The day so many football fans look forward to outside of the beginning of the regular season is finally upon us. The 78th NFL Draft begins Thursday night with the first round live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City and it's an exciting time for fans as they watch what new players their team acquires in an effort to improve in 2013 and for the players as they learn where they will begin their NFL careers.
The NFL has invited 23 players to attend the draft and many of them will hear their names called Thursday night. Alabama and Florida State each have four players that will be in attendance. From Alabama they are: OT D.J. Fluker, RB Eddie Lacy, CB Dee Milliner and OG Chance Warmack. From Florida State the list includes QB E.J. Manuel, DE Bjoern Werner, OT Menelik Watson and CB Xavier Rhodes.
The Falcons have 11 picks in this year's draft with four of them being compensatory picks awarded for losing unrestricted free agents in the 2011 offseason. The Falcons comp picks come in the fourth round (No. 133) and three in the seventh round (Nos. 243, 244, 249). Atlanta was one of 16 teams to be awarded at least one of the 32 compensatory picks this year. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff recently said just because they enter the draft with 11 picks, doesn't mean they'll leave with that same number and three in the seventh round (Nos. 243, 244, 249). Atlanta was one of 16 teams to be awarded at least one of the 32 compensatory picks this year.), making what the Falcons do this year in the draft one of the top story lines.
There will be 254 selections in this year's draft, spanning seven rounds. Thursday's first round will begin at 8:00 p.m. and last year's first round took exactly three hours to complete. Friday's second and third rounds begin at 6:30 p.m. and took three hours and 48 minutes last year. The fourth through seventh round picks will take place on Saturday, beginning at noon and those rounds took seven hours and 17 minutes to conclude in 2012.
Teams will be given a maximum of 10 minutes in the first round to make their selection. In the second round the maximum time allowed will drop to seven minutes and five minutes in the final five rounds.