Front Office Sports recently posted a series of tweets sharing interesting and little-known facts about the history of the NFL Draft.

Here are three facts about the NFL Draft that fans may or may not know.

1. First-Ever Draft Pick Never Played In The NFL

The first NFL Draft took place in 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Not a single player was present at the event.

There were no agents or media in attendance either.

With the first pick in that inaugural draft, the Philadelphia Eagles took University of Chicago Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger who was a halfback.

This was in the midst of the Great Depression so it is not surprising that Berwanger chose not to play football and became a foam rubber salesman because he wanted stability.

2. ESPN Convinced The NFL To Air The Draft

The NFL Draft was not televised until 1980.

This decision was made somewhat out of desperation as a fledgling network named ESPN was just getting off the ground and wanted content.

Pete Rozelle, the NFL Commissioner, did not think it was a good idea, but the NFL eventually relented and draft coverage became televised.

The network added Mel Kiper in 1984 who is the pioneer of mock drafts and the draft board.

His salary from ESPN was $400 in his first year with the network.

ESPN aired the draft exclusively until 2006 when NFL Network began televising it also.

3. The 2019 NFL Draft Was The Most Watched And Attended In History

Nashville hosted the 2019 NFL Draft which was the most attended and watched draft in league history.

6 million viewers tuned in to watch on television, and weekend crowds in the city averaged more than 600,000.

Given the popularity, some have advocated for the NFL to permanently name Nashville as the draft location.

That will not happen because NFL Draft has been a roadshow since 2014.

Prior to that, it was exclusively held in New York beginning in 1964.

In addition to Nashville in 2019, recent hosts include Chicago (2015-2016), Philadelphia (2017), Dallas (2018), Virtual (2020), Cleveland (2021), and Las Vegas (2022).

Kansas City will host the 2023 NFL Draft.


The NFL Draft has come a long way from its meager beginnings.

Fans are drawn to the draft because it embodies hope.

There is hope for their teams and for the young players whose lives are forever changed when their names are called on draft day.

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