The first big event of the next U.S. National Football League season kicks off Saturday, in New York with the opening rounds of the annual college draft.
All 32 NFL teams are allowed to draft eligible college players, which gives each team the exclusive right to negotiate contracts with players it selects.
The order of the draft is based on a team's previous season win-loss record as well as any player trades which may have included specified draft picks. This year, the lowly San Francisco 49ers have the first pick in the draft after winning only two games last year. Barring any last minute "draft day" trades, the 49ers will be followed by the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans.
University of Utah quarterback Alex Smith, California Golden Bears' quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and University of Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards are among the elite players competing to be the first player drafted this year, as analysts say there is no clear-cut choice among available players. Three players from the University of Auburn, in the state of Alabama, are considered potential top-10 draft picks.