Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that the National Football League has had preliminary discussions about moving the first round of the NFL Draft to Friday night.
I won't say that this is a bad idea or anything like that. . .but it sure as heck isn't going to work the way things are currently constituted. After all, this year's first round set an all-time record for length, lasting a whopping 6 hours and 8 minutes. Under those circumstances, if you started the draft at 7 Eastern/6 Central, it would be after 1 AM by the time the first round was finished.
Now, I'm a hardcore draft fan, so the league would have my viewership no matter what time it holds the draft. (It also helps that I really have no life and most of my Friday nights are free anyway, but I digress.) But how many of your more casual fans are going to sit up until 1 AM on a Friday night to watch the first round of the NFL Draft? Not too many, I wouldn't imagine.
The obvious solution to this would be to chop the time available to teams for their first round selection from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. At that point, the longest your first round could potentially last would be 5 hours and 20 minutes. . .and that's if all 32 teams take the entire 10 minutes each time to make their selection. As we know, that doesn't always happen, so you'd probably be looking at something closer to the 4 1/2 hour range. Certainly more manageable than 6+ hours. . .or, if every team decides to take their whole 15 minute allotment, 8 hours to conclude the first round.
Hey, the second round seems to go by with no real problems with 10 minutes per selection. Besides, when it comes to the first round, everyone has their board constructed, and all these teams have been looking at film and working guys out for a little more than two months. They should have at least SOME idea who they want to use their first selection on at that point.
It will be interesting to see where the NFL goes with this. There will almost certainly have to be changes if they chose to move the draft, however.