1. Peyton Manning (1998)
Yes, the Colts GOAT, Peyton Manning!
What? You were expecting Mike Pagel, Art Schlichter, or Jack Trudeau?
Peyton Manning was picked first overall in 1998, as the Colts valued the “safer,” more finished product in Manning over the riskier pick in Washington State’s Ryan Leaf. While Leaf might be the worst bust in league history, Manning might be the best quarterback to ever play the game.
At the time of his retirement, Manning was a 14-time Pro Bowler, 10-time All-Pro, four-time passing TDs champ, and three-time passing yards champ. Manning, who took home five MVP awards, retired as the all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, winning two championships along the way.
After the glory days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Colts were one of the most laughable, consistently poor franchises in football, both in Indianapolis and Baltimore. Manning came in and immediately changed the entire culture of the organization, turning them into a stable team that now very rarely finds itself picking in the top-10 of the NFL Draft.
No Colt will ever be able to replace Manning, both in terms of on-field production, unmatched greatness, and impact on the franchise.