This article is a slightly updated re-publication of the article published last year.
The NFL Draft lands April 25-27. How it works ? Who chooses first? Reminder of the basic principles of this event.
When is it?
In 2019, the first round begins at 2 a.m. (French time) on the night of Thursday 25 to Friday 26 April. The second round begins at 1 a.m. on the night of Friday 26 to Saturday 27 April, it is immediately followed by the third round.
The fourth round begins on Saturday, April 27 at 6 p.m., immediately followed by rounds five, six and seven.
Unlike classic European sports clubs (especially soccer), NFL teams do not have a training center. The young players are trained directly in the universities and participate in the various championships of the NCAA (National Collegiate athletic Association) depending on the sport. These high-level championships are hugely popular in the United States, and Division I football matches can fill entire stadiums with supporters defending their home universities.
In order to reach the ultimate level and access the NFL, the very best players will have to go through a selection phase called the Draft. This is valid for all major American sports. The NFL franchises will thus be able to choose, each in turn, young players to complete and improve their workforce.
Only 1.5% of NCAA football players make it to the NFL. Better not to put studies aside too much so …
With the 1st pick, in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select…
The draft consists of 7 rounds: one round on Thursday, two on Friday and four rounds on Saturday. Basically, each team has one choice per turn.
Obviously, the more talented a player is, the sooner he will be selected. The quarterbacks, a key position par excellence, are always the object of great envy and are often among the first choices, like Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, two first choices in 2015. Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, two other quarterbacks, have was also the top two picks in 2016. In 2018, Baker Mayfield was the Browns’ first pick.
Teams also have the option of trading draft rounds to advance to better positions. Example last year with the Jets, who gave several choices to move up to third position. The cause of this exchange? A need for a quarterback, obviously, since it was Sam Darnold who was selected.
But who chooses first?
The question now is to know how we classify the franchises to know who can choose before the other. The answer is simple: the worse the record of the past year, the more we have the right to a high choice. Thus, the worst team of the past season is entitled to the first choice of the Draft. The best, the one who won the Super Bowl, is entitled to the last choice in each round.
The Cardinals will choose first and the Patriots last. The NFL has established these rules (including the Salary Cap) in order to maintain a certain homogeneity in the levels of the teams. This ensures a show all year round with interesting and hooked encounters.
To this are added Compensatory Picks (compensatory choices) which are directly allocated by the league to the teams. These complementary draft picks are given to teams that have lost too many players in the offseason to once again restore equality between the various squads. This year, the Rams and Patriots, for example, received two third-round picks.
Once these 7 draft rounds have passed, the players who showed up and were not selected are considered Undrafted Free Agent (non-drafted free agents). The teams, although they did not consider that they are strong enough to be retained during these 7 rounds, will come to make their market among these players to try to find the rare pearl that nobody had spotted. They will try their luck at the training camp. Some big names in the NFL have gone through this status such as Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, Adam Vinatieri or even Wes Welker.
Perhaps you have seen the term of Mock Draft without having managed to understand what it was. The Mock Draft are nothing more than fictitious drafts where the different NFL specialists will play to sorcerer’s apprentices to try to guess the choices that the teams will make. This little game is very fashionable but ultimately has very little interest as the possibilities are endless.
It is still a nice way to occupy the offseason and you can read TDActu’s one.