The NFL never really stops, so the offseason continues with the draft starting Thursday night.
The Carolina Panthers have the No. 1 overall pick and, as usual, a lot of the hype surrounds the quarterbacks. Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson are among the coveted prospects.
Here’s more to know ahead of the NFL draft:
WHEN IS THE NFL DRAFT?
The draft is a three-day extravaganza in Kansas City, Missouri, starting Thursday night.
The first round begins at 8 p.m. Eastern. The second and third rounds are on Friday starting at 7 p.m. The fourth through seventh rounds are on Saturday starting at 12 p.m.
The draft can be viewed on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Everyone is pretty much asking the same questions about the NFL draft. See how AP’s experts on NFL and college football answer them in AP’s NFL mock draft.
WHO HAS THE TOP PICKS?
The Panthers have the No. 1 pick in the draft after making a trade with the Chicago Bears.
After that, the Houston Texans select at No. 2, while the Arizona Cardinals are No. 3. The Indianapolis Colts (No. 4) and Seattle Seahawks (No. 5) round out the top 5.
The Panthers are expected to take a quarterback with the top selection. The candidates include Young, Stroud, Levis and Richardson.
Not every team has a draft pick in the first round. The Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers will sit the first night out unless they make a trade.
Four of the five teams are out of the first round because of trades. The one exception is the Dolphins. The NFL punished the franchise by taking away its 2023 first-round and 2024 third-round pick after a probe found the team tampered with quarterback Tom Brady and coach Sean Payton.
BIG DRAFT FOR TEs, RBs?
The most loaded position in this draft might just be tight end. The record for tight ends drafted in the first round is three, most recently done in 2017. There is a chance that gets broken and more tight ends go in the first round than wideouts.
Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, Georgia’s Darnell Washington and Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave all have their fans and could be among those selected Thursday night.
The draft could also be a semi-renaissance for the running back spot. Texas’ Bijan Robinson is one of the most coveted prospects at his position in the past decade. Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, Texas A&M’s Devon Achane, UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet and Tulane’s Tyjae Spears are also talented prospects.
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi and AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.
David Brandt, The Associated Press