NEW YORK -- Quarterback has become the overwhelmingly essential position in pro football. Simply look at the guys behind center for recent Super Bowl winners.
When a team owns the first spot in the NFL draft, it's nearly a given that a quarterback will be selected, or at the very least in the running to be the choice. Since the NFL and AFL fully merged in 1970, 19 QBs have been selected No. 1 overall. In the last 14 drafts, 11 quarterbacks have gone first, ranging from such champions as the Manning brothers to such busts as JaMarcus Russell and David Carr.
NFL Network's show "The Ones" examined the careers of those 19 top picks, gathering their memories. Some are tinged with a title -- four, actually, for Terry Bradshaw, the 1970 top pick; three for Troy Aikman (1989); two for John Elway (1983), Eli Manning (2004) and Jim Plunkett (1971), one for Peyton Manning (1998).
Others have few positive recollections from their pro careers.
Carson Palmer, chosen first in 2003 by Cincinnati and now with Oakland, think some top picks try too hard and wind up struggling.
"There's a reason that you are being talked about that highly in the draft," Palmer said. "Just be you, don't try to be somebody you think they want you to be."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press