NFL Draft And The Heisman

1986 Heisman winner Vinny Testaverde's name atop the ESPN 1987 Draft Board.

The 2022 NFL Draft starts Thursday but, as occasionally happens, there will be no Heisman winner taken as 2021 winner Bryce Young is preparing for his 2022 redshirt sophomore season at Alabama.

The first round, April 28, will serve as the 11-year anniversary of 2010 Heisman winner Cam Newton going first overall to Carolina in 2011 as well as the 35-year anniversary of Vinny Testaverde going first overall to Tampa Bay in 1987.

The draft will mark the first time since 2017 that there will be no Heisman taken as 2016 winner Lamar Jackson was just coming off his sophomore season at Louisville.

While there may be no Heisman winner drafted, two will be participating in the draft — 1991 winner Desmond Howard and 2011 winner Robert Griffin  III – both of whom will be part of ABC’s crew covering the event. 

Washington drafted both of these eventual football broadcasters, selecting Griffin with the second overall pick in 2012 and drafting Howard fourth overall 20 years earlier.

Of the 85 Heisman winners eligible for drafting, 58 have been selected in the first round. Twenty-three of them were taken with the first overall pick and 39 within the first five selections. Just four Heisman winners ended up not being drafted (two of them had military obligations, one went to the NBA and one had multiple knee injuries that affected his draft stock).

When Joe Burrow was selected first in the 2020 NFL draft, it marked the first time Heisman winners went first overall in three straight years as he followed Kyler Murray in 2019 and Baker Mayfield in 2018.

Including Jackson in 2018 and DeVonta Smith in 2021, the last five winners have gone in the first round.

Had Derrick Henry not fallen to the 45th pick overall in 2016 – something countless teams certainly rue – the first-round streak would stand at 14.

The longest streak of Heisman winners taken in the first round was from 1972 through 1981 when nine consecutive stiff-arm-trophy holders were taken before the second round. Among them, Earl Campbell, Billy Sims and George Rogers all went first.

You can review the complete list of Heisman winners taken in the NFL Draft here.