Seven rounds. Three days. Hundreds of promising collegiate football players fulfilling lifelong dreams, and for fans, perhaps contributing to fulfilling their dreams of a Super Bowl title.
The 2022 NFL Draft is upon us, airing from April 28-30 to cover every single round and a total of 262 picks spread amongst the 32 clubs.
The seven-round marathon
This year’s NFL Draft will take place in Las Vegas starting on April 28 at 8pm EST. The first day of the draft covers only the first round, with the first overall pick going to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rounds two and three of the draft follow the next day, starting at 7pm on April 29. Then a lot of players you’re probably not as familiar with fill up the final day, with the final four rounds wrapping up the draft starting at noon on April 30.
How to watch
You might surprised to hear this, but the 2022 NFL Draft will be broadcast live on ESPN and the NFL Network.
Both broadcasts will feature a smorgasbord of talking heads and hairdos (or, in some cases, no hair at all) with a bounty of intricate statistics, flashy graphics, and of course, bizarre attribute names as they all try to tell us their insider information and best guesses as to why a team’s pick was, or was not, a good one.
If watching on the telly isn’t your thing, the entire draft will also air on the NFL and ESPN mobile apps and stream online via NFL.com, ABC.go.com, and ESPN.com. You could also follow the picks live on the NFL website or get ahead of the game and make sure Adam Schefter’s Twitter feed is refreshing on your phone or computer often. Picks have a habit of getting out on social media before they’re announced.
The majority of people tune in for the first round of the draft on April 29, as we all want to know who will be the first quarterback taken in the draft. This year’s crop is not billed as highly as last year’s, but many see Malik Willis of Liberty, Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh, Matt Corral of Mississippi, and Cincinnati’s Desmond Riddler as the likeliest to get selected in the first round or soon after.
Following the first pick by Jacksonville, the second and third picks go to moribund franchises the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans, respectively. The NFL Draft does not feature any lottery type system like the NBA, as the team with the worst record the season before is awarded the top pick, and on through the standings in reverse order to determine the rest of the picks. The teams that qualified for the playoffs are seeded a bit differently, however, as a team with a worse record can wind up with a later pick if they advance deep into the playoffs, as was the case this year with the two Super Bowl competitors, the Cincinnati Bengals and the champion Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams notoriously traded away a lot of high picks to accumulate some of the talent that helped put them over the top in the top game to bring home the Super Bowl LVI this year. In fact, their first pick this year falls in the third round, with the 104th overall pick, which is a compensatory selection (meaning they were awarded it due to losing a qualifying free agent to another team), with the Lions and the Denver Broncos getting their first, second, and third round picks in deals for quarterback Matthew Stafford (first) and linebacker Von Miller (second and third), respectively.
Mock—yeah (sing it)
If mock drafts are your thing, you’re in luck, as there are oodles of them across the webisphere.
One of my favorites, both graphically and with the stylized tiers of information available, is the one available at theringer.com by Danny Kelly mostly, with some help from Danny Heifetz. Another downloadable, nearly overwhelming mass of text is expertly brought to you by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, very aptly named The Beast.
Of course, longtime football fans will recall the days of Sports Illustrated providing some of the only draft info you could get your hands on before it ran rampant on the internet, and it has deftly kept up its coverage to this day. Its mock draft and coverage falls under the MMQB nowadays, even though its founder (Peter King) has moved on to NBCsports.com.