The 1986 NFL Draft was held April 29-30, 1986 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. 1986 was the first of nine consecutive years the draft was held at the Marriott Marquis, after moving from the Omni Park Central Hotel. The draft consisted of 12 rounds and 333 selections.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the No. 1 overall selection and chose 1985 Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, a running back from Auburn. However, Jackson wanted to pursue professional careers in both baseball and football, something the Buccaneers wouldn't allow, so he failed to sign and re-entered the draft in 1987.

As of the 2008 Draft, Jackson is the only No. 1 overall pick to fail to sign a contract throughout the entire season following his selection.

Leslie O'Neal was selected by the Chargers eighth overall out of Oklahoma State and won Defensive Rookie of the Year. Saints running back Rueben Mayes, selected in the third round (57th overall, Washington State), was the Offensive Rookie of the Year.