The Buffalo Bills held the first overall selection and chose Bruce Smith, a defensive end from Virginia Tech. It was the fourth time the Bills made the No. 1 overall selection and the third time they chose a defensive player.
1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie wasn't selected until the 11th round, when the Rams chose him 285th overall. The Dallas Cowboys selected another Heisman Trophy winner, Georgia running back Herschel Walker, in the fifth round. He left college early to join the competing USFL and this was the first draft in which he was eligible to be selected by an NFL team.
Duane Bickett, a linebacker from USC selected fifth overall by the Colts, won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Bengals WR Eddie Brown, selected 13th overall from Miami (FL), was the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
As of 2009, Smith is the only player selected in this draft to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.