Sports builds an Individual.
Sports builds a Community.
Sports builds a Society.
Sports builds a TRYBE.

Sports builds an Individual.
Sports builds a Community.
Sports builds a Society.
Sports builds a TRYBE.

Let’s straightaway get into whether the National Football League’s draft system is fair and unbiased or is it a system which is a bit oppressive and severe to the players.

First things first.

WHAT IS NFL DRAFT?

The NFL Draft is a process every potential professional American football player must go through before signing with an NFL franchise. Every year, college seniors with ambitions to play in the NFL apply for entry into the draft pool.

IS THERE AN ORDER IN WHICH THE TEAMS PICK UP PLAYERS? 

The NFL Draft is a process every potential professional American football player must go through before signing with an NFL franchise. Every year, college seniors with ambitions to play in the NFL apply for entry into the draft pool.

The draft order is determined by every team’s record from the previous season. In order to maintain a sense of parity, the worst team from the regular season gets the first pick in the upcoming draft. That team will select an eligible player from the pool of prospects as the first pick of the draft, then the second-worst team will select, and so on. 

The current iteration of the draft has seven rounds of selections. So that’s 7 rounds x 32 teams = 256 picks.

Below is the breakdown of the time allotted for each round, each pick:

Round Day

Time allowed 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

As a result of 256 picks across 7 rounds, not to forget the time allotted to each, NFL Draft is carried out over 3 days (last Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings of April).

Let’s backtrack and figure this.

BENEFITS OF DRAFT SYSTEM AS WE SEE:

  • The Draft considers the wellbeing of the athlete

Firstly, the draft system ensures young athletes earn an education and time for their bodies to mature before turning professional. Every athlete applying to play in the NFL must have enrolled in college for at least three seasons before playing professionally.

  • The Draft helps maintain balance

Secondly, the Draft brings a sense of equality to the sport. It prevents a free-for-all of teams attempting to sign the best prospects without restriction, which would inevitably lead to a sustained disparity among teams. Essentially, the draft limits the rich get richer scenario we often see in other sports. 

The NFL has done an impressive job to keep the league healthy by promoting competition. Fair enough.

BUT…

Is it fair on the top player, coming out of college and looking to start a professional career, to be picked by the worst team (albeit of last season only)?

Additionally, the new employer owns the entirety of the player contract for at least six years. So, the only way a player ends up playing for another employer is if the player is traded to a team decided by the current employer and the player has no say in it too. 

FEELINF A BIT CHOKED?

Question is will the team management (last season’s bottom-most team) be able to maximise number 1 pick’s talent? Will they be able to match his dreams & ambitions? 

Are bad teams generally bad for long stretches, and good teams find ways to be good essentially every year? Or is it down to an optimum balance between players’ skills and coaching staff abilities?

FUN FACT:

19 teams have drafted first (number 1 pick) since Tom Brady and the Patriots won their first Super Bowl(2001), and not a single one of them won a Super Bowl after making that pick. 

DOES THIS FACT MAKE ANY SENSE? IS THERE A TREND TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY HERE?

Another school of thought is that these players are well aware of what they are signing up for. If they aren’t happy with the dynamics, an alternate career is always an option.

From a business point of view, club owners get to control more closely; have power over their players; grab hold of them at under market value for as long as they can. 

Professional sports leagues and clubs run on a particular business model. NFL Draft (along with other US professional sports drafts) is deemed fit within this distinct model. It’s business.

However, will it still be looked at from the same lens if a breakaway league, free of confinement, of ex-players and players gets formed?

 Don’t think so!

 

FUN FACT:

19 teams have drafted first (number 1 pick) since Tom Brady and the Patriots won their first Super Bowl(2001), and not a single one of them won a Super Bowl after making that pick. 

Does this fact make any sense? Is there a trend here to be taken seriously?

Another school of thought is that these players are well aware of what they are signing up for. If they aren’t happy with the dynamics, an alternate career is always an option.

From a business point of view, club owners get to control more closely; have power over their players; grab hold of them at under market value for as long as they can. 

Professional sports leagues and clubs run on a particular business model. NFL Draft (along with other US professional sports drafts) is deemed fit within this distinct model. It’s business.

However, will it still be looked at from the same lens if a breakaway league, free of confinement, of ex-players and players gets formed?

 Don’t think so!