Every professional sport is different, whether the sport uses a ball – Football, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Golf – or whether it uses a puck – Hockey. They each have different styles and intricacies. What makes a fan love one sport, may make the same fan hate another. But there is one area, where every professional sport is similar, where sports fans, teams, and organizations get to feel the same joy, or disappointment – The draft. The drafts are where sports fans, teams, and organizations hopes are born or shattered. But there is one sport who’s draft stands out just a little bit more than the rest, that garnishes just a little bit more attention – The NFL Draft. Let’s take a further look at how does NFL draft work.
There are 32 NFL teams in the league, and how each team performs one season (including all of the postseason play), plays a significant role in what their draft positions will be at the next NFL draft. If a team wins the Superbowl in one season, at the next NFL draft, they will receive the last pick in each round, while the team with the worst record of the previous season, will receive the best pick in each round (The first picks). If there are 2 teams that are tied for the worst record, then on draft day, there will be a coin toss to determine which of those 2 teams will choose first, and which chooses second.
There are 7 rounds in the NFL draft, with each round consisting of 32 picks. In each round, each
team is given an allotted amount of time for each of their picks. In the 1st round, teams have 10
minutes to pick their draft choice, 7 in the second, 5 in rounds three through six, and 4 minutes in the
last (the seventh) round. The NFL Commissioner will announce when each team is on the clock, for
their respect pick in each round.
On draft day, during each round of the NFL draft, each team is given a table near the draft
stage, where a few of the team’s representatives, from their organizations, sit (The draft
address is a preselected NFL stadium). The location at the draft, where each teams
representatives sit, is called “selection square.” While at the draft location, these team
representatives maintain constant contact with representatives, back in their respected city, at
the team’s stadium. On draft day, these team personnel, are in their home stadiums, in a room
that is called (on draft day) “the war room.” These specific team personnel, are the people
who decide which player is picked, in each of the seven rounds. The 1st day of draft (draft day)
is the last Thursday of every April. Once a team has decided a pick, back at “the war room,”
and it is transmitted to the team’s representatives at the draft, the team then notifies the NFL
representative that is standing behind them, who is called “A runner,” by writing the pick on a
piece of paper, and handing it to them. The runner then lifts the paper up, to notify the
commisioner, that a player selection has been made.
During each day of the draft (Before a player is chosen as a draft pick), each of the 32 NFL teams General Managers, are contacting each other, looking to make trades. These trades consist of them trading 1 (or some) of their current players, to another team, to increase their draft position in one of the seven rounds. The NFL Commissioner says this falls within the NFL conduct guidelines and is not unethical by league standards. Some of the trades that are made during the NFL draft are teams trading multiple late-round potential picks (Rounds 4 through 7 are considered late-round picks) for just 1 player who is predicted of high enough status to be taken in one of the first 3 rounds. Each team has until the given time on the clock for that particular selected pick, to make a trade with another team.
How does NFL draft work for potential draft players, well before the NFL draft, there is an NFL combine held, every year, from the last week of February, until the first week of March. This combine is to test each players speed, strength, agility, and durability. At this combine, each player has a chance, through this athletic showcase, to potentially increase their draft position.
On draft day, a select number of players will be invited (by letter) to the draft location. Those
invited players, that choose to come to the draft location (Some with their wives, and family, some
with their friends and girlfriends), are sent to an area at the draft, known as the green room. Here
the players sit and anxiously await for their names to be called by the NFL Commissioner.
Those potential draft players that choose to watch the draft from the comfort of their own homes,
with friends and family, waits for a call from an NFL coach, General Manager (or other high-level
executives at the organization), telling them that their name is about to be called out by the NFL
Commissioner, and that that team is happy to welcome them to the organization.
In order for a football athlete to be eligible to be considered for the NFL draft, they have to have played in at least 1 NCAA (National College Athletic Association) or NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) game, but only the top college football players, at each of these associations, are considered for the NFL draft (and there is even a smaller number of them that are invited to first, perform at the NFL combine, and second, to be present at the draft televised event).
The NFL player personnel, looks over the top NCAA and NJCAA players (The top 3,000 eligible college football players, who have submitted their application to enter the next NFL draft), before the next NFL combine, and only invites the “best of the best” to take part in each, the NFL combine, as well as the NFL draft.
The NFL does have a special draft that is held in July, after the April draft. This draft is called the “Supplemental draft.” The way that this draft works, is it is only applicable to eligible college football players, who have submitted their NFL draft applications after the April NFL draft has taken place.