The drilling rate of penetration (ROP) is defined as the speed of drilling through rock under the bit. ROP is affected by different interconnected factors, which makes it very difficult to infer the mutual effect of each individual parameter. A robust ROP is required to understand the complexity of the drilling process. Therefore, an artificial neural network (ANN) is used to predict ROP and capture the effect of the changes in the drilling parameters. Field data (4525 points) from three vertical onshore wells drilled in the same formation using the same conventional bottom hole assembly were used to train, test, and validate the ANN model. Data from Well A (1528 points) were utilized to train and test the model with a 70/30 data ratio. Data from Well B and Well C were used to test the model. An empirical equation was derived based on the weights and biases of the optimized ANN model and compared with four ROP models using the data set of Well C. The developed ANN model accurately predicted the ROP with a correlation coefficient (R) of 0.94 and an average absolute percentage error (AAPE) of 8.6%. The developed ANN model outperformed four existing models with the lowest AAPE and highest R value.