No.1 Paul Hornung
The Golden Boy. Many consider Hornung the best all-around player in Notre Dame history. In his Heisman winning season of 1956 he led the Irish in passing, rushing, scoring, kickoff and punt returns and punting. On defense he led the team in pass breakups and was second in interceptions and tackles made. He could truly do it all. Hornung’s 1956 campaign was so good that he became the only player ever to win the Heisman Trophy while playing for a losing team (Notre Dame finished 2-8 that year).
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Hornung was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the first pick in the 1957 draft. The Packers became a dynasty throughout the 1960s. They won five championships in the 1960s and Hornung was at the center of most of those teams. Just as he was at Notre Dame, Hornung was one of the most versitile players ever to play in the NFL. He played halfback and served as the kicker. For three straight seasons (1959-61) he led the league in scoring. During the 1960 season he set an all-time season record for points scored with 176. That record would not be broken until LaDainian Tomlinson broke it in 2006. He won the MVP in 1961 and was a two-time Pro-Bowler.
Hornung had one of the winningest NFL careers for a Notre Dame product. He was a four-time NFL champions and was part of the first Super Bowl winning team in 1966. A neck injury cut in 1996 Hornung’s career short. He was just 29.
Hornung was arguably the one of the best players in NFL history, so it’s no surprise he tops our list as the best first round pick to ever come out of Notre Dame.