April 21, 2020
The 2001 NFL Draft was the 66th annual meeting of National Football League (NFL) franchises to select newly eligible football players. The draft, which is officially referred to as the “NFL Player Selection Meeting,” was held at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York on April 21–22, 2001.
The first player selected in the draft was quarterback Michael Vick from Virginia Tech, who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons after they acquired the first pick in a trade with the San Diego Chargers.
Vick played college football at Virginia Tech and was selected by the Falcons as the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. During his six years with the Falcons, Vick was regarded as having transformed the quarterback position with his rushing abilities and was named to three Pro Bowls. He was the first NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and holds the record for the most career rushing yards by a quarterback (6,109).
Vick’s NFL career came to a halt in 2007 after he pleaded guilty for his involvement in a dog fighting ring and spent 21 months in federal prison. His arrest and subsequent conviction garnered Vick notoriety with the general public, which lasted throughout the rest of his career. He was released by the Falcons shortly before leaving prison.
After serving his sentence, Vick signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. As a member of the Eagles for five years, he enjoyed the greatest statistical season of his career and was named to a fourth Pro Bowl in 2010. In his final two seasons in the NFL, Vick played for the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers for one year each, primarily as a backup. He officially retired from professional football in 2017 after spending the entirety of the 2016 season in free agency.