When is the NFL Draft – Date, Time, and Order

After months of speculation and projections, the 2023 NFL Draft finally begins this Thursday night. We have compiled a guide to show you all the details about the draft, including the 2023 NFL Draft date, the 2023 NFL Draft time, where it is held, how long it lasts, how it works, and the order of the teams.

When is the NFL Draft?

NFL Draft
Photo by Icon Sport

The 2023 NFL draft will be held at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City, home to the defending Super Bowl champions, was selected as the host city back in 2019.

This year’s draft is a three-day event starting Thursday, April 27, 2023, and concluding Saturday, April 29, 2023.

Draft coverage will be held on the ABC family of networks, including ESPN, and also on NFL Network. Here is the breakdown of when you can catch the seven rounds spread out over the three days:

  • Round 1: Thursday, April 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 29 at 12:00 p.m. ET

The first two nights of the draft will take place until about 11:30 p.m. ET and the final day on Saturday will last five or six hours.

How Does the Draft Work?

The NFL has featured an annual draft since 1936. The draft has been standardized to feature seven rounds every year since 1994. The following sections cover details of how the draft works.

Draft Order

Since 2021, the draft order of teams is based on where the teams finished in record in the previous season with the final 14 selections (picks 19-32) reserved for the teams that made the postseason, which is also broken down by playoff finish:

  • The Super Bowl winner picks 32nd.
  • The Super Bowl loser picks 31st.
  • The Conference runner-ups pick 29th and 30th.
  • Teams eliminated in the Divisional round pick 25-28.
  • Teams eliminated in the Wild Card round pick 19-24

Teams are free to trade picks amongst each other, which is why you see some very good teams with high picks from trades they made in the past.

Player Eligibility

To be eligible for the draft, a player must be out of high school for at least three years. All draft-eligible college football players are available for the teams to draft.

Eligible players not selected in the draft will then be eligible to be signed as undrafted free agents this weekend. Those roster signings are usually announced on Saturday or Sunday after the draft concludes.

Draft Process

In the first round, teams are given 10 minutes to make their pick when they are on the clock. This goes down to 7 minutes for Round 2, and then 5 minutes for the final rounds.

Once a player is drafted by their team, they can soon begin contract negotiations to become a player for that team this season. Picks made in the first round will be allowed to have a fifth-year option to stay with the team an extra season. All other picks are four-year contracts.

Compensatory Picks

Some teams are also awarded compensatory picks, which start as the final picks of the third round. This is a system that credits teams for gaining and losing players in free agency, or for employing minority coaches and assistants. Compensatory picks cannot be traded, and no single team can earn more than four of them in a given draft.

2023 NFL Draft Order

There are 259 picks scheduled to be made in the seven rounds of the 2023 NFL draft. We have included the draft order for the first round, which only has 31 picks this year due to the Miami Dolphins forfeiting their pick after tampering with the contracts of Tom Brady and Sean Payton.

Round 1

1) Carolina Panthers (from Chicago)
2) Houston Texans
3) Arizona Cardinals
4) Indianapolis Colts
5) Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)
6) Detroit Lions (from L.A. Rams)
7) Las Vegas Raiders
8) Atlanta Falcons
9) Chicago Bears (from Carolina)
10) Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans)
11) Tennessee Titans
12) Houston Texans (from Cleveland)
13) Green Bay Packers* (from N.Y. Jets)
14) New England Patriots
15) New York Jets* (from Green Bay)
16) Washington Commanders
17) Pittsburgh Steelers
18) Detroit Lions
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20) Seattle Seahawks
21) Los Angeles Chargers
22) Baltimore Ravens
23) Minnesota Vikings
24) Jacksonville Jaguars
25) New York Giants
26) Dallas Cowboys
27) Buffalo Bills
28) Cincinnati Bengals
29) New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco through Miami and Denver)
30) Philadelphia Eagles
31) Kansas City Chiefs

The Chicago Bears already made big waves by trading the No. 1 pick to Carolina last month. The Panthers moved up from No. 9 in a blockbuster deal that is surely not going to be the last trade we see in this round.

The 2022 draft set a first-round record with nine trades on draft day, so this order is far from the final order we will see on Thursday night.

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