Friday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke briefly with Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network. One of the questions related to the future of the NFL Draft, and it contained a couple of interesting nuggets:
Darlington: "We’re still two weeks away from the NFL draft. It feels like forever on this end of the microphone. How has this process gone so far? I know it had to do with scheduling in some sense (Radio City Music Hall was booked in April), but is this something where you would like to see the draft remain a May event?"
Goodell: "The reason why we moved it two weeks later is the facility. They just didn’t have the dates. We’re looking at a lot of options with respect to the draft to create even more excitement around the draft. Maybe even expanding the number of of days which we have the draft. We also may change the location.
I was speaking with [Lovie] Smith this morning and he thinks it’s worked very well for him as a first-year head coach. It gives him a chance to have his minicamp and evaluate his players and make some decisions on what he needs in the draft. There’s some real positives to it, we’ll balance that and we’ll make a decision soon."
I actually didn't recall or didn't realize that the draft had been pushed back to May this year because of Radio City Music Hall being booked already; my assumption was that this was a calculated, ratings-related move by the NFL. Depending on the feedback this year, perhaps we could see the draft getting pushed back into April again in the future.
As a writer, I have actually enjoyed the extra time. It gave me more time to focus on free agency exclusively, without having to worry about draft coverage overlapping it. Like Smith, I'm sure first-year head coach Mike Pettine and first-year GM Ray Farmer are digging the additional time to prepare for the draft too. With that said, whether the draft is in April or May, it's not a big deal to me.
The thing I would be against is expanding the draft to four days. Again, it does give team's more time to re-evaluate their draft board after a certain round, but at some point, the product will be too watered down for the fans that they just won't care by the fourth day. It's not that they don't like the draft, but do four straight days of watching the draft is a lot of time to ask for out of a person's regular routine.