The 2012 NFL Draft begins tonight at 7PM on ESPN, and with the recent release of the 2012 NFL schedule it’s officially time to talk football. Yes, it’s only April, but football, these days, really is a year round sport.
The NFL Draft is the annual event each April where teams take turns adding players to their roster. Each team looks at the Draft for different reasons; to finally land their franchise quarterback, to give their quarterback that #1 wide receiver he needs, to solidify that last position they need for a deep playoff run, and more.
Even if you are not a die-hard NFL fan, the Draft is still fun to watch because it is so personalized. Many times the draftee and his entire extended family are huddled together in their home with cameras on them waiting to see how early – or how late their son will be drafted. For the guys that already know (or think they know) they will be one of the first round draft picks, they are physically on-site and dressed to the nines.
Players sit nervously with their agents, parents and GFs, in custom-made suits waiting to hear their name called. Once they are chosen by a team, they head up to the stage, shake hands with NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and have that famous picture wearing their new team’s hat.
The first and most watched round of the NFL Draft takes place Thursday night, April 26 on ESPN. The first round is the most exciting because everyone wants to see who gets drafted first and who is left to sweat it out and wait the rest of the Draft. The second and third rounds are on Friday night, April 27th, followed by rounds 4-7 all day Saturday, all on ESPN. This year’s draft takes place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
What You Need to Know:
- The selection order is based on each team’s win-loss record in the previous season. Teams that didn’t make the playoffs the previous season are ranked in reverse order of their records. The team with the fewest wins picks first. This year, that would be the lowly Colts, who, without MVP quarterback Peyton Manning, finished 2-14. Ties between teams with the same record are determined through a series of tiebreakers.
- Teams that reached the playoffs the previous season are then slotted in the order in which they were eliminated (with specific rules for slotting, and same tiebreakers apply). The New York Giants as reigning Super Bowl Champs will pick last in the first round, at No. 32. For the most part, the selection order then remains the same for subsequent rounds (with some exceptions among playoff teams “cycling” their picks).
- One team is always “on the clock”, meaning it’s their turn to make a pick. Teams are given 10 minutes in Round 1 to make their pick, this drops to 7 minutes in the second round, and five minutes in Rounds 3-7.
- Teams can negotiate with one another both before and during the draft and this is called trading up (or down). That’s why even though the 2-14 St. Louis Rams had the No. 2 pick, you’ll see the Washington Redskins slotted to pick No. 2, through their trade. Or why the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots have two picks in the first round and the Saints don’t have any.
Your Take Away Piece:
“There doesn’t look to be too many surprises at the top of this year’s draft. The top 5 picks by most of the experts all look the same, with the two big name quarterbacks going 1-2. Andrew Luck from Stanford to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 1 and Robert Griffin III (known as RG3) from Baylor to the Redskins at No. 2. Once you get past the first five picks though, it’s much more up in the air.”
What to Watch For From the Bears:
The Bears hold the No. 19 overall selection and have a total of 7 picks this year. Everyone has an opinion on who the Bears should take first, but I’d personally like to see them take Whitney Mercilus, the defensive end from Illinois.
The NFC North is now ruled by great quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers on the Packers, Matthew Stafford on the Lions, and of course Jay Cutler on the Bears) and a bookend pass rusher to Julius Peppers would be a smart move for the Bears. Although if Michael Floyd, the wide receiver from Notre Dame is still somehow on the board, he’d be worth a good long look as well. Every quarterback wants more weapons and Floyd would be the perfect compliment to Brandon Marshall, the big wide receiver the Bears picked up from Miami this past off- season. Let’s just hope they find impact players who can contribute to the team immediately, regardless of the position they play.