Whether you’re a seasoned NFL superfan or an NFL novice, chances are you’ve heard of the draft before. If not, we are happy to enlighten you. Essentially, the NFL Draft is the national graduation ceremony for college football’s biggest talents.
It is a three-day selection process that occurs in one city every April. Here, scouts, coaches, and managers from across the world of professional football converge to take their pick from this year’s round of eligible players.
Those chosen will graduate from the ranks of college football into the hallowed halls of the NFL, becoming national treasures and internationally famous athletes in the process.
If you want to find out everything you need to know about the NFL Draft and why it matters, read our handy explainer to find out.
Table of Contents
1. How the NFL Draft Works
First, it’s worth breaking down exactly who is eligible to be drafted into the NFL this year. According to NFL rules, all players must have graduated high school at least three years ago to be eligible.
They also need to have used up their college football scholarship prior to the beginning of the next season. So, in a nutshell, all players who have wrapped up at least four seasons of NCAA football are technically eligible for the NFL Draft.
In April, eligible players and the coaches, scouts, and managers of the NFL will meet in a specific city to begin drafting. Each one of the 32 NFL teams gets one pick per round, with seven rounds in total.
As you might have guessed, the most in-demand talent will usually have been selected by the end of the first round, whittling down to the least in-demand by round seven.
2. The Picking Order Matters
The order in which each player is picked is the most important part of the process. Not only does this have a huge role in the strength of each NFL team, but it can also play a pivotal role in a football player’s career chances.
This latter point is best exemplified by “Mr. Irrelevant.” This is the unfortunate nickname given to whichever player is the last one to be picked in the annual NFL Draft (Pick No. 256).
Very seldom do the final players to be picked end up making the team, let alone enjoy successful NFL careers.
However, it can sometimes happen, as was the case with Tampa Bay Buccaneers placekicker Ryan Succop, who was Mr. Irrelevant in the 2009 NFL Draft.
3. Seven Picks Per Team, Plus Extras
You might be thinking that the selection process seems a little arbitrary. However, it is carefully structured to bestow fair opportunities for every team. The NFL team that gets to pick from the players first is always the team that finished dead last in the previous season.
From here, picks are doled out in ascending order, with the winner of the season getting the final pick in each round. Of course, this only applies to the teams that made the playoffs, meaning that the first 20 selections are chosen this way.
Picks 21-24 go to those eliminated in the wild card rounds. Meanwhile, picks 25-24 go to the divisional round, while picks 29-30 are given to the conference round.
As you might have guessed, the Super Bowl runner-up gets 31, while the winner gets the final pick. However, that’s not all. On top of the seven picks per team that this adds up to, some can also have extra picks.
These are known as “compensatory free agent” picks. This is a way to give an extra hand to teams that lost star players due to free agency in the previous season.
4. Trades Are Also Essential
Many people do not realize that the actual “drafting” part is only one component of the NFL Draft. The other is trading.
From the very second that the draft begins, all teams are free to negotiate with each other, and engage in so-called “pick for player” trades at will. This means that many NFL teams will trade some of their top existing players in exchange for first-round picks.
While this can be an effective way to scoop up emerging talent, it also provides teams with an opportunity to add some star power to their roster. You can also engage in “pick-for-pick” trades, wherein NFL teams exchanges their new picks for another team’s picks.
As you can imagine, this whole process takes place behind closed doors, with a serious amount of hard-nosed negotiations and plenty of scheming to boot.
5. What About the 2023 Draft?
Whether you’re a sports betting fan or just have a deep love of the sport, you’ll want to get to grips with the 2023 Draft that will shape the season ahead. This year’s draft will take place on April 27-29 at the Kansas City Union Station.
While the playoffs are still ongoing, meaning that we do not know the exact picking order for each of the teams, we do know some of the key facts. Some of the top quarterbacks picks this year include TCU’s Max Duggan, Brigham Young’s Jaren Hall, and Stanford’s Tanner McKee.
For betting fans looking to get their strategy in order ahead of the upcoming season, it’s best to use a sportsbook that offers NFL picks today based on these important draft odds and considerations.
We know that this could shape up to be one of the most intense drafts in years since the roster of NCAA talent is absolutely exceptional in 2023.
Master the Sports You Love
The NFL Draft is the cornerstone of America’s most beloved sport. Anyone wishing to get to grips with football should understand these five things about the draft.
If you want more essential, accessible information to help you master the sports you love, we have got you covered.
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