After the Spring hiatus following the Super Bowl win and the glory of the Kansas City Chiefs’ third win, we’re back to business and it starts with the annual NFL Draft.
It’s the 88th edition of this high-profile Football event which sees teams across the franchise compete to complete their teams for the forthcoming season.
How many rounds? How many picks? How many do each team get? What do the teams need going into the new season? Who needs a Quarterback?
We’re going to try and demystify this three-day event and what’s at stake for the teams.
What’s the Draft?
It’s an annual meeting where the teams in the NFL franchise trade and recruit players to their teams.
The draft shakes up the order of the franchise’s teams, helps teams shop around to rebuild their roster and also gives weaker teams a level of parity or even a slight advantage going into the new season.
The draft will take place in Kansas City this Thursday evening.
Where do the Players come from?
Players are recruited from THREE main channels;
Free Agent Signings: are players whose contract has effectively expired and they are Free Agents on the market seeking to sign with a new team.
Player Trades: which take place between teams for other players. These can take place before the Draft (Pre-Draft) and during the Draft.
College Players: Those with college football experience and are a minimum of three years clear of colleague. They have declared that they are eligible to be in the NFL draft
Players must have spent a minimum of three years out of or having graduated from a college and played college football in the United States.
There are exceptions where some players are selected from other football leagues like the Canadian Football League or even the German Football League.
There are also some small examples of players being selected from different sports entirely, like Basketball.
How’s the Draft done?
Teams are ranked on the Draft Order based on performance during the previous season. This order of best to worst is then reversed so that the teams that performed worst in the season, will go FIRST and the teams that performed best go LAST.
The order will list the 32 teams from worst record in the Regular Season (1 – 20) to those eliminated in the Playoff Rounds (Wildcard (21 – 24), Divisional (25 – 28), Conference (29 – 30), Super Bowl Runner Up and Super Bowl Winner (31 – 32)).
If there are tie-breaker situations with teams on similar win-loss records, the NFL will decide their position based on a series of criteria connected to their performance.
These positions are not set in stone. Teams can also trade their positions in each Round in exchange for other draft positions or players or a mix of both.
Take for example the Chicago Bears (3 – 14). They were supposed to be FIRST in the FIRST Round but they ended up trading the No:1 selection position to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for the Wide Receiver DJ Moore.
How many Picks?
Each team gets SEVEN draft picks per year, that’s ONE per Round.
Much like trading their positions in the Rounds, they can also trade their picks which means they can either have less or more than seven, spread across the Rounds.
There are also additional draft picks which are called Compensatory Picks. These award teams with more if they lose players due to Free Agency.
Picks for Losses
These Compensatory Picks can range from ONE to FOUR additional picks which can be used between the THIRD and SEVENTH rounds.
These are generally awarded before the Draft takes place and they are given on the gap that an outgoing player will have on a team, based on their salary and prestige.
A third means of acquiring more Draft Picks comes from the 2020 Resolution JC-2A, which awards teams with up to THREE additional picks if they recruited, worked with and then hired out minority candidates in top management positions in the club.
How many Picks this year?
In the 2023 Draft, there are 259 Draft Picks. That includes 37 compensatory picks which are positioned between the third and seventh rounds.
Seven in the FIRST, One in the FOURTH, 11 in the FIFTH, Eight in the SIXTH and 10 in the SEVENTH.
Who’s got what?
Rather than an exhaustive list, here’s a snapshot of who has what.
The Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders and Green Bay Packers each have 12 picks, the most picks in the draft this year.
The Super Bowl winner, Kansas City Chiefs, has 10 picks, while the Runner-up, Philadelphia Eagles, only has six.
The Miami Dolphins has four picks throughout the seven Rounds.
How many Rounds?
There are seven Rounds in the Draft.
Round 1 takes place Thursday
Rounds 2 – 3 takes place Friday
Rounds 4 – 7 takes place on Saturday
The Carolina Panthers will open the trade and the Houston Texans will close it.
What do the teams need?
We certainly don’t have time to go through every single team requirement and we don’t think you want to sit through an exhaustive list. We’ll take a couple of teams and see what they could use in the next season.
As you might expect, no team is equal and their needs are indeed different both in terms of impact and depth.
Some have pressing issues with needing to rebuild their rosters and others need special attention in certain areas.
Were they arguably the worst roster of the 2022/23 season?
According to the pundits, Cardinals need to get new blood into the roster and replace key positions like Cornerback and Defensive End which were vacated by Byron Murphy Jr and Zach Allen, respectively.
The key will be adding players that can create impact from the get-go.
They have eight picks in the Draft. These positions should be top of their list to fill: EDGE, DT, CB, IOL, WR.
Los Angeles Rams
Much like the Cardinals, the Rams need a roster injection. The latest season was a far cry from their team that won the Super Bowl LVI.
They need to rebuild. They need young talent and expansive depth. Thankfully they have 11 picks in the Draft although none are in Round One.
Defensive options and a potential Quarterback backup for 35-year-old Matthew Stafford, should be on the shopping list.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
First and foremost, the Bucs have technically filled in Tom Brady’s QB role with the newly signed Baker Mayfield. As QB1, Mayfield will also feel Kyle Trask chomping at the bit to compete for the spot.
However, pundits argue that neither should be considered the long-term QB for Bucs and thus they should consider extra strings.
The team also needs to look at candidates for Offensive Tackle since Donovan Smith was released.
The Quarterback race
Quarterbacks are like the Cadillacs of the forthcoming season, according to pundits. The First Round of the Draft is going to be battleground for teams out to snap up next season’s signal-callers.
The Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions and Las Vegas Raiders are among the suitors with Quarterbacks on their shopping list.
Indianapolis Colts vs Tennessee Titans
This is just one of the interesting competitions that’s likely to spill out, and it’s between division rivals; Indianapolis Colts vs Tennessee Titans.
The Colts have been entertaining getting a young Quarterback and have duly met with some prospective signal-callers CJ Stroud, Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson. The one that’s generating the most interest and thus competition surrounds Will Levis.
Both Colts and Titans are interested, and the pundits foresee a fight over him.