NFL Draft 101: How the Selection Process Works

NFL Draft 101: How the Selection Process Works

The NFL Draft is a three-day event in which the league’s 32 teams select from a pool of elite college football players. NFL teams can develop their rosters in three ways: by signing free-agents, trading players or the Draft. The NFL Draft is the League’s most common source of player recruitment, so it’s no wonder why it’s so highly revered by fans. The draft follows a simple format, placing the teams in a specific order, allowing them to build upon their draft picks. Let’s take a closer look at how the selection process works.

The draft is a crucial component for all franchises. Draft order is determined by each team’s record at the end of the season. The team with the worst record in the previous season gets first pick during the draft–followed by second worst and so on. If two teams share the same record at the end of the season, the NFL follows the criteria below to break the tie:

  • Strength of Schedule – refers to the combined win-loss record of the teams they played the previous season
  • Divisional and Conference records
  • A good ole fashioned coin toss

NFL Draft Terminology

“On the Clock” – During the draft, while deciding which player to select, the drafting team is referred to as being “on the clock.”