Fantasy Football

NFL Draft History By The Numbers

NFL Draft History by the Numbers - Marques Stewart

The NFL Draft is a near 100-year-old “job fair”, where 32 NFL teams hire emerging football players, almost always from college football teams. We chose to go back through NFL Draft history — and current NFL Draft facts — to pull out some interesting numbers for your amusement. (Check out our recent 2018 NFL Mock Draft for Fantasy Football purposes!)

This practice started back in the 1930s after a particularly impressive college football player held out to choose the highest offer from every club before signing for any one of them. This held up the hiring process for a lot of clubs and became a major headache for many managers.

The draft was thus instituted in 1936 to create a fair and formal way for teams to recruit players. Before it’s formation, it was agreed that teams would be given a position to pick players that directly opposed their standing in the previous season. This means that the Super Bowl-winning team would pick last and teams who performed the worst would pick first.

This allows an opportunity to losing teams to gain an advantage in the upcoming seasons. This makes the game more competitive. The introduction of a salary cap also prevented the NFL’s richest teams from buying their success, as in other sports [cough, cough, Yankees and Red Sox!]. Teams can also trade their pick positions and gain extra picks if they’ve lost players throughout the year to retirement or free agency.

A supplemental draft was also implemented for those who couldn’t make the original draft for a specific, acceptable reason.

Over the past few decades, the NFL Draft has evolved from a simple hotel meeting to a major national sporting event. It’s been televised by ESPN and the NFL Network, and now even the NFL Combine has emerged as great TV! This is an athletic testing event used to assess some players before the combine to tempt teams into an offer.

NFL Draft History Numbers

All of this has led to the NFL draft as it’s known today. Below, we outline a few interesting facts about the NFL Draft and its evolution throughout history.


The year the first player scout was used to identify the best players to choose in the upcoming draft. Scouts have been key members for teams in picking top talent from the draft.


The highest number of NFL Draft picks for a single college — title held by USC.


The number of minutes an NFL team representative has to select a player in the first round of picks. This drops to 7 minutes in the second round and 5 minutes in the final batch of rounds.


The number of NFL Draft first overall picks who have ended up in the NFL Hall of Fame.


The chance that an aspiring American Football player has of making it to the NFL.


The highest salary on record so far for an NFL draft pick. It was offered to Sam Bradford in the 2010 NFL Draft. In the NFL Draft, teams must stick to a salary cap when offering salaries to potential players.

$400,000 to $600,000

The amount of money spent by an NFL player on their training and nutrition. This can not include training and recovering in hyperbaric chambers, and hiring consultants. It can also involve taking supplements like protein, creatine, Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs), or even multivitamins. You can find out more information about SARMs at


The round in which Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was picked. Brady was picked as one of the last options available as a “compensatory pick.” Despite this, he went on to have an incredibly successful career. He is now widely regarded as one of the best quarterbacks of all time.


The number of consecutive years the New York hosted the NFL Draft. This was the longest hosting of all seven cities in which the draft has been hosted so far. These cities also include Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

Featured Photo Credit: Marques Stewart

If you are a real draftnik, and you can’t get enough NFL Draft history talk — buy the book, “On the Clock: The Story of the NFL Draft.” It’s a real fun read, with tons of great behind-the-scenes stories.

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