Buffalo Bills: 15 best first-round draft picks of all-time

Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport /
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Bruce Smith, Buffalo Bills
Bruce Smith, Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Of course, it was going to be Bruce Smith at No. 1. Jim Kelly is Kelly Tough, but Smith is the greatest sack master of all-time. He went No. 1 to the Bills in the 1985 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech.

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Smith is arguably the greatest Bill of all-time, the greatest Hokie of all-time and the greatest No. 1 pick of all-time. You just aren’t going to do better in drafting a non-quarterback when it comes to Smith.

Smith played the first 15 of his 19 hall of fame seasons with the Bills. He made 11 Pro Bowls (1987-90, 1992-98), eight first-team All-Pros (1987-88, 1990, 1993-97), was a two-time AP Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1996) and was the greatest piece of the Bills defense that went to four straight Super Bowls in the early 1990s.

Smith was released after the 1999 NFL season when the Bills orchestrated several panic salary dump maneuvers.

Pro Football Hall of Famers Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas were cap casualties in these front office shenanigans. Smith would play his last four NFL seasons with the Washington Redskins before retiring after the 2003 NFL campaign.

In Bills uniform, Smith recorded, 941 tackles, 171.0 quarterback sacks, 113 assists, 35 forced fumbles and 14 fumble recoveries in 217 total games with Buffalo.

Next: Buffalo Bills: Top 5 quarterbacks in franchise history

He is a College Football Hall of Famer, a member of the NFL All-Decade Team in the 1980s and 1990s, on the Bills Wall of Fame and has his No. 78 jersey retired by the organization. Smith achieved Canton enshrinement in 20099 with classmates guard Randall McDaniel, linebacker Derrick Thomas and Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr.