The NFL Draft has seven rounds where, at some point, all 32 teams will make selections in a specific order, adding talented rookies to their roster. The number of picks in each round varies by round and year, and the number of players invited to the NFL Draft also varies. Below, we’ll look at how many players were invited to this year’s NFL Draft and how the process works.
How Many Players Get Invited to the NFL Draft?
The number of players who get drafted to the NFL Draft varies from year to year and is dependent on the type of class and projections for it. Ideally, the NFL would like to have 30-40 players in attendance so that each of the 32 teams (or however many teams hold first-round picks) have a player walk across the stage on draft night.
Typically, the NFL will invite likely first- and second-round players. The first night of the draft is an opportunity for the NFL to put its gift of pageantry to work. Having the consensus top players of the draft in attendance allows for the league to showcase its next generation. Think Hunger Games but without Jennifer Lawrence. It’s all about the show.
When a player attends but is drafted later than expected, real-time drama is created. Think back to when Brady Quinn sat there pick after pick once the Dolphins drafted Ted Ginn Jr., and his family looked very distressed because his name had not been called yet.
Or, who can forget Aaron Rogers sliding all the way to the 20s after spending most of the pre-draft process in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick?
How Many Players Are Drafted in Each Round of the NFL Draft?
The number of players drafted in each round of the NFL Draft varies. The first round almost always has 32 picks. From there, it can differ as the compensatory pick formula gets factored in, and teams earn additional picks due to the loss of free agents, the hiring of minorities, or other reasons.
At times, there can even be fewer than 32 picks in the first round if teams have been penalized for cheating, like the Miami Dolphins were entering this year’s draft for tampering with Tom Brady.
How Do You Declare for the NFL Draft?
There are certain eligibility requirements for being able to declare for the NFL Draft. While some may believe the rules are arcane and outdated at this point (we see you, Marvin Harrison Jr. stans), they are strictly upheld and limit the number of players who actually become “draft eligible.” Just ask Maurice Clarett.
The rules of eligibility are as follows:
- Players must have been out of high school for at least three years
- Players must have used up their college eligibility before the start of the next college football season
- Underclassmen and players who have graduated before using all their college eligibility may request the league’s approval to enter the draft early
Players who meet those criteria are permitted to declare for the draft. Once they do, they can sign an agent and commence with the pre-draft process.
From there, it is up to team and league personnel departments to ensure all players are draft eligible when they compete in college all-star games like the Senior or Shrine Bowl. This also includes pro days and official team visits and even extends to the night of the draft to ensure every name called is, in fact, draft-eligible.
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