2018 NFL draft primer: When, where to watch, and the major storylines to watch for

It will be hard to ever top the 1983 NFL draft, as far as history and entertainment go. That draft is so famous, a documentary was made about it more than 30 years after the fact.

But the 2018 NFL draft is right up there, at least when it comes to entertainment.

Welcome to one of the most unpredictable, potentially crazy drafts in recent memory. There are four quarterbacks who could go in the top 10 picks, and it’s possible all of them go in the top five. A fifth quarterback, Lamar Jackson, might be more interesting than any of the four who are expected to be picked before him. Saquon Barkley is probably the best running back prospect in at least a decade. There’s intrigue with every pick at the top of the draft, and even mystery at the Cleveland Browns’ No. 1 overall pick.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell opens the 2016 NFL draft in Chicago. (AP)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell opens the 2016 NFL draft in Chicago. (AP)

This is going to be one of the most watched and talked about drafts in a long time. Here’s what you need to know before it kicks off:

When does the draft take place?

Here’s the schedule for all three days of the 2018 draft:

Thursday: 8 p.m. ET (round 1)
Friday: 7 p.m. ET (rounds 2-3)
Saturday: Noon ET (rounds 4-7)

Teams get 10 minutes for each first-round pick, seven minutes for each second-round pick, five minutes for each pick between the third and sixth round, then four minutes for each seventh-round pick.

Where can I watch?

Coverage of the NFL draft will not be hard to find.

If you’re on the go, you can watch the NFL draft on Yahoo Sports’ NFL draft page and the Yahoo Sports app.

There are also more television options than ever. For the first time, the entirety of the draft will be on traditional network television. Fox will broadcast the draft on Thursday and Friday, and ABC will have it on Saturday. Here are the full television options:

Thursday: NFL Network, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Friday: NFL Network, FOX, ESPN/ESPN2
Saturday: NFL Network, ABC, ESPN

The draft will also be on the radio, broadcast on Westwood One Radio, SiriusXM NFL Radio and TuneIn Radio.

Where is the draft this year?

The NFL has had great success in the first couple years of moving the draft around, and this season it will land at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The huge home of the Dallas Cowboys is sure to draw a big crowd.

Which players are attending?

The NFL announced that 22 players will attending the draft in North Texas. It’s notable that Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is still reportedly in play for the first overall pick, is not expected to attend. Since 1994, the only No. 1 overall picks to not attend the draft in person were Jameis Winston (2015) and Myles Garrett (2017):

Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Shaquem Griffin, LB, Central Florida
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Derwin James, S, Florida State
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Connor Williams, OT, Texas

What are the major storylines?

It starts with a unique quarterback class. The expected order of the top four quarterbacks — Wyoming’s Josh Allen, USC’s Sam Darnold, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and UCLA’s Josh Rosen — has changed constantly since the end of the college season. We’re still not sure which order they’ll be drafted in, though all four are expected to go early in the first round. That makes the top of the draft unpredictable and exciting. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, could be taken in the first round as well.

[Before the draft, check out NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell’s breakdowns of the top quarterbacks: Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen.]

Team-wise there are endless storylines, but the most interesting one probably centers around the Browns. Cleveland has the first and fourth picks. We often know the identity of the first overall pick way before a draft begins, but the Browns have kept it a secret during draft week. Nobody seems to know what the Browns will do with the fourth pick either, though that obviously depends on who the New York Giants select with the second pick and what the New York Jets do at No. 3. Don’t rule out any major trades near the top of the draft either.

Along with the typical trades and surprises in the NFL draft, the quarterbacks and the star power of Saquon Barkley will make it a fascinating first round.

What is the order of the first round?

This will likely change with trades, but as of Wednesday morning this was the order of the 32 first-round drraft picks:

1. Cleveland Browns

2. New York Giants

3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis)

4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston)

5. Denver Broncos

6. Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets)

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Chicago Bears

9. San Francisco 49ers

10. Oakland Raiders

11. Miami Dolphins

12. Buffalo Bills (from Cincinnati)

13. Washington Redskins

14. Green Bay Packers

15. Arizona Cardinals

16. Baltimore Ravens

17. Los Angeles Chargers

18. Seattle Seahawks

19. Dallas Cowboys

20. Detroit Lions

21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo)

22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City)

23. New England Patriots (from Los Angeles Rams)

24. Carolina Panthers

25. Tennessee Titans

26. Atlanta Falcons

27. New Orleans Saints

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

30. Minnesota Vikings

31. New England Patriots

32. Philadelphia Eagles

– – – – – – –

Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

What to Read Next

Back