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DRAFT BASICS

WHEN AND WHERE:
The 75th annual National Football League Player Selection Meeting, more commonly known as the NFL Draft, will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 22-24, 2010. The first round will start at 7:30pm EST on Thursday April 22nd. The second and third rounds will start at 6:30pm EST on Friday April 23rd. The final four rounds will start at 10am EST on Saturday April 24th.

DRAFTING:
The team with the lowest winning percentage drafts first with the Super Bowl winner drafting last. The loser of the Super Bowl drafts next to last. The 20 teams that do not make the playoffs select first and the order is based on winning percentage. The playoff teams will draft next and will be slotted based on how far they advance in the post season. After the first round - For groups of teams with the same winning percentage, the team with the highest pick in the previous round drops to the bottom of that group each round. Teams have 10 minutes to make their selection in the first round, 7 minutes in the second round, and 5 minutes in each of the remaining rounds. Each of the 32 NFL teams will have representatives at the draft that maintain telephone communications with their general managers, coaches, and scouts.

COMPENSATORY SELECTIONS:
Based on the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary and performance. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a team is covered by this formula.

TELEVISION COVERAGE:
ESPN and the NFL Network will televise all seven rounds of the draft.

FAN TICKETS:
Tickets to the 2010 NFL Draft are free and made available to fans on a first-come first-serve basis. The tickets will be distributed at the box office. One ticket will be distributed per person and can be used for admission on all three days. All seating is general admission.

ABOUT THE SCOUTING COMBINE:
The official site for the combine is at NFLCombine.net. The following article was published February 25, 2002 on NFL.com. While somewhat dated, the article provides a good overview of the pre-draft event.

BREAKING DOWN THE NFL SCOUTING COMBINE
by Gil Brandt

To say that the NFL Combine is a gathering of the top college players from around the country might be an understatement. Simply put, it is the elite, the cream of the crop, the best of the best.

Here is perhaps the perfect example of what a terrific job combine organizer Gene Babb does in selecting the right players to attend this annual gathering in Indianapolis: Of the 246 players who were taken in last year's draft, only 30 were not invited to the combine. None of the non-invitees were drafted higher than the fourth round.

And so, less than a month after the conclusion of the 2001 NFL season, the league turns its attention to the combine. This year's gathering takes place March 1-4 in Indianapolis. And while teams have already been quite active in preparing for the 2002 NFL Draft, the combine traditionally kicks off the beginning of NFL draft-mania.

There are several reasons why the combine has become such an important part of the draft process. Among them:

1. All 32 teams get to watch the prospects in an equal setting, under the same conditions.

2. Owners, general managers and coaches have the opportunity to see most everyone who will be drafted -- all in one place, within a four-day period. There will be plenty of flying around the country for individual workouts in the weeks to come, but the combine is "one-stop shopping."

3. The combine is just another means of helping teams make good decisions, and the escalating cost of signing first-round draft picks makes the decision-making process all the more crucial. Teams spent a total of $160 million on signing bonuses for last year's first-round picks. They want to make sure they know what they're doing.

The genesis of the combine took place in 1977, when the workouts were conducted by three separate scouting services -- National, Blesto and Quadra. The system was streamlined even further in 1984, when the workouts were moved to one site. The combine is an invite-only event, closed to all but invited players and NFL team officials.

Of course, the combine continues to attract more media every year. There will be well over 100 writers on hand, plus radio and TV crews. They're not allowed to watch the workouts that take place in the RCA Dome, but there is a special interview room set up adjacent to the stadium for players to meet the press after workouts.

THE COMBINE SCHEDULE

There are 333 NFL prospects invited to this year's combine -- the most since 1993. They will descend upon Indianapolis Thursday afternoon, and here's what will take place:

Players stay at a hotel within walking distance of the RCA Dome. After dinner on Thursday, they will get a brief orientation on how to conduct themselves in the coming weeks (after the draft, rookies will have a three-day seminar that expands on life in the NFL).

At 7:30 Friday morning, the first group of players -- offensive line and kickers -- heads to the RCA Dome for measurements. The physicals begin at 8:15. All 32 teams have trainers and medical staff present. After that, there are two taped interviews. The first is not exactly an interview, but an opportunity to videotape the player for body build. The second is a 10-minute interview in which players are asked about their background, their goals, etc.

At 1 p.m., players are tested for strength -- scouts record how many times they can bench-press 225 pounds. After that, they take the Wunderlic test, which some teams use to evaluate a player's intelligence.

After dinner, players make their way through the first floor of the hotel, where all 32 teams have their own rooms set up for player interviews, psychological testing and simple "meet-and-greets." The team officials are well-stocked with hats, shorts and other team apparel to entice players to stop in and visit with them -- last year's hot items were team backpacks. By the time the players leave Indy, they probably have about 50 extra pounds worth of NFL souvenirs.

Saturday morning, the first group returns to the RCA Dome for speed and agility testing. They'll run 40-yard dashes, do jumping drills and position-specific football drills.

By noon Saturday, the first group will be on its way home. The combine will be over, but the workouts, interviews and training leading up to the draft (April 20-21) is just beginning.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

With the combine already in full swing in Indianapolis, Gil Brandt will check in with some daily news and notes.

Friday: Players started arriving on Thursday at around noon to a very cold Indianapolis. My first impression was there weren't any guys out of shape; everyone was in really, really good shape.

As an example, RB Damien Anderson of Northwestern said he was going to run, said it was important to run and he was going to. Every guy looked like they were in optimum condition. DeShaun Foster of UCLA appeared to be in very good shape. Boston College RB William Green also looked good; T.J. Duckett out of Michigan State looked in great shape. All seemed to be at minimum weight. Maybe Duckett was 240 but the guy looked svelte.

As for offensive linemen, if there is a congeniality award, Texas tackle Mike Williams wins it. He's a giant of a man with a pleasing personality. In looking at films, people have started seeing the hustle play that he made on an interception play vs. Colorado in the Big 12 championship game. It was a great play that saved a touchdown.