NFL Draft News – How It All Works

The National Football League stylized as the NFL is a professional American football league that was formed in 1920. It was initially called the American Professional Football Association APFA before being renamed as the NFL two years later in 1922. The NFL is made up of 32 teams and these are divided equally into two conferences which are the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference.

It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the highest level of professional American football. During its 17-week regular season which runs from September to December, each team in the league plays 16 games with one week off. This week is referred to as bye week. You can read all about the NFL here.

At the end of each season, four division winners and two wild card teams from each conference will advance to the playoffs which is a tournament that culminates into the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is played as the final game of the season between the winners of the two conferences on the first Sunday of each February.

Every April, each National Football League team has an opportunity to refresh its roster by bringing on new players. Teams in the NFL can develop their team roster by either signing a free agent, which is a player that is not attached to any team, or by trading a player for another with another team. Finally, they can also draft in college players who are eligible.

The NFL draft which can also be called the Player Selection Meeting is a multi-day annual event that is, it happens over several days. All NFL teams take turns in selecting players that are available for the draft. That is, they basically recruit players to join their teams.

This tradition started in 1936 and has since been a yearly thing. It has evolved over the years so has its rules and format. Previously, it was a 30 round event but has now been whittled down to just 7 rounds. Each of the teams is represented and gets assigned a draft pick for each of the rounds. Asides the initial picks, there are also 32 compensatory selections to qualified teams. In total, 256 draft slots are available based on a 32 team league.

How it works

Teams in the National Football League are each given a position in the drafting order. The order is based on each team’s record and playoff finish in the previous year. The order for teams that did not make the playoffs is based on their overall season’s record with the worst team getting the first position while for those who made the playoff, the picks are ordered by their playoff record. Losing teams get lower picks depending on which round they got eliminated. Also, for playoff teams that were ousted in the same round, the order is based on their regular-season record and the winners of the Super Bowl get to pick last.

An average round of the NFL draft consists of 32 picks approximately allowing each team a pick per round. In some rounds, some teams might have more than one pick while some others will not have any picks in that round. Picks can be traded between teams so picks per team may vary. Also, the NFL may give additional picks to teams especially when they lose designated restricted free agents. You can check out a detailed explanation of the process here:

Common terms used in a draft are “exclusive rights free agent”, “free agent”, “restricted agent” and “undrafted free agent”.

Exclusive Rights Free Agent

A player falls into this category when they have played for a team for no more than 2 years and their contract expires. If their current team makes an offer which meets the required minimum, such a player must either accept it or not play that entire season.

Unrestricted Free Agent

A free agent is a player who is not attached to any team due to an expired contract and can sign for a new team. Such a player must have completed at least four cumulative seasons with the team upon the expiration of his contract to become a free agent.

Restricted Free Agent

This on the other hand describes a player whose contract has also elapsed but has only accumulated three or less seasons with the team. Another team can make an offer for him and current team can decide to match the offer. Suppose they decide not to match the offer, they may receive a draft choice as compensation.

Undrafted Free Agent

This describes qualified players who have received no offers. These ones are free to negotiate any interested team.

Compensatory picks are awarded to teams based on the net loss of their restricted free agents by the NFL. There are only 4 compensatory picks per team.

To be eligible, players must have been out of high school for a minimum of three years. There is also a supplemental draft during summer where players who did not feature in the draft but are academically ineligible can be drafted. Also, any player that could not sign for any team can be drafted the next year.

It’s the year 2020 and pretty soon, the NFL draft will be live. If you are a lover of football and you want to know all about it, follow all the NFL draft news, player selections and picks, team news, and all the action leading up to the event.

The event is held in a different city each year and a host city is chosen after a round of bidding. 2020 is the 85th edition of the event and it will hold from April 23 -25 at Las Vegas in Nevada. For this draft, the Cincinnati Bengals will be the team to select the first overall pick.

Marcelo Villa

About Marcelo Villa

Marcelo is an associate editor at The Sports Daily, and has covered the San Diego Chargers for Bleacher Report. He also writes for Sportsdirect Inc.