I'm a big follower of the NFL and the Draft Day 1 is one of my favourite times of the year. The build up and speculation of who will be taken where is huge.
The thing over there is the colleges and NFL teams have no real connection, other than maybe a cross over in fan base when located in the same city / state. I believe the AFL is similar in that AFL clubs don't have junior rep teams like NRL clubs do, but stand to be corrected on that. Therefore there's not the same allegiances of young players eligible for the draft, so fans aren't that upset when a player from a club's region is selected by another club as they've had no playing ties to that club.
For it to palatable to fans and clubs, perhaps a complete revamp of the junior system is needed. The establishment of a junior competition, or competitions, independent of NRL clubs to break the playing ties between juniors and NRL clubs. Therefore fans would be less attached to those juniors and clubs wouldn't feel aggrieved that a junior they've invested in is drafted by another club. That all takes money though which would need to come from the NRL to have it independent on clubs. That could potentially free up money for clubs to run their own reserve grade though and get back to having a true reserve grade comp, which is where most drafted players would start off I would think. Also an elite junior comp could potentially attract broadcasting rights to help fund it I guess. I used to find the old CommBank Cup must watch viewing of a Sunday morning to see what young stars were coming through so no reason an elite junior comp couldn't be picked up by Fox or one of the free to air networks or streaming services.
I think it could work but certain concessions would have to be made.