But what did you have to say about it? We asked SI.com's readers to cast their votes on Twitter, and plenty of players received some love.
While Manning got his fair share, another quarterback drew a large number of votes:
@ChrisBurke_SI John Elway.It will always be John Elway.He did more with lesser teams during most of his career. #bestnflnumber1
— daniel (@dnecromancerr) April 5, 2012
@ChrisBurke_SI John Elway best n°1 pick ever : more playoffs success than Manning, more rings in spite of lack of efficiency #bestnflnumber1
— Romain Thirion (@RomainThirion) April 6, 2012
Elway was one of our three "finalists" for the honor as the best No. 1 pick since 1970, along with Manning and Bruce Smith. Despite his 200 career sacks, Smith received only a smattering of love from the SI.com readers.
#bestnflnumber1 As a NE Pats lifetime fan who saw him at his best, Bruce Smith was the definition of a beast and gets my vote.
— Jerry Hegarty (@JerryHegarty1) April 6, 2012
@chrisburke_si my vote is for Bruce Smith for #bestnflnumber1
— Ryan Faulkner (@RRFaulkner) April 6, 2012
@ChrisBurke_SI If you drafted a team - who would you pick first? Smith or Manning? Manning it is, But Smith=Wow! #bestnflnumber1
— Dana (@Tthip) April 6, 2012
Two other quarterbacks also chalked up quite a few votes:
@ChrisBurke_SI #bestnflnumber1 @TroyAikman gets my vote, led his team to three Super Bowl victories, first ballot HOF, face of a dynasty
— Bernie Bahrmasel (@BernieBahrmasel) April 6, 2012
#bestnflnumber1 Very present-centric.How can you put any of your finalists ahead of Terry Bradshaw?Championships speak volumes.
— Charles Etheridge (@TechWriteDrE) April 6, 2012
OK, make that three quarterbacks ...
@ChrisBurke_SI After hours of film study and the impact on the game I have to say that the #bestnflnumber1 is Jamarcus Russell. Game Changer
— Andy G (@PhinPhan82) April 5, 2012
@SInow Eli Manning is!Can you say 2 superbowls and hes just entering his prime. #bestnflnumber1
— Scott Bleznick (@sblez) April 5, 2012
And while quarterbacks ruled the day in terms of our impromptu voting process, Smith wasn't alone among non-QBs mentioned.
@SInow #bestnflnumber1 orlando pace, changed the game for left tackles in the nfl
— Jeff Jordan (@buckeye_jeff4) April 5, 2012
Still, when it came down to it, the player that received the most Twitter praise was the same one that landed atop our list: Manning.
@ChrisBurke_SI #bestnflnumber1 Have to vote for last year's MVP Peyton Manning
— Gary B. (@DroolTwist) April 5, 2012
@SInow #bestnflnumber1 is peyton manning! how could he not be he's the best player to play the game at his position
— Artevias Pendergrass (@ArteviasDP) April 5, 2012
@SInow Peyton Manning. No player has done more for a franchise. Smartest to ever play the game. #bestnflnumber1
— Michelle Hagopian (@hagopianm) April 5, 2012
@ChrisBurke_SI #bestnflnumber1 pick of all time for me is Peyton Manning. His qualities as a QB are unmatched for me. Resurrected Indy too. — Rob C (@RobC081090) April 4, 2012