Sam Darnold (278838)
Credit: Bill Moore photo

The first round of the NFL Draft, pro football’s live reality show, airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on national television from Nashville, Tennessee. The League’s 32 teams will select from the newly available, top college prospects. It will be the NFL’s 84th annual draft, their player selection meeting.

Rounds two and three will air tomorrow, Friday. Rounds four through seven air Saturday.

When Commisioner Roger Goodell starts the evening’s proceedings off tonight with, “The 2019 NFL Draft is now officially open,” accompanied by the customary boo’s from the audience, he will put the Arizona Cardinals on the clock. The Cardinals and the other first round teams will have 10 minutes to make their selection. Teams picking in the second round will have seven minutes to make a selection. Five minutes is allowed for teams making selections in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, four minutes for round seven.

Behind Arizona, to complete the Top 10 picks is the San Francisco 49ers at 2, the New York Jets at 3, the Oakland Raiders at 4, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5, the New York Giants 6, the Jacksonville Jaguars 7, the Detroit Lions 8, Buffalo Bills 9 and the Denver Broncos 10.

There will be 254 picks overall. In addition to the first pick, Arizona will also have the last one, the 254th. The New England Patriots, Super Bowl champions and the Giants will have the most, 12.

The draft order is determined by each team’s win-loss record the season before. The last place team is positioned first, i.e., the Cardinals 3-and-13, the 49ers and Jets both 4-and-12. The team can either select a player or trade their position to another team for other draft positions, a player or players, or any combination thereof.

The Jets, who were able to trade up last year to third, chose USC quarterback Sam Darnold. With six picks overall, general manager Mike Maccagnan, preparing for his fifth draft class, will also be on the clock for the 66th and 93rd picks in the third round, the 105th in the fourth, the 196th pick in the sixth, and the 217th pick in the seventh.

“We’re going to do anything that we feel is in the best interest of the team,” said the Jets GM, preparing for his fifth draft class with the team.

“If we stay at 3 and pick a player, we feel really good about the potential players who will be there. If we have an opportunity to move back and acquire more draft capital, I think we’d be interested in that too.”

It’s diffucult to determine who’s going first unless the team with the first pick publicly commits to a player before draft day. Kyler Murray, the 21-year-old quarterback of the Oklahoma Sooners, the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner, is expected to be Arizona’s first pick, but in actuality, we won’t know until the moment comes. For example, it’s quite possible that quarterback Baker Mayfield who was chosen first by the Cleveland Browns last year, would possibly be with the Jets or Giants today if the Browns had chosen Darnold as their No. 1.

What is certain is that Arizona and any other team with the first pick can only choose a player or trade that pick away. Unlike the other 253 draft positions, for them, there’s no moving up. They’re first. It’s about a team’s need, or just choosing the best player available.

Being 4-and-12 last season, it’s obvious that the Jets need help on both offense and defense. Darnold was sacked 30 times and threw 15 interceptions. For him to stay healthy, be a franchise player and open holes for Le’Veon Bell, their newly acquired running back, it’s imperative for them to improve their front line. They’ll soon be on the clock.