The winner of the Super Bowl in 2018, 2020 or even 2027 could be determined by the decisions of a bunch of executives in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Here is what we know about this year’s NFL draft.
When is it?
Round 1 is Thursday at 8 p.m. Rounds 2 and 3 are Friday at 7 p.m. Rounds 4, 5, 6 and 7 are Saturday at noon.
Where can I watch it?
ESPN or NFL Network. Or watch both and don’t miss a thing. Both networks are also streaming the draft online.
After 37 years, Chris Berman will no longer be ESPN’s primary host; Trey Wingo takes over.
Where does it take place?
For the first time since 1961, the draft will be held in Philadelphia, in a purpose-built temporary theater by the Art Museum steps. A sprawling fan festival will extend down Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Major street closures for the draft will virtually shut down big chunks of the city for a week. The draft also coincides with the Penn Relays, another huge local event.
The draft was held in Philadelphia 14 times from 1936 to 1961 at more staid sites like the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel and the blue-blooded Racquet Club.
Expect Philadelphia’s famously frenzied fans to react to their team’s first-round pick with sensible detachment.
Who’s the No. 1 pick?
Myles Garrett, a defensive end from Texas A&M, is expected to be taken by the Cleveland Browns with the top pick. Most scouts see him as a can’t-miss prospect. There are some naysayers, however, including the Hall of Fame defensive lineman Warren Sapp. “I see a lazy kid that makes four plays a game,” he told ESPN. “This is the No. 1 guy? No, no, no. This ain’t even close.”
Who else will be selected high?
There is no consensus over the No. 2 pick, held by the San Francisco 49ers, but among the many candidates are Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore and Louisiana State running back Leonard Fournette.
Who are the top quarterbacks?
Despite having only one season as starter at North Carolina, Mitchell Trubisky has moved to pole position among quarterbacks and should go in the top 10, although exactly where is in dispute.
Deshaun Watson, who led Clemson to the national title, is looked at as a late first-rounder. Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech is also a potential first-rounder.
What about the top college players?
The Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson of Louisville, will not be eligible for the draft until next year. The defensive player of the year, Jonathan Allen of Alabama, should go somewhere in the 5th-10th range in the first round.
What conferences will be most heavily represented?
The Southeastern Conference, of course. The conference could supply up to half of the players in the first round, with four or five from Alabama among them.
Who has the most first-round picks?
The Browns, the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans each have two first-rounders, with the Browns at picks 1 and 12 sitting in the best spot. After a 1-15 season, they could certainly use the help.
Who won’t be picking for a while?
As it stands now, the New England Patriots will be the last team to get to the podium, picking for the first time at No. 72 in the third round. After winning the Super Bowl two of the last three seasons, they don’t really need the help.
How long am I going to have to listen to talking heads and commercials while I wait for the picks?
In the first round, teams have 10 minutes for each pick. That goes down to seven minutes in Round 2, five minutes in Rounds 3 to 6, and four minutes in Round 7.
How big a deal is this?
More than 8 million people will tune in this weekend to watch, not football, but people talking about football and intermittent announcements from a podium about football.
Lots of notable people pay attention to the draft, and many of them can’t resist second-guessing the teams.