The 1996 NFL Draft was held April 20-21 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. A total of 254 players were selected.

Penn State had 10 players selected, the most by any team. The SEC had 38 players drafted, including eight from Tennessee, the most for any collegiate conference.

The New York Jets selected USC wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson with the No. 1 pick. It was the second time in the history of the NFL Draft that a wide receiver was picked first. The first time was Irving Fryar, by the 1984 Patriots. It was also the first time that the Jets selected a wide receiver in the first round since picking Al Toon in 1985.

Heisman Trophy winner, Ohio State running back, Eddie George, drafted 14th overall by the Oilers, was the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Illinois defensive end Simeon Rice, selected third overall by the Cardinals, was the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Sam Manuel, a linebacker from New Mexico State was "Mr. Irrelevant," the 254th and final pick, by the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers also selected Manuel's twin brother, Sean, with the 239th overall pick.