The First Round of the NFL Draft Is a Movie-Length Event in and of Itself


Apr. 27 2023, Published 10:55 a.m. ET

NFL helmets lined up in a row.
Source: Getty Images

Although the football season only occupies roughly a third of the calendar year, die-hard NFL fans always find something new to look forward to. Recently, those fans have been looking forward to the NFL draft, which kicks off at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 27.

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Before that draft commences, though, and we discover who each team is going to take with their picks, some are wondering exactly how long the first round of the draft usually takes.

NFL uniforms lined up on mannequins
Source: Getty Images
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How long does the first round of the NFL draft take?

The first round of the NFL draft is the only round that takes place on April 27. That means that the first 32 picks will all happen after the draft kicks off. 32 picks is a decent number, which is why the first round usually takes about four hours to complete. That number can vary based on what exactly happens in each particular draft, but the first round is scheduled to run until midnight ET.

How long does each team have to have to pick in the NFL draft?

Each team gets 10 minutes per pick in the NFL draft. That means after a pick is made, the next team has 10 minutes to select their prospect and make their selection official. Drafts can also involve a fair amount of backroom dealing and trading, so it's possible that the draft order heading into the night will not be the order in which players are actually picked.

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That's especially true this year, as players have seemed to rise and fall on many draft boards based on additional analysis and scrutiny. The 2023 draft is shaping up to be even more unpredictable than it usually is, and there are plenty of teams who have a lot riding on who they wind up taking in this draft. That includes a number of quarterback prospects that could wind up being drafted early in the night.

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Subsequent rounds of the draft take place over the next few days.

Although the first round of the draft is confined to April 27, subsequent rounds sprawl out over the following few days, and the draft doesn't conclude until April 29. Round 2 will begin at 7 p.m. ET on April 28, and the draft is expected to run well into Saturday.

Source: Twitter/@NFL
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While the most attention is often paid to the picks that are made early on in the night and throughout the first round, it's important to remember that a number of great players have been selected later on in the draft. Jalen Hurts, who is now the highest paid player in the sport, was not taken by the Eagles until the second round.

Tom Brady was taken even later than that. The picks that get made on draft night can be wildly unpredictable, but what's even more unpredictable is the future of each of these players inside the NFL. Draft day is certainly exciting, but it's just the beginning of the road for all of these players as they make the leap into professional sports.

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