Why are there only 31 picks in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft?

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

In case you were wondering, there are only 31 picks in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, and it’s a fair question as to why that happened.

Usually, there are 32 selections in the opening round of an NFL Draft any given year, and those correspond to one per team.

Teams can trade those away, of course, and it’s common for teams to have multiple first-round picks after executing trades. Case in point, back in 2020, the San Francisco 49ers had their own first-round selection toward the very end of Round 1 but managed to acquire another Round 1 pick from the Indianapolis Colts after trading away Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

But, for the most part, each team winds up with a selection in Round 1, and it’s the reverse order of how the season played out. The Super Bowl-winning team picks at No. 32 overall, whereas the team with the worst record during the regular season picks first.

Got it? Good.

Except there’s a caveat for 2023: There are only 31 first-round picks in this year’s NFL Draft.

Why are there only 31 picks in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft?

Pouring over any draft projection or mock for 2023, you’ll notice there aren’t 32 selections for the first round of this year’s draft.

Nope. Just 31.

The reason is both simple and complex. From a simple vantage point, the league rescinded the Miami Dolphins‘ own first-round selection, which would have been No. 21 overall, because of tampering and allegedly trying to throw games in order to improve NFL Draft positioning.

The NFL Network breakdown was as follows:

"The investigation, led by former U.S Attorney and S.E.C. chairperson Mary Jo White, lasted six months and focused on two areas, according to the NFL. The first centered on if the Dolphins violated league tampering rules with quarterback Tom Brady and former Saints head coach Sean Payton while they were under contract with other clubs; the second on if the franchise intentionally lost games during the 2019 season to improve its draft position."

Read More: Listing every pick Niners will have for 2023 NFL Draft

Miami also will lose a third-round pick in 2024.

As such, the picks that would have taken place after No. 21 overall simply move up a spot, and Round 2 will kick off after 31 picks are in the books.

The Niners have been fined draft picks before but never Round 1 selections.

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