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Mel Kiper: John Elway The Greatest #1 Pick Of All-Time

Like him or not, Mel Kiper Jr. is intertwined into the very fabric that makes the NFL Draft what it is today.  He's been doing what he's done longer than anyone and, personally, I appreciate that he always has an opinion - right or wrong.

Kiper recently ranked the Greatest Top-10 Draft Picks of All-Time(Insider Needed), and none other than Broncos Legend John Elway was named the greatest #1 Pick ever.  Here is what Kiper said:

You can list the plaudits -- five Super Bowls, nine Pro Bowls, a league MVP, a Super Bowl MVP, over 51,475 yards -- but Elway really doesn't get enough credit for what he did in simply getting the Broncos to those first three Super Bowls. Those were mediocre teams and he flat-out willed them to the Super Bowl. "The Drive" was good theatre but also indicative of what he meant to those teams. He was literally the difference between a win and a loss in so many games. He finally won his rings when the Broncos defense became a more formidable unit, and when the team could actually run the ball, but Elway was just a brilliant competitor throughout. Incidentally, he's also a part of the most lopsided deal in NFL history. Denver got him for Chris Hinton, Mark Herrmann and a third-round pick that became Ron Solt. You could argue for any of the others, but Elway is my pick.

His runners-up included Peyton Manning, Earl Campbell, Bruce Smith, Troy Aikman and O.J. Simpson.  A pretty select group.

Obviously we are all a bit biased when it comes to Elway and many younger Denver Broncos fans forget that Elway was drafted by the Baltimore Colts despite adamantly saying he would never play there.  Elway had baseball to use as leverage since he was also drafted by the New York Yankees.  This put a huge magnifying glass on Elway right from the start - even moreso than #1 draft picks received back then.  That means Elway had even MORE pressure to succeed than a normal #1 pick due to the way he handled things with baseball, the Colts and having the Broncos trade 3 assets to acquire him.

There is little doubt that John Elway was going to be a great player.  Add on-top of all of that the pressure that goes along with forcing his way off the team that drafted him, and Elway's career is that much more amazing.  The best ever!