Football 101 For Fun ~ The NFL Draft
The 2012 NFL draft is today. We sure have come a long way since the first NFL draft in 1936, but one thing remains the same – it is the first NFL event of the season and gives us a little peek at what’s to come. For those of you who find it overwhelming, let’s see if I can break it down to a simpler science.
First, imagine a playground. Now imagine that playground has every guy playing college football (and some that are not playing, but I will try not to go there). Now it’s time to pick who you want on your team. Simple right? You just need to follow some rules.
First, everyone must take turns. Your turn is based on a few things. There are seven rounds, each round has 32 picks (one for each NFL team). This allows each team 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 picks can be traded to other teams. Also, the NFL can award additional picks to a team if the team loses players designated as restricted free agents. So, there are 32 teams and each team can have zero or more turns. This year the Chargers have 8 total picks. A pick in each round an an extra in the 7th.
Each team’s draft position is reverse with the success they had the previous season. So, the team who had the worst record, this year it’s the Colts, gets first pick. 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 record.
If teams share the same record, there are the criteria for breaking ties including strength of schedule ( combined win-loss record of opponents), divisional and conference records and if all else fails, the good old coin toss.
This is already seeming complicated. Okay, so now that the teams know what order they are going to be picking in how do they decide who to pick. They actually spend months and months looking at statistics, watching player videos and interviewing players. They also have an opportunity to get very close and personal with the players at a special camp called the Combine. This is basically where all of the players show their stuff and are ranked for the draft.
Now that each team knows their order, they make a wish list of players that they would like to draft. They huddle up on draft day and based on their need and the players the other teams pick they get to draft the players they want. These players will be obligated to sign with the team who drafts them.
After that it’s money talk, contract is signed and the newly drafted player joins the team. Simple right? Enjoy the draft!