We've all spent plenty of time and effort over the last few days discussing who the Packers should target in the draft coming up from April 22-24. But I'd like to discuss a different issue: the draft event itself.
Roger Goodell has been tweaking the draft over the last few years. For most of the decade, the first three rounds took place on Saturday, with rounds 4-7 on Sunday. Starting in 2008, the format was changed to rounds one and two on Saturday, starting in the afternoon instead of the morning. In addition to the altered schedule, Goodell scaled back the amount of time allowed for the first round from 15 to 10 minutes per pick, and in rounds two and three from 10 to 5 (a move I thoroughly agree with).
But now, the draft is even more spread out than before. Round one is happening in prime time, starting at 7:30 PM Eastern on Thursday, April 22nd. Rounds two and three are on Friday, April 23rd starting at 6:30 Eastern, and 4-7 happen on Saturday, April 24th starting at 10 AM Eastern.
The questions I pose are these: why is Goodell doing this? And is this good for the draft?
The answer to the first is money. By putting the draft on during the week in prime time, it seems clear to me that Goodell hopes to get better ratings, generate more advertising revenue, and get more hype going.
The second is a tougher question. For me, draft weekend was a few days when I could veg out on the couch, forget about schoolwork, and just kick back and watch the draft with a few beers and a few friends. Now, I have to give up a Thursday and Friday night if I want to see the first three rounds. Besides our own selfish reasons, we have to consider the NFL fans on the west coast. Unless they get out of work before 4 PM, they likely won't be able to see the start of the draft on Thursday or Friday.
I doubt that there will be a substantial surge in ratings this year. I think any boost they'll get east of the Mississippi will be balanced out by people unable to rush home from work on the west coast.
What do you think? Does the change to prime time make the draft better or not?