With the college football regular season winding down and the NFL season almost ¾ of the way done, we are almost in full-on draft season. There are several events that will impact the 2022 NFL Draft. I felt it was time to familiarize the Draft Countdown readers with the dates they need to know.
Below we will look at all of the important dates coming up and what they mean for the NFL Draft.
2022 NFL DRAFT CALENDAR
1/9/22 – NFL Regular Season Ends
With the conclusion of Week 18, we will now get the first 18 spots of the draft order set. 14 teams will continue to play on but the 18 teams who fail to reach the playoffs will now see where they are selecting in each round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
1/8/22 – 1/12/22 College Gridiron Showcase
The CGS is a unique event in that there is no actual game to conclude the week. It is just a week full of practices with teams split amongst four rosters. Along with players from FBS programs, the CGS brings in a full roster of small school players to Fort Worth, Texas. A handful of players were drafted last year that competed in the CGS.
1/12/22 – 1/15/22 Tropical Bowl
The Tropical Bowl had played the last few years in Daytona Beach but decided to move shop down I-4 South to Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The roster is usually light on players that will make an NFL roster but you will see a few gems make their way.
1/15/22 Hula Bowl
Normally played in Hawaii (hence Hula Bowl) the game moved to Orlando this year. The Hula Bowl has a star-studded ensemble of former NFL coaches that will look to guide, what I have been told, will be a solid all-star game roster. The game and practices (dates not yet announced) will take place at The Bounce House on the campus of UCF. The game will be broadcast on CBSSN.
**BRIAN MINI-RANT** I have no idea why the Tropical Bowl decided their game should go on simultaneously as the Hula Bowl (which had the date first). In the SAME CITY! As you will see below, there was a nice free weekend the week after with no All-Star game. **END RANT**
1/29/22 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
The 10th edition of the NFLPA game will take place in the historic Rose Bowl. Jeff Fisher and Marvin Lewis will head the respective coaching staffs. In most years, the NFLPA game is firmly #3 in the All-Star Game pecking order. The game will be broadcast on NFL Network.
1/29/22 HBCU Combine
100 players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities will come to Mobile, Alabama the week before the Senior Bowl. They will be interviewed by NFL teams and work out in the same drills that will take place at the NFL Scouting Combine in early March.
2/3/22 East-West Shrine Bowl
The Shrine Bowl is the oldest All-Star Game on the circuit. This year, they try to breathe new life into the game with a new leader (Eric Galko) and a new locale (Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas). The Shrine will be a part of the NFL’s Pro Bowl festivities with the game taking place on a Thursday night and televised on NFL Network. No dates have been given for the practice schedule. Since I have been covering the NFL Draft, the Shrine Bowl has usually been the #2 ASG and I don’t expect that will change in 2022.
2/1/22 – 2/3/22 Senior Bowl Practices
A lot of money will be made over the three days of practices in Mobile. 700+ scouts and media will be on hand to watch 130 (estimated) of the top upperclassmen available for the 2022 NFL Draft do battle in one-on-one drills. They will be interviewed and watched intently. They will get NFL coaching all week from full NFL coaching staffs. In most years, the teams with the worst records in the NFL (barring they don’t fire their entire staffs) will be on hand. If you are a fan of the NFL, college football, the NFL Draft, or all three, you should make plans to attend the practices in person. They are free to the public to attend.
2/5/22 Reese’s Senior Bowl
The conclusion of the week will see the #1 All-Star Game take place. While it’s true that most (if not all) of the scouts have bailed, to say the game doesn’t matter simply isn’t true. For the second year in a row, the game will take place at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Last year they were only allowed 25% capacity. This year I expect a sellout crowd.
3/1/22 – 3/7/22 NFL Scouting Combine
The Scouting Combine is the annual event where 300+ players will be poked, prodded, interviewed, and tested by every NFL team. This is the first chance to gather athletic data to fill out draft profiles for players.
3/11/22 (?) – Pro Days Begin
Over the next month, nearly every school in the country will hold a pro day on their campus for teams to get measurements and test players. These are especially important for players who either weren’t invited to the combine. Or were not able to test due to injury.
3/16/22 – NFL League Year Begins
This is the day when free agents can legally sign with new teams and trades can officially be consummated.
4/28/22 – 2022 NFL Draft, Day One
This is the day we are waiting for. This is the day the clock on the homepage is counting down to. 32 players will be selected in the first round.
4/29/22 – 2022 NFL Draft, Day Two
By the end of the night, over 100 players will have been selected and every NFL team should have drafted at least once.
4/30/22 – 2022 NFL Draft, Day Three
This is the day where the depth of your team is formed. Sure. You will find the occasional rookie starter. But most of the players selected will be key reserves or core special teams players.