What Does On The Clock Mean In Football?

Every year when NFL draft season rolls around the term “only the clock” starts getting thrown around. Though many football fans have no idea what this means.

The term on the clock in football means that the ten minute time period a team has to make their draft selection has begun.

In other words, when a team is on the clock it means it is their turn to make their pick. The reason this term becomes so popular during the draft is that it is heavily used on the draft broadcast.

After each pick, an announcement will be made stating which team is on the clock. A timer will start somewhere on the screen and will tick down until the team makes their selection.

Once a team has submitted their pick the timer should disappear and be replaced by a banner that states “the pick is in”.

At this point whoever is announcing the draft pick will come to the stage and read out the pick to the crowd.

What Do Teams Do When They Are On The Clock?

Prior to the draft, each team is going to come up with a big board in which they rank all of their prospects. Due to this, you would think teams only need a few seconds to make their selection when it is their turn to draft.

This leaves many fans wondering what exactly these teams are doing with all that time before they make their pick.

Entertaining Trades

Though the process of trading draft picks is usually done before a team is on the clock this time can also be used to negotiate. General managers from around the league will make calls to the drafting team to see how much they value their pick.

If a player is available that another team wants then reaching out to the team on the clock is one way get that player on your team.

This is why you will notice general managers and coaches taking a large number of phone calls throughout the draft.

Making The Call To The Players

Before announcing the pick themselves teams often choose to call the player personally to let them know they have been selected to join the team.

This process of calling the player can take a few minutes often delaying the process and making the selection at the draft.

A lot of teams choose to call players after the selection has been made as well.

Last Minute Changes

As much as you can prepare for the draft there are likely to be a few things that will surprise you on draft day.

Even if your big board is set up ranking all the prospects there may be news or information that causes you to reconsider your rankings.

In these situations, teams may have to evaluate things last second in order to determine which player they are selecting.

Situations in which highly rated players fall into later rounds of the draft would be an example that may give a team some pause.

If a player falls to them that they are not expecting they may want to determine why the player is falling before choosing them as their selection.

Learn more about football terminology with our articles on the term clock it and sideline warnings.

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