The 2017 NFL Draft was the 82nd annual meeting of National Football League franchises to select newly eligible football players. It was held April 27–29 in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at Eakins Oval. University of Delaware students Katherine Nails and Jack Roberts provided coverage.
On Feb. 8, 1936, all nine of the National Football League coaches gathered in a room at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia.
A list of 90 college football players’ names hung on the wall, and coaches took turns selecting men for their respective squads in order from the year’s worst record to the best. The Philadelphia Eagles chose first.
Thus, the NFL draft was born.
On April 27, the NFL draft returned to Philadelphia for the 16th time in its 81-year history. Its return to the city “is like Christmas morning at the North Pole,” says Erik Sonlin, a 46-year-old Philadelphian. “It’s that special.”
As the first pick of the draft drew near, parts of Philadelphia’s personality began to show.
Stefano Frattarelli, a 23-year-old Eagles fan who attended the event toting a sign that simply read “Boo,” explained the city’s sentiment. “We’re from Philly—we’ve gotta boo,” he said. “It’s our reputation.”
Once the Cleveland Browns used their first pick to draft Myles Garrett, a defensive end from Texas A&M University, the exhausted football fans came back to life, predicting and discussing picks amongst themselves.
“It’s been electrifying,” said Jonathan Miller, 29, of the atmosphere, which grew livelier as the Philadelphia Eagles’ first-round pick approached.
The Eagles selected Derek Barnett, the pass-rushing defensive end from the University of Tennessee. Barnett holds Tennessee’s all-time sack record with 33; Tennessee’s previous record-holder was Eagles great Reggie White.
This pick, however, drew mixed reactions from the crowd. “It’s definitely been a position that needed filling—but at the same time, we could’ve been more explorative,” Miller said.