The New England Patriots held the No. 1 overall selection. The pick originally belonged to the Buccaneers, who traded it to the Bengals for Jack Thompson before the 1983 season. The Bengals traded the pick to the Patriots for the No. 16 and No. 28 overall selections. New England used the pick to select Nebraska wide receiver Irving Fryar.
The then-Houston Oilers selected Nebraska OT Dean Steinhuhler second overall, marking the first time since 1967 that one school produced the first two overall selections.
1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier went undrafted, after opting to sign with the competing USFL. The Steelers selected Southern Miss WR Louis Lipps 23rd overall. He was the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Chiefs DT Bill Mass, selected fifth overall from Pitt, was the Defensive Rookie of the Year.