Is the 1983 NFL Draft class with Dan Marino and John Elway the best in American football history? Possible reasons explored

The 1983 NFL Draft class has aged like fine wine. Timing is the ultimate determinant of whether or not a preliminary class is good and some modern classes might be, but haven’t had the timing that their predecessors have. Looking back on 1983, though, it becomes hard to see a draft class that could possibly top it.

Naturally, it’s headlined by Dan Marino and John Elway, two of the best quarterbacks to ever do it. Despite not winning a Super Bowl, Marino is believed by many to be the most talented quarterback of all time. Was your draft class of him that good or was it just too heavy?

Analyzing the 1983 NFL Draft All-Star Class: Was it the best ever?

The first round is usually an indicator of how good a draft class is. Obviously, rounds two through seven always have good players and even Hall of Famers. Tom Brady was a sixth round pick. However, top-tier talent from a good draft class often shows itself.

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This is how the first round was:

  1. john elway
  2. eric dickerson
  3. curt warner
  4. Chris Hinton
  5. billy ray smith
  6. Jimbo undercover
  7. Todd Blackledge
  8. michael haddix
  9. bruce matthews
  10. terry kinard
  11. Tim Lewis
  12. tony hunter
  13. James Jones
  14. jim kelly
  15. tony eason
  16. mike pits
  17. leonardo smith
  18. Willie Gault
  19. joey brown
  20. gary anderson
  21. Gabe Rivera
  22. gill byrd
  23. jim jeffcoat
  24. Ken O’Brien
  25. david rimongton
  26. don mosebar
  27. Dan Marino
  28. darrell green

There was not a bust and Elway, Dickerson, Covert, Matthews, Kelly, Marino and Green were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Warner led the AFC in rushing twice.

Dan Marino tops the 1983 NFL draft
Dan Marino tops the 1983 NFL draft

The class included:

  • Henry Ellard, the 1988 leader in receiving yards
  • Mark Clayton, leader in receiving touchdowns in 1984
  • Roger Craig, 1988 leader in combined scrimmage yards

Although there are not many Hall of Fame from other rounds, there was still a lot of talent. Richard Dent, an eighth-round pick, made the Hall of Fame. Roger Craig was in the living room bubble.

the 1983 NFL draft class included seven starters on the Chicago Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl team, widely considered the greatest team of all time. Three of the five starters on his offensive line and Super Bowl XX MVP Richard Dent came from this class.

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Of the 28 players drafted in the first round, 15 made at least one Pro Bowl:

  • john elway
  • eric dickerson
  • curt warner
  • Chris Hinton
  • Jimbo undercover
  • terry kinard
  • bruce matthews
  • jim kelly
  • joey brown
  • gary anderson
  • gill byrd
  • Ken O’Brien
  • don mosebar
  • Dan Marino
  • darrell green

There are arguments for other draft classes, like the 1957 draft that included Jim Brown. modern classes It might age just as well, but for now, it’s hard to argue against the NFL Draft Class of 1983 as the best ever.

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Edited by Zachary Roberts

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