If there's been a football-sized hole in your heart since the Los Angeles Rams prevailed over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI, fear not — the annual NFL draft begins Thursday night, meaning smack talk for next season has officially entered the chat. Here's everything you need to know before the selection process starts:
How and when do I watch it?
Round 1 of the 2022 draft will begin on Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. ET. Rounds 2-3 and 4-7 will follow on Friday and Saturday, beginning at 7 p.m. ET and 12 p.m. ET, respectively.
All three rounds will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, and the NFL Network, but can also be streamed on the NFL and ESPN apps.
Where is this year's draft? Is it virtual?
The city of Las Vegas will host the 2022 draft after its 2020 appointment was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2015, the NFL relocated the draft from New York, where it had held the event since 1965, and "began taking bids for different host cities," writes The New York Times. Kansas City, Missouri, is set to host in 2023.
Twenty prospects will attend the draft in person; others can participate remotely, like prospective first overall pick Travon Walker. Among those slated to make a Vegas appearance are Aidan Hutchinson, an edge rusher from the University of Michigan; Kayvon Thibodeaux, a pass rusher from the University of Oregon; and Ikem Ekwonu, an offensive tackle from North Carolina State.
What's the order?
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the first of this year's 262 picks (for the second year in a row), as well as the most picks in the entire draft (alongside the Kansas City Chiefs — both teams have 12 each). The Miami Dolphins, meanwhile, have the fewest picks after having traded for Chiefs' wide receiver Tyreek Hill last month.
The first 10 picks are as follows:
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- New York Jets
- New York Giants
- Carolina Panthers
- New York Giants (from Chicago Bears)
- Atlanta Falcons
- Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos)
- New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)
Are there any teams without a first-round pick?
Yes. The Los Angeles Rams, the Miami Dolphins, the Chicago Bears, the Indianapolis Colts, the Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos, and the Las Vegas Raiders do not have first-round picks.
As far as prospects go, is there a clear #1 pick?
It seems the answer to that question depends on who you ask, The New York Times estimates.
For one thing, 2022's draft marks the first in five years in which a quarterback is not expected to be chosen first overall. The Jaguars, who have the first pick in 2022 and already drafted a star QB in 2021, "have a number of other positions to improve," the Times notes. And the teams who select after the Jags have down-roster needs of their own.
What's more, the talent in this year's draft appears concentrated on "lower-profile positions," like edge rushers and defensive lineman. Multiple outlets have tapped Aidan Hutchinson, an edge rusher from the University of Michigan, as the #1 pick, while others have selected Georgia's junior defensive end Travon Walker for the top spot.
What's going on with QBs?
The quarterback market is weaker than usual this year; the Carolina Panthers at #6 overall are considered the earliest team that might go for a QB, the Times and The Athletic note. The Pittsburgh Steelers at pick #20 might also consider snagging a starter to replace retired franchise QB Ben Roethlisberger, should backup Mason Rudolph or the newly-welcomed Mitch Trubitsky not pan out.