The 1997 NFL Draft was held April 19-20 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. A total of 240 players were selected over the two days of the draft.

Arizona State, Miami, and Nebraska each had eight players selected, the most from any school. The Big 12 had 35 players drafted, most of any conference.

There were 27 underclassmen selected, most in any draft to that point. Seven underclassmen were among the top 10 selections.

The No. 1 pick was Ohio State tackle Orlando Pace. He was the first offensive lineman selected No. 1 since the Vikings picked USC tackle Ron Yary first in 1968. The Jets originally held the No. 1 overall selection, but traded it to the Rams two days before the draft. It was the second time in three years that the No. 1 overall pick was traded before being made.

Defensive end Peter Boulware, the No. 4 overall pick by the Ravens out of Florida State, was the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Florida State also produced the Offensive Rookie of the Year, running back Warrick Dunn, who was drafted 12th by the Buccaneers.

The 240th and final selection, "Mr. Irrelevant," was Army quarterback Ronnie McAda, who was selected by the Packers.