Get Ready for the New and Improved NFL Draft
With the NFL draft only six days away, it's worth reminding everyone of the changes that the league has made to the format to try to speed things along.
Clubs will have 10 minutes each to make their first-round picks Saturday, down from the previous limit of 15 minutes. They'll have seven minutes to make their second-round selections, down from 10, and the same five minutes for their choices in rounds three through seven.
The draft's starting time Saturday has been pushed back three hours to 3 p.m., and only the first two rounds will be held Saturday. Rounds three through seven will come on Sunday. Previously, the first three rounds came on Saturday and the draft began at noon that day. Sunday's starting time becomes 10 a.m. instead of 11.
The changes were made after last year's first round lasted a record 6 hours 8 minutes.
Commissioner Roger Goodell pushed for the changes, and they were enacted at an owners' meeting in October. Eventually, the NFL might make the streamlined first round a prime time event on a Friday. For now, league officials would be satisfied with a quicker-moving event.
It shouldn't be too big of an adjustment for the teams. They spend months preparing for draft day. Most are ready for any scenario to unfold, and in the past clubs generally have handed in their picks long before the 15-minute first-round time limit has expired.
But if they do make trades during the first round this time around, they might have some hurrying to do.
"That 10 minutes, I know when you're waiting for somebody else to pick, it seems like it's a long time," New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said last week during his club's pre-draft news conference. "You're sitting there and you guys watch that 10 minutes go by and it seems like a half-hour. And that's what it seems like for us when somebody else is on the clock. When it's your pick and you're on the clock, those 10 minutes seem like about 45 seconds sometimes. Being prepared for that, it'll be interesting to see how that goes. I don't think the second round, I don't think that will have that much of an impact. The first round, if you're involved in a trade, you're going to have to get it done."
Both Belichick and Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said that teams would conduct more extensive trade talks prior to draft day, to be ready Saturday if something comes up while on the clock.
"What's happening is a lot of us are already making pre-trade calls," Newsome said during the Ravens' pre-draft news conference last week. "The teams behind me are already talking. We've already set parameters as to what it would be.... We're used to picking with five minutes because we've been doing that from the third round on anyway. So having 10 minutes, I think it's going to be better for the fans. For the people that are watching it on TV it will be more exciting, but I don't think it is putting any added pressure on us because all of the pre-work is already being done as far as getting ready when we go on the clock."
By Mark Maske |
April 21, 2008; 10:04 AM ET
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