only 42 games.

1987: Vinny Testaverde -- When his Miami Hurricane teams played the University of Florida on the road, Gator fans would toss frozen oranges at his head. Or maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part. Amazingly, Vinny lasted 21 years in the NFL.

1986: Bo Jackson -- Remember "Bo knows?" Loved that ad campaign, but hated that this talented running back from Auburn only lasted four seasons in the NFL.

1985: Bruce Smith -- The Virginia Tech defensive end played in 11 Pro Bowls. But it's the streak of losses that his Buffalo Bills had in Super Bowls that stands out.

1984: Irving Fryar -- This wide receiver from Nebraska played 15 years and made 5 Pro Bowls. He was the first wide receiver ever to be taken with the first pick in the NFL Draft.

1983: John Elway -- The "other" quarterback from Stanford, he was actually drafted by the Baltimore Colts, but threatened to play pro baseball unless he was traded to a more competitive team.

1982: Kenneth Sims -- Only 8 seasons and no Pro Bowls for the tackle from Texas. He was nicknamed "Game Day" for rarely showing any effort on the practice field.

1981: George Rogers -- Maybe the most famous Gamecock in South Carolina history, he was drafted first by the New Orleans Saints. He became the first player to have his jersey retired while he was still in school.

1980: Billy Sims -- The Oklahoma running back was beloved by Detroit Lions fans. Earned the nickname Kung Fu Billy Sims by ESPN after he kicked a Houston Oiler tackler in the head while jumping over him.

[Last modified: Friday, April 27, 2012 2:42pm]


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