I am a recent NFL enthusiast and have just started following the games but some terminology still stumps me. I understand the draft process in general and know that every year each of the 32 teams get to pick new players over two days with 7 rounds given to each of them. So, when a player is said to be the “first overall pick for a season, does it mean that he was the first one to be drafted by any team for that year? Or does it mean he was just picked in the first (of the seven rounds) round? If each team gets one pick (ideal circumstances), that would mean 32 picks per round. So could the player (said to be the first overall pick) have been picked in any order as long as it’s in the first round or does he have to strictly be the very first pick of the first round?
Let's take a look at the 2014 NFL Draft for example.
The Houston Texans have the first pick in the first round, or the first overall pick. Thus, X will be the first overall pick for this [draft] and he will go to the Houston Texans as the first pick in the first round.
The Houston Texans have the first pick in the second round, or the 33rd overall pick. Thus, X will be the 33rd overall pick for this [draft] and he will go to the Houston Texans as the first pick in the second round.
The draft order does not change round by round, meaning if Houston has the first pick in the first round, they will have the first pick in each of the following rounds. However, a team may trade draft picks with another team for players or other draft picks of another team.
Compensatory selections are made starting at the end of the third round. Teams who gets these picks based on how they did during free agency (the # of players lost to free agency vs. the # of players signed from free agency).
He doesn't have to strictly be the very first pick...nor second, nor third, nor fourth, nor fifth, nor sixth...nor seventh. He doesn't even have to be selected in the first round.
This is based on team needs, personnel, and best available (determined by the NFL combine, pro days, and how his collegiate performance may translate into the NFL). Mock drafts attempt to predict this phenomenon.
If there are 32 teams and 7 draft rounds, there are 32*7 or 224 overall picks. That is, picks 1-32 take plac3 in the first round, 33-64 in the second, 65-96 in the third, 97-128 in the fourth, 129-160 in the fifth, 161-192 in the sixth, and 193-224 in the seventh. The first "overall" pick is the first of 224, that is the first pick in the first round.
Each team's first round pick is likely to be better than the seventh round pick (barring "surprises" and "latebloomers.") But within the first round, number 1 is likely to be way better than number 32. Which is why the team with the worst record from the previous year gets to pick first. Unless it has traded away its pick, or lost it to another team for signing away one of its free agents (not likely).