Every year, the National Football League organizes its selection of players.
The lives and careers of former college athletes have been completely changed by draft picks. The seven-round draft also allows NFL teams to replenish their rosters with the worst team from the previous season being selected first and the defending Super Bowl champion last.
The NFL draft began in 1936 and has remained largely the same in terms of rules for nearly a century. The popularity of the event over the years has led to live television coverage in prime time.
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What was the first overall pick?
The 1998 draft was a two-day event held in April at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Indianapolis Colts had the first pick. After a contentious debate among scouts over whether to take Ryan Leaf or Peyton Manning, the Colts ultimately selected Manning with the first overall pick. Manning, at the time, was considered more experienced than Leaf even though both players had similar skills.
During the draft process, Manning reportedly had some strong words for Colts owner Jim Irsay in his office shortly before the draft.
“I’d like to play for you, but if you don’t pick me, I’m going to kick your ass for the next 15 years,” Manning said, according to a 2011 interview.
Today, Manning is considered one of the best quarterbacks in league history. During his 14 seasons, he led the Colts to 11 playoff appearances, eight division titles, three AFC championship games and the team’s first Super Bowl victory in more than three decades.
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How much did he do?
After drafting Manning with their first pick, the Colts gave him a then-record rookie contract that earned him a fortune. His first contract as a rookie player was for $46.3 million over six years and a signing bonus of $11.6 million. Manning finally left the Colts in 2011 after suffering a neck injury and played for the Denver Broncos until his retirement a few years later.
The NFL legend earned an estimated $200 million during his NFL career, according to Forbes.
Who were the other top five picks in the draft?
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Ryan Leaf was selected No. 2 by the San Diego Chargers.
Defensive end Andre Wadsworth was selected third by the Arizona Cardinals, defensive end Charles Woodson was selected fourth by the Oakland Raiders and running back Curtis Enis was selected fifth by the Chicago Bears.