NFL Draft

On the clock: Here's how much time there is between each pick in the NFL draft

Here’s how much time is allotted for each pick and a look at the process behind submitting a selection at the draft.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The 2024 NFL Draft is upon us, and the Chicago Bears are on the clock.

Chicago’s first overall selection will kick off an event that spans three days, seven rounds and 257 picks. The draft will begin Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET, and from there, each team will be forced to make quick decisions that could shape its future.

Just how much time will each team have to make those calls? Here is a look at the amount of time allotted for selections in each round and the actual process of making a draft pick:

How much time is there between each pick in the NFL draft?

The amount of time between picks varies by round.

There are 10 minutes between each pick in the first round. Because the entire first day of the draft is dedicated to the first round – and because the picks at the top of the draft are more consequential – teams get more time to submit their selections.

Teams get seven minutes to make picks in the second round. That time drops to five minutes for regular and compensatory picks in rounds three through six. There are just four minutes between picks in the seventh round.

Does the team with the first overall pick get extra time to make its selection?

Even though the team with the No. 1 pick has nearly four months to prepare for the draft, it still gets formally put on the clock for 10 minutes at the start of the event each year.

It’s ultimately a complete waste of time in many cases, and 2024 will be no different. The Bears have long been linked to USC quarterback Caleb Williams at the top of the draft, but in all likelihood, things will still be drawn out before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell greets Williams on stage in Detroit.

How do NFL teams submit draft picks?

Each team has a table set up at the draft venue where team representatives are in contact with the team’s headquarters, also called a “war room.” When executives in the war room decide on their selection, they relay it to the table at the draft location, at which point someone from the table writes the player’s name, position and school on a card and submits it to an NFL “runner.”

The selection is made official once the runner gets the card from the team. The draft clock is reset and a second runner notifies the next team in the draft order who was chosen.

The first runner with the card radios the selection to an NFL Player Personnel representative, who inputs the pick into a database that notifies every team of the selection. That runner also walks the card up to a head table and NFL vice president of player personnel Ken Fiore.

Fiore then reviews and records the pick before sharing it with the NFL’s broadcasting partners, commissioner and other league and team representatives so the pick can be announced to the audience.

What happens if a team doesn’t make its pick in time?

If a team doesn’t make a selection before the clock runs out, it still gets to make a pick. However, the next team in the draft order gets to go first.

Here’s how it is laid out in the NFL rulebook:

“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.”

There are a few examples of a team missing its initial window to make a selection. A recent example came in 2011, when the Baltimore Ravens told the NFL it had agreed to a draft-day trade with the Bears. However, because the Bears did not confirm the trade to the league in time, Baltimore was unable to make a pick at No. 26 and forced to fall back one spot in the draft order. The Ravens went on to take Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith at No. 27.

Pac-12 Network’s Ashley Adamson discusses the conference’s top NFL Draft prospects in 2024.
Contact Us