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Eighty years ago Tuesday, the NFL instituted a rookie draft

NFL Draft

Kena Krutsinger

Imagine an NFL without this.

Or this.

Or this.

Yes, the NFL would be a little less interesting without a draft.

On this day in 1935, NFL owners changed the way rookies were selected into the league, installing a draft for 1936. The idea was that of then-Commissioner Bert Bell.

The other major American sports eventually added their own drafts, too. The NBA, with its lottery to determine the first 14 picks and its snappy two-round format, knows how to put on a good selection meeting of its own.

But there is nothing quite like the focus on the NFL’s draft. The relatively long lead-up to the event helps. Draft coverage begins in earnest in late-January at the Senior Bowl and really starts to ramp up in late-February with the NFL Scouting Combine. There are reams and reams and reams of mock drafts.

Then, there is the event itself.

And when that is over, there are the early look-ahead mock drafts for next spring.