Home » How long is each pick in the NFL Draft? Explaining time limits by round and what happens when clock runs out | Sporting News United Kingdom

How long is each pick in the NFL Draft? Explaining time limits by round and what happens when clock runs out | Sporting News United Kingdom

The 2024 NFL Draft is here, and you might have questions on how all of this works.

The draft will kick off with the first round on Thursday, April 25 and continue through Saturday, April 27. Thursday is reserved only for the first round, with Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday.

The Bears are on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick, but how long will they have to make a selection?

The Sporting News has you covered on that answer along with any others you might have on the rules and structure of the NFL Draft below.

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How long is each pick in the NFL Draft?

The amount of time each team has to make a pick changes based on the round. You can find the time length for each pick by round below.

Round Day Time for each pick
Round 1 Thursday 10 minutes
Round 2 Friday 7 minutes
Round 3 Friday 5 minutes
Round 4 Saturday 5 minutes
Round 5 Saturday 5 minutes
Round 6 Saturday 5 minutes
Round 7 Saturday 4 minutes

How long does the first round of the NFL Draft take?

The NFL Draft spans three days, with the first round beginning on Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET. The first-round broadcast usually runs until 11 p.m. ET.

The draft continues on Friday, April 26 for Rounds 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. ET and concludes around 11 p.m. ET, again.

Teams resume making picks on Saturday, April 27 at noon ET. The draft typically concludes sometime around 6 or 7 p.m. ET depending on how long teams take to make their later-round picks.

That means there are roughly 14 hours of NFL teams on the clock from Thursday to Saturday.

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How many rounds are in the NFL Draft?

There are seven rounds in the NFL Draft.

The standard is 32 picks in each round, but that number can differ based on other variables.

For example, the Dolphins did not have a first-round pick in 2023 as a penalty for violating the league’s tampering rules.

There are also “compensatory picks” in the NFL Draft, which award teams with extra selections in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh rounds for losing particular players in free agency.

How many picks are in the NFL Draft?

The number of picks in the NFL Draft varies year to year because of compensatory picks.

There will be 257 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.

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What happens if teams run out of time at NFL Draft?

In 2003, the Vikings learned the hard way that if you don’t deliver your selection in time, your pick is skipped until you submit your card.

Minnesota had the No. 7 pick in the 2003 NFL Draft and said it agreed to a trade with the Ravens to acquire their No. 10 pick, along with a fourth-rounder and sixth-rounder.

The Vikings called in the trade to Joel Bussert, the NFL’s vice president of player personnel, but Baltimore’s call never went through to finalize the deal. The Ravens’ call went unanswered, according to then-general manager Ozzie Newsome.

“The deal was not consummated,” Newsome said, according to ESPN’s story on the historic draft moment. “A deal is not a deal until I talk to Joel Bussert, and I never talked to Joel Bussert.”

Minnesota was skipped by the Jaguars, who took QB Byron Leftwich at No. 7, and the Panthers, who took OT Jordan Gross at No. 8, before finally submitting its pick.

The Vikings still landed the player they wanted, DT Kevin Williams, at No. 9, but they ran the risk of having their target picked ahead of them because the timer ran out at No. 7.

Other NFL Draft rules to know

NFL Draft eligibility

In order to be eligible for the NFL Draft, a prospect must be at least three years removed from high school.

“To be eligible for the draft, players must have been out of high school for at least three years and 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,” according to the NFL Draft rulebook.

Players are draft-eligible only in the year after the end of their college eligibility. 

What is a compensatory pick?

“Under the terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, the league can assign as many as 32 additional “compensatory free agent” picks, which allows clubs that have lost free agents to another team to use the draft to try to fill the void. The awarded picks take place at the end of the third through seventh round,” according to the NFL’s draft rule book.

Compensatory free agents are determined by a “proprietary formula, developed by the NFL Management Council,” which considers a player’s salary, playing time, and postseason honors.