The NFL Draft returns to Chicago on April 28-30, 2016. Following is the process used by clubs to submit their selections and trades to the league.

Player Selection: 

Each club communicates its selection by phone from its Draft room at team headquarters to its representatives on-site in Chicago at Selection Square. The  representatives, seated at team tables, then write the name, position, school, and overall selection number of the club’s selection onto an official selection card. 

For a selection to be made, a completed official selection card is handed to a “runner,” who is stationed at the club’s table while it is on the clock. Upon the “runner’ receiving the selection card, the selection is deemed official and cannot be revoked.

Learn the rules of the NFL Draft.

Upon receiving the card, the “runner” will hold it high in the air, notifying the league official at the dais that the selection has been made. A league official at the head table will then announce, “Club A has made its selection, Club B is on the clock,” while the clock is simultaneously re-set.

A club representative may hand-deliver the selection card to the head table; however, it is far more efficient to hand the card to the “runner,” who will immediately signal to the league official at the dais.


If Club A does not select a player within its time allotment, it is deemed to have passed. A “runner” is also assigned to the table of the club (Club B) that is next in the selection order. If a pass occurs, Club B is permitted to select a player by handing an official selection card to the “runner” at its table.

While Club A has passed, it has not forfeited its right to select a player and may re-enter the Draft at any point. If Club A hands an official selection card to the “runner” who has remained at its table before Club B makes a selection, Club A’s selection is valid. League officials at the head table will watch both tables in such a situation to determine which selection is made first, and the decision of the league officials is final.

If a club representative decides to walk the selection card to the head table, the fact that the representative reaches the head table with a selection card before the arrival of the “runner” is immaterial, since the selection of the club represented by the “runner” was valid as soon as the “runner” received the club’s selection card.


Trade information is communicated to the NFL Player Personnel department by telephone. If the trade involves the selection choice that is on the clock, no selection by the club acquiring the choice is valid until the trade has been approved.

Discover the history of the NFL Draft.

If the trade is not approved within the allotted time, and no selection has been made, the team trading the selection choice will be deemed to have passed. When a trade has been approved, the club acquiring the choice shall have the time remaining on the clock, if any, to make its selection. If no time remains on the clock, the rules related to passing apply.

When league officials at the head table learn that a trade is in progress, a “runner” will be sent to the table of the club acquiring the selection choice.