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2024 NFL Draft: Here’s how much time there is between first-round picks; how it differs in each round

Sports2024 NFL Draft: Here's how much time there is between first-round picks; how it differs in each round

The Chicago Bears have technically been on the clock for the 2024 NFL Draft since the 2023 NFL season ended, as they have the No. 1 pick. They’ve had the luxury of having months of knowing that they will get to select whomever they want, but in reality, there’s a finite amount of time for teams to submit their pick.

When the draft begins, the teams will have a specific amount of time to submit their selection and it differs depending on which round is currently taking place.

Round 1 kicks off on Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET in Detroit, and will conclude on the same night. It is the only day of the draft that holds just one round and includes 32 selections.

How long is each pick in Round 1

On Thursday, teams will have 10 minutes to make their pick. This is the longest amount of times teams have during the three-day event. Teams do not have to use all 10 minutes if their selection is ready before time expires.

The team with the first pick usually does not actually need all the time, unless it is fielding calls regarding a trade and deciding whether to go ahead with said trade. In many cases, and what is expected this year, the team with the No. 1 pick stays there to get the pick of the bunch.

Down the line is where things get more interesting, as trades happen more frequently later in the night and in later rounds. Teams also have to make tough choices, as the player they wanted may already be off the board. 

How long is each pick in the other rounds

Round 2 and Round 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft will take place on Friday, the second day of the event. Teams will get seven minutes to make their selection in the second round. In Rounds 3-6 they get five minutes for regular or compensatory picks. The action moves a lot quicker in Round 7, where teams have just four minutes to decide the next player they want on their team. 

What happens if a team runs out of time to pick

The NFL football operations official rules page states, “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.” This scenario famously happened during the 2003 draft when the Vikings were caught in the middle of a trade attempt with the No. 6 pick and time expired. They ended up selecting star DT Kevin Williams at No. 9 after the Jaguars and Panthers jumped ahead of them.

How do teams make their picks official

When a team makes their final decision on who they want to take, they tell a team representative, who then writes down the name, position and school on a card. That card is submitted to a “runner,” which is an NFL staff member in charge of transporting the cards. Once the card is in the runner’s hands, that selection becomes official and the clock is reset, putting the next team on the clock. Another runner then heads to the representatives of the next team on the clock, letting them know who was just selected, so they know that person is no longer available.

Once the first runner receives the card, they radio an NFL player personnel representative, who puts the name into a data base that let’s all 32 know who was chosen. The runner is also tasked with bringing the card to the head table, where it is given to vice president of player personnel Ken Fiore. He records the pick after reviewing it for accuracy and gives the name to the broadcast partners, commissioner Roger Goodell and other league or team representatives so the selection can be announced to the public.

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