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2021 NFL Draft: How long is each round at the Draft?

2018 NFL Draft
2018 NFL Draft
ANALYST
Modified 29 Apr 2021
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Every NFL team has a chance to begin a new dynasty, crammed full of elite rookie talent, each year at the NFL Draft.

Some draftees come in and make an immediate impact: the likes of Vikings WR Justin Jefferson and Washington DE Chase Young last season, for example.

Others don't exactly live up to their billing in year one; some never do, and more than a few take several years to get going.

But every team and player involved has a chance at success during the draft. Hope is in the air. I think that's the beauty of the whole thing.

The NFL Draft has changed a lot over the years. As new tournaments, divisions, and franchise teams have entered and exited the foray, the league has had to implement new rules to keep things fair.

One rule put in place to ensure fair play is the draft clock.

How long is each round at the NFL Draft?

2018 NFL Draft
2018 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft takes place over three days (Thursday - Saturday) each spring. This year's event is scheduled for April 29 - May 1 -- less than a week away!

Beginning at 8 pm Eastern time, the first round generally goes down on Thursday. There are 32 picks per round, but depending on trades, etc., this doesn't necessarily mean that every team will make a pick. For instance, in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, the Rams, Seahawks, and Texans won't be on the clock at all in the first round, having surrendered their picks in trades.

Regardless, each team has 10 minutes to make their pick and, typically, the said team/ network takes its sweet time about it. Cynical fans (which is basically all of us) say it it's to draw out the suspense before commissioner Goodell takes to the stage to announce the pick.

So to answer the question of how long each round at the NFL draft is, well, the first round could potentially last for as long as five hours and 20 minutes (32 picks x 10 mins), though it rarely does go on that long.

The second and third rounds take place on Friday. Franchise teams get seven minutes to select their desired draftee in the second round, meaning this round can last for up to about three and a half hours.

Rounds four to seven are on Saturday and, as with round three, teams are given five minutes to select their next rookie star, so these rounds tend to last up to two hours and 40 minutes.

Picks need to be made within a four-minute time limit in round seven. As a result, the final round of the NFL Draft tends to last for just over two hours.

Also Read: How to watch NFL Draft 2021

What happens if a team doesn't make its pick in time at the NFL Draft?

Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings

On this matter, NFL.com states the following:

"If a team lets its time expire without making a choice, it can make a selection later — but it runs the risk of letting the next team on the clock take the player it was considering."

A team rarely fails to beat the clock at the draft, but it does happen sometimes. The most famous example of this was in the 2003 draft when the Vikings tried to trade down using their No.7 pick but ran out of time. The Jaguars and the Panthers jumped in ahead of the Vikings, who ended up taking the No.9 overall pick instead, Kevin Williams.

The defensive tackle went on to have a superb career in Minnesota, so no harm was done, thankfully.

Also check out: What channel is the NFL Draft on today?

Published 23 Apr 2021
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