The NFL Draft arrives from April 26 to 28, the opportunity for TDActu to launch a new series of articles in which we will answer the various questions you may have about the NFL and American football in general. On the program for this first issue: what is the Draft?
Unlike classic European sports clubs (especially soccer), NFL teams do not have training centers. 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 Cleveland Browns 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.
Teams also have the option of trading draft rounds to advance to better positions. We see it this year for example with the Jets who gave several choices to climb to third position. The cause of this exchange? A need for a quarterback, of course.
This year, the Browns are entitled to picks 1 and 4 in the first round thanks to the various exchanges they have made in previous years. Unheard of since the Colts had the first two picks in 1992! A huge advantage for building a strong team.
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 Browns will choose first and the Eagles last. The NFL has established these rules (including the Salary Cap which we can talk about in a future article) 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 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. Thus, the Bengals, Cowboys, Packers and Cardinals obtained 4 additional draft picks this year.
Once these 7 draft rounds have passed, the players who showed up and were not selected are considered Undrafted Free Agent. 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. 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.