NFL Draft 101

So you want to know what’s up with the NFL Draft this coming year… well I’ll break down everything you need to know to have working knowledge of this years upcoming draft.  This is part 1, where we cover how the draft works!


First thing, the first round taking place Thurs., April 26, followed by the second and third rounds on Fri., April 27. Rounds 4-7 will be held Sat., April 28.  So basically [sct date=”05/26/2012 17:00″ align=”none” size=”1″] away.


The draft consists of seven rounds.   The average round consists of 32 picks, which allows each team approximately one pick per round. Some teams have more than one pick in a round, and some teams may not have any picks in a round. Picks per team vary because draft picks can be traded to other teams, and the NFL can award additional picks to a team if the team loses players designated as restricted free agents.

A free agent is a player whose contract has expired and is eligible to sign with another team. A restricted free agent is a player for whom another team can make an offer, but his current team is allowed to match that offer. If the current team chooses not to match the offer, it may receive compensation in the form of a draft choice. The NFL awards compensatory picks based on the net loss of restricted free agents. The limit for compensatory picks is four per team, the highest a compensatory pick can be is a 3rd rounder.

Due to compensatory picks and the addition of expansion teams, the total number of picks has varied since the draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994. There were 262 players selected in the 2003 NFL Draft, which was the most since 1994. Between 1977 and 1993, the draft consisted of 12 rounds, and from 1967 to 1976 there were 17 rounds per draft.

During the draft, one team is always on the clock. In round one, teams have 10 minutes to make their choice. The decision time drops to 7 minutes in the second round and to five minutes in rounds three through seven. If a team doesn’t make a decision in their given time, the next team can pick before them, and the team that missed its turn can submit its selection at any time after their time is up.


The order of the draft starts the records from the previous year.  The worst teams draft first, the best teams draft last, which is why the team with the worst record has the first pick of each round, and the Super Bowl champion has the last pick. This is the default draft position for these teams unless they choose to trade their picks. The other 30 teams fall somewhere in between based on the following factors:

  • Nonplayoff teams get to draft before the teams that made the playoffs of the previous season.
  • Playoff teams pick in reverse order of their success during the regular season.

Every team out of the playoffs goes on that rule, once a team makes the playoffs their are now in the next tier of the draft regardless of record.  So if an 8-8 team makes the playoffs but an 10-6 misses, the 10-6 team will have a high draft pick.  The last 12 picks of the draft are the playoff teams.

Picks 1-20 (Non playoff teams) – Record, Softness of schedule, Divisional and conference records, coin toss
Picks 21-30 (Playoff teams not in superbowl) – Record, Softness of schedule, Divisional and conference records, coin toss
Pick 31 (Losser of superbowl)
Pick 32 (Winner of superbowl)

So if your team is 8-8, and you make the playoffs and loose in the championship round, your probablly the 21st pick even though you made the final four….  If your team is 14-2 and looses the first playoff game you’re probably pick 30.

If teams share the same record, here are the criteria for breaking ties:

  1. Strength of schedule – refers to the combined win-loss record of the teams they played the previous season.  The ‘softness of schedule’  If two teams have the same record you compare their records, the team with the easier schedule gets the high pick… The thinking is if they had and easier schedule and still couldn’t win more they must be worse.
  2. Divisional and conference records
  3. Coin toss

And lets not forget the Feb. 22-28 – NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis, In. , so mark your calendars!

Worry, not we’ll start breaking down each position in this coming draft to see who you want on your team!

Subscribe Now!

Keep up to date with all our new articles!

Enter your email address:

Recent Articles

Mac’s Articles

7 years ago
No Comments
Animated Social Media Icons by Acurax Responsive Web Designing Company