Which No. 1 NFL pick has had the best debut?

Getty Images

Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft, scoring four goals in his first game for the Maple Leafs, which gave us an idea for Thursday’s PFT Live question of the day.

Which No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft had the best performance in the first game of his rookie year?

The exercise sparked an important realization: There aren’t many No. 1 overall picks who had huge performances in the first games of their rookie seasons.

The finalists are running back Earl Campbell (No. 1 in 1978), running back Billy Sims (No. 1 in 1980), quarterback Peyton Manning (No. 1 in 1998), quarterback Cam Newton (No. 1 in 2011), and quarterback Andrew Luck (No. 1 in 2012).

Campbell had 15 carries for 137 yards and a touchdown in his first game for the Oilers, a 20-14 loss to the Falcons. Sims had 22 carries for 153 yards and three touchdowns, along with 64 receiving yards, in a 41-20 win by the Lions over the Rams.

Peyton Manning completed 21 of 37 passes for 302 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in a 24-15 loss to the Dolphins. Newton completed 24 of 37 passes for 422 yards with two touchdowns, an interception, and a rushing touchdown in a 28-21 loss to the Cardinals. Luck complete 23 of 45 passes for 309 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions in a 41-21 loss to the Bears.

Cast your vote below, argue in the comments about who we omitted from the list of finalists (and if you suggest JaMarcus Russell you’ll be banned), and tune in to Thursday’s PFT Live for more.