The 1979 NFL Draft was held May 3-4, 1979 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. This was the only year the NFL Draft was held at the Waldorf-Astoria. The draft consisted of 12 rounds and 330 selections.

The Buffalo Bills made the first overall selection, a pick they acquired in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers on March 24, 1978. The Bills sent former No. 1 overall pick O.J. Simpson to the 49ers in exchange for second and third round picks in 1978, and first and fourth round picks in 1979.

The Bills used the No. 1 overall pick to select Tom Cousineau, a linebacker from Ohio State. Another LB selected by the Bills, Jim Haslett (second round, 51st overall) won AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Ottis Anderson (eighth overall, Cardinals) won the offensive award.

As of 2009, three members of this draft class have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: DT Dan Hampton (fourth overall, Bears), TE Kellen Winslow (13th overall, Chargers) and QB Joe Montana (third round, 82nd overall, 49ers).