How Do NBA and NFL Drafts Work?

Unveiling the process of NBA and NFL drafts, player eligibility, and draft rules.

How Do NBA and NFL Drafts Work?
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If you're a sports fan, you may have heard of the NBA and NFL drafts, where teams select new players for their rosters.

But how exactly do these drafts work, and what are the rules that govern them?

Draft Order and Selection Process

In both the NBA and NFL, the draft order is determined by the teams' performance in the previous season.

The teams with the worst records are granted the earliest picks in the draft, with the idea being to provide a competitive balance within the league by allowing the weaker teams to have the first chance at top talent.

Draft Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Players who are eligible for the draft are those who have completed their college eligibility or have declared themselves as early entry candidates.

This means that players are often selected from college teams or, in the case of the NFL, sometimes from international football leagues.

There are specific criteria and rules that govern the eligibility of players for the draft, including age and playing experience.

Expired Contracts and Free Agency

Players whose contracts have expired are not automatically entered into the draft.

Instead, they become free agents and are able to negotiate and sign contracts with any team that is interested in acquiring their services.

This is a fundamental aspect of the free agency system, which allows players who have fulfilled their contractual obligations to explore opportunities with other teams, thereby providing them with greater flexibility and control over their careers.

First Contract and Player Rights

Once a player is drafted, they are typically bound to the team that selected them for the duration of their first contract.

However, in some cases, players may negotiate buyouts or sign with international teams before coming to play in the NBA or NFL, albeit with certain restrictions and conditions.


The NBA and NFL drafts are essential mechanisms for teams to acquire new talent and improve their rosters.

The process involves a careful evaluation of players' skills, their college or international performance, and potential fit within a team's system.

The drafts not only represent a new beginning for young athletes but also serve as a crucial element in maintaining the competitive balance and excitement of professional sports.