NFL Draft - How does it work?
The NFL Draft, National Football League Draft, is the time of every year when the NFL franchises get an opportunity to rebuild their squads and make any personnel changes required in order to achieve success in the upcoming season. In this text we’ll guide you through the different stages of the NFL Draft and give further information on how the draft is working. Continue reading and find out more about the history of the NFL Draft, when it's held and what’s the system behind the pecking order.
When was the first NFL Draft held?
The first NFL Draft to ever take place was in 1936 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia. The reason behind the NFL Draft and why it was implemented was the lack of competitiveness in the NFL where some teams had major advantages when it came to the ability to sign top level players and attract fans to the stadiums. While teams with an already established winning culture were able to recruit the best players in the league and further strengthen their position as title contenders, the rest of the teams were falling behind and became less competitive.
The man who first expressed the need for a NFL Draft was Bert Bell, at that time co-owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. His take on the NFL and its future was that in order for it to survive and maintain its popularity it was key that not only a few teams were able to compete for the championship. His franchise, the Eagles, was at this time a side lacking the players needed in order to push for the top positions in the table and so he declared that a NFL Draft, where teams had an equal chance of bringing in new players, had to be implemented.
His idea of a NFL Draft was positively welcomed by the majority of the franchises and only one year later the first draft was held. A list of names of senior college players were written down before each team went on to pick a player who they wished to sign. The pecking order was decided through each team's table position in the previous season, whereas the team with the worst record from the previous season was the first to make a pick.
Who was the first player to be picked in the NFL Draft?
The first player to ever get selected in the NFL Draft was Jay Berwanger. However, Berwanger chose to not sign for the Eagles and Bert Bell who picked him and was later traded to the Chicago Bears. After failing to agree on a contract with the Bears too, Berwanger was no longer allowed to play in the NFL the next season. Players not being able to negotiate a contract with the franchises they were selected by was not an unusual case at this time as the majority of the players chose to retain their status as amateur players.
How does the NFL Draft work?
The NFL draft gives each team in the NFL an opportunity to pick a number of players to strengthen its squad for the upcoming season. The pecking order is decided via each team’s win-loss record from the previous season. For teams that didn't reach the playoffs the previous season, the reversed order of the teams win-loss record is used to determine the draft order. The team with the lowest win-loss record gets to pick first, followed by the team with the second lowest record and so on.
For teams who reached the playoffs, the draft order is determined by the order in which the teams were knocked out, hence the side winning the Super Bowl will be the last one to make a pick in the draft.
Next, there are some limitations to how long time the teams get to pick a player in each round. If the team was to exceed the time limit its draft order for the round gets moved down one step which means that another team gets to select a player before. As of the NFL Draft 2022 the time limitations per round are as follows:
First Round: 10 minutes
Second Round: 7 minutes
Third-Sixth Round: 5 minutes
Seventh Round: 4 minutes
In order for a player to be eligible for the NFL Draft, he has to have been out of high school for at least 3 years. Though it’s not required that the player must have attended college, normally all players in the selection of the NFL Draft have played at college level.
While the draft orders are mainly used to select players, franchises can also decide on trading picks with each other in order to receive more than one pick in a round. Teams can trade draft orders in order to negotiate with the counterpart on a potential player they wish to sign.
How many rounds are in the NFL Draft?
There are 7 rounds in the NFL Draft with 32 selections in each round. When every team has made their pick in one round the turn goes on to the next round and so on until all 32 teams have used their selections.
Along with the 32 selections in each of the 7 rounds there are also 32 additional selections that are awarded to teams based on how many players they have lost or gained as free agents. Any additional selections gained will be used between the 3rd and 7th round.
When is the NFL Draft?
The NFL Draft is normally held during the spring after the season is finished. By having the NFL Draft early on after the season is finished, teams have enough time to put together a team and prepare for the next season with their new recruits.
The location of the NFL Draft is different from year to year. New York, Philadelphia and Chicago are the cities where the NFL Draft has been held the most times.
How to watch the NFL Draft on TV and stream?
You can watch the NFL Draft live on TV and stream every year. Follow your team’s moves and get a first glimpse of the upcoming talents who could possibly be the game changers for the next season. Check out the NFL programming schedule here and find information on any upcoming live broadcasting of the NFL Draft.
For fans looking to watch the draft live on site, there are a limited number of tickets available without cost which are handed out on a first-come first-serve basis. Make sure to keep an eye out for when the NFL Draft is coming to your city and watch every round of the draft from the front row.
Author: Dan Anderson