clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL draft: What happens when a team runs out of time?

If the clock runs out, you still get to make your pick, but you might fall behind in the order.

NFL Draft Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images

In the NFL draft, all 32 teams have time limits to get their picks in. In the first round, that is 10 minutes. In the second, it’s seven, and in the third, it drops down to five.

Typically, teams get their picks in well before the clocks hit double zeroes, without any drama or much fuss.

But not always.

When a team fails to get its pick in on time, the next team’s clock starts, but the original team can still get caught up. Essentially, the clock measures the time until the next team can make its pick, rather than the time the current team has to make its pick.

It’s happened two times in recent memory.

2011: Baltimore Ravens

The most recent one happened with the No. 26 pick in 2011. Essentially, the Ravens tried to make a trade, but ran out of time.

Apparently, the team saw that there were a bunch of players available that the team would have been very satisfied to draft, and therefore were entertaining offers to trade back into either the later first round or even the second round, where they could still get one of the guys on their draft board and accumulate additional picks as well.

At the team's press conference late last night once the pick was made, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome noted that it was indeed a "long day." He said that head coach John Harbaugh was on the phone with Jimmy Smith while he was on the phone with "another team." Ozzie thought he had worked out a trade and called the NFL, but apparently, the other team did not, leaving the Ravens holding the phone while their allotted time ran out and the Chiefs jumped in front of them.

The Ravens got their pick in eventually, landing Smith before the Saints picked at No. 28.

According to the Tribune, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo told two staff members to call the league regarding the deal, but each believed the other was doing it.

"We had a disconnect," Angelo said via "There might be something said about it because of not communicating with the league in proper protocol. That was my fault. I called Baltimore and apologized to Baltimore and told them it was our fault."

Baltimore owner Steve Bisciotti wasn’t very accepting of the apology, to say the least.

"I'm disappointed in the Bears and the McCaskeys," Bisciotti said via The Baltimore Sun. "It is, in my opinion, a deviation from their great legacy. They concluded that their heartfelt and admirable apology was sufficient for our loss. All of us at the Ravens strongly disagree ... probably end of story."

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh spoke in an interview later.

“With about two and a half minutes left, we had a deal. And for two and a half minutes, Ozzie [Newsome] was on the phone with the Bears, and the Bears were telling Ozzie that they had called the deal in. I mean, we all know that you’ve gotta call the deal in for it to be official.

“I think we had an understanding that we would get Jimmy [Smith] even when we were off the clock, we didn’t overreact to the fact that we were off the clock. But we were very disappointed, and we’re still disappointed.”

2003: Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings had the seventh overall pick. They were discussing a trade with the Ravens, Jaguars, and Patriots. Eventually, the Vikings made a deal with the Ravens, one that would allow them to jump three spots to get quarterback Byron Leftwich.

The Vikings claimed they turned in their card to NFL officials with 32 seconds left, but the league said it didn’t have confirmation from the Ravens about the deal. Baltimore claimed it never spoke with league official Joel Bussert.

The Vikings, out of time, were allowed to make up their pick at any point. Let’s just say they still didn’t jump the gun right away, either. describes the sequence of events:

But in frenzied flurry in the minutes immediately following the Minnesota move, Jacksonville, choosing No. 8 overall, rushed in its card to pick quarterback Byron Leftwich.

In lightning time after that, Carolina jumped in to choose offensive tackle Jordon Gross. Minnesota finally exercised its pick at the No. 9 slot, selecting defensive tackle Kevin Williams, one of the fastest-rising players in the lottery.

"I'm pissed," Vikings coach Mike Tice said via ESPN. "There is no other way I can put it."

Williams turned out to be successful with the Vikings, playing with them for 11 years and earning six Pro Bowl spots in that span. Minnesota came out of it saying Williams was who they wanted all along.

Enjoy our episode of Weird Rules on this draft moment:

2002: Not a miss, but another awkward Vikings moment

The Dallas Cowboys traded down from No. 6 to No. 8, with the Chiefs. It seemed as if the Chiefs ran out of time, or at least it did to Minnesota, who tried to submit for defensive tackle Ryan Sims. But when they did, they were told by league officials the Chiefs had handed in their card to take Sims. Minnesota selected offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie instead.

Given that this hasn’t happened in years, it would appear as if teams have learned from those blunders.

A small part of me wishes a team would do something like this this year, just for the entertainment value, though.