Salaries in the millions beckon: The hunt for football super talent: This is how the draft works in the NFL

Football quarterback Bryce Young had a good laugh on Friday night.

Salaries in the millions beckon: The hunt for football super talent: This is how the draft works in the NFL

Football quarterback Bryce Young had a good laugh on Friday night. As expected, the 21-year-old playmaker from the University of Alabama was drafted first in the NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. The other 30 so-called picks of the first round were also drawn on Friday night, the next six rounds will follow in the next few days - then maybe with German participation. We explain what you need to know about the NFL Talent Fair.

In the seven rounds, all 32 teams in the NFL choose a talent in each round. The worst team of the past season can choose the first talent, the second worst team the second player, the reigning Super Bowl champion gets the last pick in a round. The so-called draft, which also exists in the other major American sports leagues NBA (basketball), NHL (ice hockey), MLB (baseball) and MLS (soccer), should make it possible to maintain a balance in the league. This gives the weaker teams the opportunity to sign the bigger talents. For the talents, the selection in the first round is already lucrative, and signing a contract often comes with a bonus in the millions.

However, there was one special feature on Friday night: instead of 32 talents, only 31 were drawn by the teams. The Miami Dolphins lost their first-round draft last summer when illegal contract talks with quarterback legend Tom Brady, who was still under contract with the New England Patriots at the time of the negotiations, became public. From the second round, the Dolphins can also select talents.

Yes, that's what happened with this year's most coveted pick. Actually, the Chicago Bears were the worst team of the past season. In return, the Bears not only got the first and second-round picks from the Panthers in a trade with the Carolina Panthers, but also another pick for the first round next year and DJ Moore, an experienced wide receiver. Even during the draft days, there are always trades between the teams. Due to the barter transactions, it is possible for a team to select several players in one round - other teams, on the other hand, then get nothing.

For example, while in the NHL players can be selected from the age of 18, this is not possible in the NFL. To be eligible for the draft, you must have been out of high school for at least three years. So it is common for the talents to all play at universities before they are available for the draft. The NFL is responsible for complying with some rules and notifies whether a player is allowed to be drafted. Around 3,000 players from the colleges alone are checked each season.

However, it is also possible to select players from other countries - although the quality there falls sharply compared to US universities. The German Moritz Böhringer caused a novelty in 2016. The then 22-year-old was the first player from Europe to be selected in an NFL draft without having attended college. Böhringer also had to learn that the draft is no guarantee of participation. After five years, during which he was mostly part of the training squad but not part of the team squad, he returned to Germany with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns in early 2021.

With Kilian Zierer, Lorenz Metz and Marlon Werthmann there are three German players to choose from. In contrast to Böhringer, however, Zierer (Auburn Tigers) and Metz (Cincinnati Bearcats) most recently played at US colleges. Marlon Werthmann, on the other hand, like Böhringer, is trying to make the leap from Schwäbisch Hall to the NFL. Especially Zierer are said to have chances in this year's draft. Some pundits see him as a fourth or fifth round pick.

That is also possible. The best example from a German point of view is Jakob Johnsen. The full back, one of the two running game positions, was not drafted after studying at the University of Tennessee, but found its way into the league through an NFL scholarship program. After two years with the New England Patriots under coaching legend Bill Belichick, he has been playing for the Las Vegas Raiders since last season.

At the end of last season, the NFL broadcasting rights were transferred from ProSieben to RTL. While the first round could still be seen on RTL Nitro that night, the selections in the second and third rounds (on Saturday night from 12.30 a.m.) and the fourth to seventh rounds (on Saturday from 6 p.m.) will be shown in the US Broadcast the original commentary on the streaming service RTL. All transmissions are free and freely accessible in the web browser. RTL Premium users can also follow the draft via the RTL app.

Note: The star belongs to RTL Germany.

Sources: NFL, NBC Sports, Chicago Bears, dpa