The 1983 NFL Draft is highly considered one of the best National Football League drafts of all time, in terms of statistical production. Sometimes called the "Quarterback Draft" due to the high number of quarterbacks drafted -- and the caliber of play exhibited by this class -- many people often forget the other gems that came into the NFL in 1983


As for the quarterbacks -- it is true. One can't help but be amazed at the talent levels that emerged in 1983. In 1983, no fewer than six quarterbacks were drafted in the first round. Three of those QBs -- John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly stood out amongst them, and all have had Hall of Fame-caliber careers. All three took their respective teams to Super Bowls and Kelly and Elway have already been inducted; Marino is a shoe-in as well. Beyond these three, Tony Eason, Ken O'Brien and Todd Blackledge were also drafted, none of whom could be considered to have had a "terrible" career: Eason also took his team to the big game.


Lest anyone forget that there are ten other players on one side the field at any given time, running back workhorse Eric Dickerson, current HOFer and single-season rushing recordholder. He ran for over 1800 yards in his rookie year, before going on to set the record with over 2100 in his second season. Beyond Dickerson, other notables such as 49ers RB Roger Craig and Rams' wide reciever Henry Ellard also belong to this class.


On the other side of the line, plenty of talent appeared in terms of defensive players, too. The Redskins' accquisitions of both Darrell Green and Charles Mann no doubt helped them immensely in the 1980s and 1990s. The Giants' Leonard Marshall, Bengals' Tim Krumrie and Richard Dent of the Bears were no slouches, either.

Late Round Gems

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this draft, as mentioned by James Alder, is the fact that so many players that made names for themselves came in the late rounds of 1983. In today's football game, where "instant gratification" is expected from both sides in the draft -- the draftees and the teams, not to mention so many busts, it would be prudent to look back to 1983, where Dent and Krumrie were drafted in the eighth and tenth rounds, respectively; bad-tempered but quality player Karl Mecklenburg was also drafted in 1983, in the eleventh round.

In the end, the 1983 NFL Draft brought about some of the biggest and most exciting names in NFL history, and although possible, it is hard to imagine any draft ever bringing about such an explosive force as this one. As the years go on, expect to see even more of the Class of 1983 to make their way to Canton.

Works Referenced and Cited

Much statistical assistance provided by the "Pro Football Reference" website:
  • "1983 NFL Draft Choices":
  • Alder, James, "NFL Draft History - 1983 NFL Draft".
  • Ellenport, Craig, " The 1983 draft: A class to remember".