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Way too early discussion of the 2022 NFL Draft

A look at the entirety of the seven round draft era in the NFL.

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The NFL changed the draft to seven rounds in 1994 and it has been seven rounds ever since. The fewest picks that any team has ever had is three. That has happened five times with one of them being the Broncos (1997).

Year Team - picks

  • 1997 Broncos - 28 (Trevor Pryce), 67 (Dan Neil), 124 (Corey Gilliard)
  • 1997 49ers - 25, 55, 77
  • 2003 WAS - 44, 81, 232
  • 2009 Jets - 5 (Mark Sanchez), 65, 193
  • 2021 Seahawks - 56, 137, 208

By draft capital the Broncos spent 25.1 units on their three picks (using expected career AV by draft spot). Compare that to Seahawks who had a grand total of 12.9 units to spend in their 2021 draft.

The reason that this is relevant to the Broncos right now is that the Rams, in trading their 2nd and 3rd round picks in 2022 to the Broncos for Von Miller, now only have four picks in the 2022 draft (although they hope to get another three or four in comp picks). The Rams traded their 2022 first round pick to get Matt Stafford. They have a comp 3rd round pick (obtained in trade). They traded their 4th round pick to the Texans for Brandin Cooks. They still have their 5th round pick. They traded their 6th round pick to the Patriots for Sony Michel and they have two 7th round picks (one acquired when they traded away Aqib Talib).

With no picks in the first or second round of the draft, it’s entirely possible that the Rams could have the least draft capital to spend in a draft in the entire seven round draft era. By total picks there have been eleven instances where teams only had four picks in the draft. See the table below. One of those instances was also the Broncos who only took four players in the 2007 draft (Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder, Ryan Harris and Marcus Thomas).

Total number of picks Instances
3 5
4 11
5 43
6 120
7 175
8 168
9 140
10 105
11 52
12 23
13 7
14 2
15 1
16 0

The most ever draft picks in the seven round era was fifteen by the Vikings in 2020. Admittedly, eleven of those fifteen were “day three” picks. The Vikings, with George Paton in the front office, were quite fond of quantity. They averaged 11 draft picks per draft from 2011-2021 and they drafted a minimum of eight players per draft going back to 2010.

The Broncos in 2022 have eleven picks currently with the two from the Rams.

  • 1st - own
  • 2nd - own
  • 2nd - from Rams
  • 3rd - own
  • 3rd - from Rams
  • 4th - own
  • 5th - own
  • 5th - Lions
  • 6th - from Eagles
  • 7th - who knows
  • 7th - who knows

If you want to see the full data set with every draft for every franchise going back to 1994, click on the link to go down the rabbit hole.