Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Effect of Moving the NFL Draft to Prime Time

The NFL Draft kicks off Thursday night and this year the structure of the draft event has changed dramatically. The draft used to have the first two rounds on Saturday followed by the remaining rounds (3-7) on Sunday. This year the NFL has decided to create more television advertising and turned the draft into a prime time affair. The first round will take place on Thursday night, the 2nd and 3rd rounds will be on Friday evening and the remaining 4th through 7th rounds will be picked on Saturday. The NFL has a good chance to take the ratings crown in primetime, because the bar isn’t that high. Networks have turned to former sitcom stars that have now aged and tried to relight that candle. Elaine Benes (Seinfeld) on The New Adventures of Old Christine, Courtney Cox (Friends) on Cougartown, and now Alyssa Milano (Who’s The Boss & Charmed) on a new show called “Romantically Challenged” which debuted a few nights ago. Fairly entertaining, but unlikely to last long. Anway, where was I? Oh yeah, the NFL draft………You can debate the reasoning behind the move to prime time if you want, but the better question is what will be the impact on the teams and the players hoping to be drafted?

Side Note: While typing that paragraph, Ray Allen just hit another couple 3-pointers from the corner against the Heat. Dear Miami – you might want to guard him in that corner. Don’t think a game (potentially a series) like this against Boston where Dwayne Wade is the only guy competing won’t have an impact on where he signs this summer as a free agent. Chicago is competing against the Cavs. The Heat is not. Getting blown out by a Celtics team without Garnett where guys not named Wade went 18-51 (31%) is awful. Quentin Richardson (2-7 and a -33 +/-), please check your own manhood before calling anyone else an actress.

Increased Trades
The first and most obvious effect will be the increase of trading that will take place, particularly on the nights between draft action. When each day is complete, the teams will be able to regroup all of their management and scouts and evaluate where the team stands after the moves they made that day. They will also be able to break down the available players for the upcoming rounds, and target players they want to be in position to get. They now have that time over night to talk to all the teams they need to in order to secure a higher draft spot to get the guy they want. It’s like you’re out at the bar, and you head to Q-doba to meet up with your regular hook up around 1:30 in the morning. When you get there, you see her, understand what you have and realize there was a Pink look-alike at the bar. You immediately hail a cab, sacrifice the burrito and cab fare to go back to find Pink-light because she fits a need for you and isn’t a fit for the others still at the bar. Last year on the Saturday night after the first two rounds, the Jets decided they wanted Shonn Greene and make a move to get the first pick on Sunday morning, which they used to draft the running back who will be their 2010 starter. Expect to see a ton of that activity late Thursday night after the first round is complete and again on Friday night after the first 3 rounds are over.

Players in Demand
The other benefit goes to those players that are the guys that have slid lower than expected. Suddenly if Colt McCoy is still available when Thursday night wraps up, will a team go back to their war room and make the decision that they need to have him? What about a team like the 49ers? If they draft an offensive lineman with the 13th pick, would it be worth it to trade their 3rd and 5th round picks to get their potential QB of the future? And that plays out great for Colt McCoy because instead of some team waiting back and having him get selected with the 45th pick, he now goes around the 35th pick, which is a bigger contract. Yeah, maybe I just made another excuse to post a picture of Colt McCoy’s fiance….are you complaining? This time I didn’t bother to include Colt in the picture.

And finally, just to wrap up the draft thoughts, there is this awesome video of Rich Eisen of the NFL Network running the 40 yard dash at the combine in Indy. They then overlay the running of some of the top prospects to see how quickly Eisen falls behind and how much slower he is…..especially when they compare him to the 300+ pound defensive line prospect Terrence Cody. (fastforward to the 2:30 mark for the best parts)

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