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Are you ready for the 2017 NFL Draft?

April 22, 2017 GMT

A lot has changed since the first National Football League Draft was held in Philadelphia on Feb. 8, 1938.

Back then, the 17-year-old league had only nine teams. As for the African-American experience, forget it. Two years earlier, the league instituted a defacto-ban on Black players.

The selection process was primitive. There were no team scouts and media coverage. The draft consisted of nine rounds with teams taking turns picking names written on a blackboard.

Well, the 2017 NFL Draft will more invasive than ever. With television, social media and the internet, the annual replenishment of professional football talent will become a spectacle. For three days, the city that has hosted mega world concerts and papal visits will be the football capital of the world.

It all begins on Thursday. The 72 iconic stone steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which actor Sylvester Stallone made famous during his “Rocky” movies, will become the backdrop for the 2017 NFL Draft extravaganza.

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The 82nd NFL Draft along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be held in the city for the first time since 1961. The first NFL Draft was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Philly also hosted the event in 1949-50, 1953-54, 1956 (Rounds 1-3) and 1957-61.

The draft, which was held in Chicago the previous two years, will be a prime-time event for the first three rounds. Round 1 will take place on Thursday while Rounds 2-3 will be held on Friday. The draft will end on Saturday with Rounds 4-7.

According to the NFL, Round 1 festivities will include incoming prospects walking the red carpet before entering an outdoor theater. More fans than ever before will be able to view NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing selections and greeting draftees during the first round. Thirty-two former players who are members of the NFL Legends Community, one representing each team, will be on hand for Night 2 to announce selections. Night 2 draft announcements will also feature winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

There will be plenty of cheers. There will be plenty of jeers. And when it comes to booing, Philadelphia’s reputation is widely known.

The Philadelphia Eagles will pick 14th in the first round. There are many rumors about who the club may select and what they may do with the pick.

For three nights, the NFL has taken over Philadelphia. Sit back and watch the show. It will be interesting.