Throwback Thursday: Earl Campbell is Drafted First Overall in the 1978 NFL Draft
Hop in the way back machine and travel to 1978 to when the Houston Oilers selected Earl Campbell with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft.
Earl Campbell played college football for the Texas Longhorns from 1974 to 1977. He became an immediate impact player for the Longhorns football team, playing in every game, rushing for 928 yards and 6 touchdowns on just 162 rushing attempts. He would be named a First-Team All-American during his sophomore campaign and despite missing a handful of games as a junior, put up a solid stat line of 653 yards and three touchdowns in seven games.
It was Earl Campbell's senior season in which his talent really shined as he led the nation in rushing with 1,744 yards on the ground along with 19 touchdowns. In a blowout win against the Rice Owls, Earl Campbell scored four touchdowns. In his final regular season game, Earl Campbell set a new career-high for rushing yards by putting up 222 rushing yards in a win against rival Texas A&M.
Following his senior season, Earl Campbell won the Heisman Trophy, the Davey O'Brien Trophy and was a unanimous All-American.
Entering the 1978 Draft, the Houston Oilers obtained the first overall pick by trading it to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with Jimmie Gile and additional draft picks in both the 1978 and 1979 NFL Drafts. Holding the first overall pick, the Houston Oilers selected a local favorite, Earl Campbell, to be their feature back of the future.
To show how much times have changed, Earl Campbell signed a six-year $1.4 million contract as the top overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft.
Throughout his illustrious NFL career, Earl Campbell would earn a number of accolades including an MVP Award. He was a 5x Pro Bowler, 3x NFL Offensive Player of the Year, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, led the NFL in rushing on three separate occasions, saw his number retired and is part of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans Ring of Honor. Earl Campbell was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. He leaves behind a legacy in football as one of the most punishing running backs in NFL history and became one of the all-time best rushers in league history.
Still one of the greatest highlights of all time... 😱— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) March 30, 2019
Happy birthday, Earl Campbell!! pic.twitter.com/HsJGT1Z1Ro