We tab the first-round draftee quarterback with four Super Bowl rings -- Terry Bradshaw (1970, Pittsburgh Steelers) -- and we rest our case.
But based on that logic, why wouldn't Paul Hornung (1957, Green Bay Packers) and Franco Harris (1972, Pittsburgh Steelers) be automatic starters behind Bradshaw, since both Hornung and Harris boast four NFL titles each?
We're just promoting debate here, folks, not providing empirical evidence of any player's superiority.
Hence, we're picking Jim Brown (1957, Cleveland Browns) and Emmitt Smith (1990, Dallas Cowboys) for the running back slots.
Interestingly, while Louisiana Tech's Bradshaw was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1970 draft, Smith and Brown were available to plenty of takers in their respective drafts.
Despite falling to the No. 17 slot in the 1990 draft, former Florida star Smith proved any doubters wrong by winning Offensive Rookie Of The Year honors. Smith retired as the NFL's career rushing leader (18,355 yards) and has 164 rushing touchdowns, the bulk of which he produced in 13 Cowboys seasons. He was a key part of the Cowboys' draft trinity -- with wide receiver Michael Irvin (1988, Cowboys) and Aikman -- to form the foundation Dallas needed to score three Super Bowl victories in the early 1990s.
Barry Sanders (1989, Detroit Lions), Marcus Allen (1982, Los Angeles Raiders), Tony Dorsett (1977, Cowboys), Walter Payton (1975, Chicago Bears), Larry Csonka (1968, Dolphins) are among the dozens whose numbers -- and in some cases, Super Bowl rings -- make compelling arguments to run with Mr. Smith, but there's one unavoidable backfield mate.
Brown's status as an unparalleled NFL icon grants him the other running back slot on our first-round all-star team. Yes, he won only one NFL title and has fallen to No. 9 on the career rushing list.
But Brown is the prototype running back, even though he wasn't the apple of Cleveland's eye during the 1957 draft.
Apparently Cleveland coveted one of the three top quarterbacks in that draft class, including Notre Dame's Hornung (who became a halfback in the NFL), Stanford's John Brodie or Purdue's Len Dawson. Hailing from Alliance, Ohio, Dawson was particularly coveted by Browns coach and general manager Paul Brown. The Steelers, however, won a coin flip to determine the No. 5 overall pick in that draft and they selected Dawson.
With the next pick the Browns settled for Brown, the Syracuse superstar fullback.
He won rookie of the year honors in 1957 by leading the NFL in rushing, the first of eight seasons he would pace the league. Six games, 15 touchdowns and 928 rushing yards into his second NFL season, Brown prompted Sports Illustrated to declare him "the greatest running back professional football has ever seen."
Years later, even his modern-day peers don't want to debate that assertion.
LaDainian Tomlinson (2001, San Diego Chargers) probably said it best after supplanting Brown for No. 8 on the all-time career rushing list:
"Jim Brown transcended generations."
We can't top that.
First-Round Offense All-Stars
Here are the best offensive players selected in the first round in the NFL's regular draft history. Pro Football Hall of Fame members are in bold face. Guards and tackles were not selected position specific.
Among others considered
Bradshaw's four SB rings give him the edge over fellow HOFers Aikman, Griese, Kelly, Baugh and future inductee Peyton Manning
Troy Aikman (1989, Cowboys), Bob Griese (1967, Dolphins), Jim Kelly (1983, Bills), Dan Marino (1983, Dolphins), Peyton Manning (1998, Colts)
HOFer won four NFL titles, doubled as a LB, even played RB in emergency situations
Chuck Bednarik (1949, Eagles)
In 19 seasons, HOFer played each of the five O-line positions and never missed a game (296) to injury
Randall McDaniel (1988, Vikings), Mike Munchak (1982, Oilers), John Hannah (1973, Patriots)
In 15 Raiders seasons, HOFer played guard exclusively, made all-league 11 times, won two SB rings
Joe DeLamielleure (1973, Bills), Tom Mack (1966, Rams), Jim Parker (1957, Colts)
First player chosen overall, rewarded Vikings with 14 seasons, four SB showings, seven PBs
Anthony Munoz (1980, Bengals), George Connor (1946, Bears)
First player selected in franchise history, Ogden was elected to 11 PBs -- fourth most in history -- and led team to SB victory
Joe Stydahar (Bears, 1936, HOF), Willie Roaf (1993, Saints)
First-Round Defense All-Stars
Here are the best defensive players selected in the first round in NFL regular draft history. Pro Football Hall of Fame members are in bold face.
To honor the popularity of the 3-4 defense, we picked four linebackers. Corners, safeties and linebackers were not selected position specific.
Among others considered
North Texas State
A No. 4 overall pick, the HOFer won four SB rings, was a two-time DPOY
Alan Page (1967, Vikings), Bob Lilly (1961, Cowboys)
HOFer played in three SBs, had 4 SB sacks, co-MVP of a SB game, missed one game in 14 seasons
Two-time DPOY paced Bills to four SB appearances; HOFer retired the NFL's career sacks leader (200)
Jack Youngblood (1971, Rams), Carl Eller (1964, Vikings)
Before joining the Raiders in 2009, Seymour notched 4 SB appearances, 3 rings, 5 PB selections as a Patriot
Dan Hampton (1979, Bears), Lee Roy Selmon (Bucs, 1976)
In 13 Giants seasons, Taylor was league DPOY three times and ranked second all time in sacks (132½ officially) at time of his retirement
Derrick Thomas (1989, Chiefs)
Selected No. 26 overall in the Ravens' first draft, Lewis is a 10-time PB selection and two-time league DPOY and has a SB ring
Derrick Brooks (1995, Buccaneers)
HOFer played in eight PBs in nine Bears seasons
Chuck Bednarik (1949, Eagles)
Led Chargers in tackles in 8 of 13 seasons in San Diego; one SB appearance as a Bolt
Lee Roy Jordan (1963, Cowboys)
A converted RB, HOFer won five of his six NFL titles as a Packers shutdown corner; starred in the first two SBs
Rod Woodson (1987, Steelers)
A six-time PBer who played an amazing 20 seasons, HOFer helped Redskins to three SB appearances, winning two.
Ty Law (1995, Patriots)
Versatile HOFer played corner in 49ers' first two SB victories, safety in Nos. 3 and 4
Ed Reed (Ravens, 2002)
Five-time PBer has two SB rings in seven seasons.
Steve Atwater (1989, Broncos)
Sheldon Spencer is an NFL editor at ESPN.com. Thanks to ESPN's Stats & Information crew for their researching efforts, as well as Pro-Football-Reference.com and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame's Web site.