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NFL - US Sports: All You Need To Know about the NFL Draft

It's hope season in the NFL as teams prepare for this year's edition of the draft, an event that offers franchises the chance to change their fate in one night.

The draft is the opportunity teams have been waiting for to refresh their rosters with the best talent to emerge from the college system that year, with the ultimate goal being to snare the next NFL superstar to come off the production line. Nearly every great player has come through the draft and there's often gold to be found in the later rounds with a certain Tom Brady having been drafted 199th overall in 2000.

It's a chance for teams to tip the balance of power in the league back in their favour and that potential to go from no-hopers into future Super Bowl contenders in a matter of hours is what makes the draft one of the great NFL events of the year.

How the NFL Draft works

Draft weekend is the culmination of months of work, starting with college players declaring their eligibility to be entered into the draft before the scouts set about assessing the players via game film from their college days, alongside in-person workouts and interviews.

All that data and information is what forms the basis of a team's draft strategy as they go about filling in holes on their respective rosters, starting from the first round on Thursday.

The draft is broken up into seven rounds with each team initially getting one pick in each round. The number of picks each team has can change via trades for existing players; for example, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs have 12 picks in this year's draft, while the Miami Dolphins only have four.

The order in which teams select players in the draft is based on their records from the previous season, with the franchise that had the worst overall record getting the first pick, the team with the second-worst record getting the second pick and so on unless the order has been changed via trades.

Once on the clock, teams have ten minutes to submit their picks in the first round, with the time between picks decreasing as the rounds tick down. In total, 262 players will be drafted between Thursday and Saturday.

Where is the 2022 NFL Draft?

This year's draft comes from Las Vegas with the event taking place just off The Strip from 28th-30th April.

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Who will be the No.1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Being the first overall pick in the draft is an honour and one that's traditionally reserved for quarterbacks. Since the very first draft in 1936, a quarterback has been the first player off the draft board 34 times, including in each of the last four drafts.

However, that streak should end this year with the Jacksonville Jaguars in possession of the No.1 pick for the second straight draft. Last year, the Jags took quarterback Trevor Lawrence so are unlikely to take another QB, with defensive end Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan 20/37 to be taken with the first pick.

However, rumours have circulated suggesting the Jaguars could instead go for another defensive in Georgia's Travon Walker, who is 8/5 to be taken first overall.

Which NFL Draft class was the best?

There's plenty of debate over which class - the term used to describe all the players drafted in a specific year - is the best. The class of 1983 is widely recognised as having had the best crop of players with eight future hall of farmers, including the likes of John Elway and Dan Marino, drafted that year.

The 1957 class produced nine members of the NFL's hall of fame, including the great Jim Brown, while the 2004 draft arguably contained the best group of quarterbacks seen in the 21st century in Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger.

Can players decline to be drafted?

Technically a player can refuse to sign with the team that drafted him but it is a rare occurrence. Once a team selects a player, they then own the right to sign that individual for one year, up until the following draft when a player is eligible to re-enter and be drafted once more.

A player sitting out a whole year and re-entering the draft would be highly unusual and what tends to happen instead is that they are traded away. Two of the most high profile refusals and subsequent trades of a rookie involved Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks John Elway and Eli Manning.

Elway refused to play for the then Baltimore Colts when selected first overall in the 1983 draft, threatening to quit football and take up baseball before being traded to the Denver Broncos. 21 years later and Manning pulled a similar stunt, refusing to sign with the San Diego Chargers after being taken No.1. He would eventually be traded to the New York Giants.

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