The first NFL draft was held on Feb. 8 1936, when representatives of the nine NFL franchises assembled in Philadelphia at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (picked at least in part because it was owned by relatives of then-NFL commissioner Bert Bell). A total of 81 players were picked in nine rounds. The Eagles chose first, tabbing Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger, a University of Chicago halfback, who decided not to play pro ball -- a fairly common practice at the time. Not a single Eagles pick from that draft ever played in a regular-season game.
The NFL draft has been held annually in New York City since 1965. This will be the ninth straight draft held at Radio City Music Hall, better known for its Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The annual show has featured the Rockettes every year since the building opened in 1932.
Welcome to Primetime
For the first 52 years of the NFL draft, the event was held on a Tuesday and Wednesday. The draft moved to a Sunday and Monday in 1988, mainly because the Marriott Marquis offered the NFL a better rate on those days for the ballroom space. The draft moved to the weekend in 1995 when the event was moved to Madison Square Garden. The draft was expanded to the current Thursday-Saturday format in 2010.
In 2013, no running back was drafted in the first round for the first time since 1963. Could it happen again? Last season, there were an average of 54.18 rushing attempts per NFL game, or just over 27 rushes per team - the fewest since at least 1932. Should Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Hill, Bishop Sankey and the rest of the RB class fail to hear their names called, it would be just the third time in the history of the NFL draft that a running back was not selected in the first round. With apologies to running backs Billy Sims and George Rogers, who were selected first-overall in 1980 and 1981, respectively, no running back may be selected in the first round in back-to-back years for the very first time in an event that dates back to 1936.
Defensive tackle Caraun Reid from Princeton could be a Day 2 draft pick. Reid is expected to be the highest drafted player in the history of Princeton, an honor that currently belongs to Bob Hews who was selected 156th overall in 1970 by the Kansas City Chiefs. He could also be the highest drafted player from the Ivy League since Marcellus Wiley was taken 52nd overall by the Buffalo Bills out of Columbia in 1997. However, you don't have to be drafted as a Princeton grad to find success in the NFL - case and point, Jason Garrett, who passed for 4,274 yards as the Tigers' QB before becoming the head coach in Dallas.
Top 10 streak
Alabama is tied with USC for the most consecutive seasons (5) with a top-10 pick in the common draft era. The Trojans' streak started in 1993 with receiver Curtis Conway and ended in 1997 with defensive tackle Darrell Russell, with Willie McGinest and Johnnie Morton (1994), Tony Boselli (1995) and Keyshawn Johnson and John Michels (1996) in between. The Crimson Tide's streak, which is still active, has included Andre Smith (2009), Rolando McClain (2010), Julio Jones and Marcell Dareus (2011), Mark Barron and Trent Richardson (2012), and Dee Milliner and Chance Warmack (2013). Should safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix be selected in the top 10, Alabama would have six consecutive seasons with a top-10 pick.
"Mr. Irrelevant" is the name given to the player selected with the last pick in the draft, but only 15 players named since 1967 have played in a regular season game. Mr. Irrelevant from 2013, Justice Cunningham of South Carolina, played in one game for the Colts last season. He had one reception for 4 yards and is now a member of the St. Louis Rams.
Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield never played football at the University of Minnesota, but still was selected in the 17th round by the Vikings in 1973. Winfield was also drafted by the MLB's San Diego Padres, the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and the ABA's Utah Stars. A graceful athlete at 6'6," 220, Winfield's deft hand-eye coordination resulted in 3,110 major league hits. How many balls might he have caught from Vikings Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton, whose leading receiver in the 1970s was John Gilliam, with 3,297 receiving yards.
Due largely to head coach George Allen's lack of patience with rookies, the Washington Redskins went 11 years without first-round picks, from 1969 to 1979. When the Redskins finally had their own pick in 1980, GM Bobby Beathard struck gold, selecting Art Monk of Syracuse with the 18th overall pick. Monk would go on to catch 888 passes in 14 years with the Redskins, earning three Super Bowl rings.
St. Louis Rams
For the second straight year, the Rams have two first-round picks - the first time for the franchise since 1988-1989, when they were still the LA Rams. Here's to hoping they do better with these four picks than they did in the late '80s when none of their picks lasted more than five seasons with the club.
1988: RB Gaston Green, WR Aaron Cox
1989: DE Bill Hawkins, RB Cleveland Gary
More Photo Essays:
- 15 for '15: College football's best historical uniforms
- NFL members in the military
- 15 for '15: Impact freshmen in college football
- Top 10 all-time NFL players from service academies
- Top 10 NFL comps for college football seniors
- 15 for '15: College football's best offensive players
- 11 most iconic college football jersey numbers
- 15 for '15: Impact transfers
- 15 for ’15: Best defensive players in college football