The 2008 National Football League draft takes place Saturday and next Sunday in New York City, and it should be more fan-friendly for the simple reason that it’s been simplified.
Teams no longer have 15 minutes to make first-round selections but 10. They no longer have seven minutes for second-round picks but five.
Last year, the first round was perfectly laborious, consuming a record six hours and eight minutes.
“I’ve talked to teams about this, and they don’t think it’s going to have any impact at all,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “They deal with whatever you tell them. They don’t need 15 minutes to make a move. Most of those 15 minutes were spent just saying, ‘We’ve got 15 minutes of publicity. We have 15 minutes of everybody talking about our team and showing highlights of our team and discussing our organization.’ I think 10 minutes for the first round is plenty.”
Because of the reduction of time between picks, Saturday’s draft will start on ESPN at 3 p.m. instead of the traditional noon slot. Only two rounds will take place Saturday instead of three, which is another change from past drafts, leaving the final five rounds for Sunday.
Kiper, who will be working his 30th NFL draft and his 25th for ESPN, wishes the league would have kept three rounds on the first day.
“I like to refer to day two, but you can’t really say ‘day two’ any longer,” he said. “You used to say, ‘He was a day-two guy,’ when he was a fourth- or fifth-round guy. Now you’ve got to say a third-round player is day two, and there is a fine line between a late one and an early three. I can tell you that from past history. Those terms ‘day one’ and ‘day two’ are almost out the window now.”
This week’s draft is the most balanced at the top that Kiper can remember. He is projecting Michigan tackle Jake Long to go first overall to the Miami Dolphins, Virginia defensive end Chris Long to go second to the St. Louis Rams and LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey to go third to the Atlanta Falcons.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...