The Detroit Lions had the first overall selection and chose 1978 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims, a running back from Oklahoma. USC running back Charles White, the 1979 Heisman winner, was selected 27th overall by the Cleveland Browns.
Sims won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1980. The defensive award was split between Falcons linebackers Buddy Curry (second round from North Carolina) and Al Richardson (eighth round from Georgia Tech).
As of 2009, three players from this draft class have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: OT Anthony Muñoz (third overall, Bengals), WR Art Monk (18th overall, Redskins) and C Dwight Stephenson (second round, 48th overall, Dolphins).