Chicago, L.A. Pushing Hard To Host NFL Draft, While Some Lament Event's Late Start
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday said that L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in "aggressively pitching their cities" for the '15 NFL Draft, according to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. Mayors from other cities "also have been in contact with Goodell." The league in the past has said that it will "consider alternatives" to Radio City Music Hall in N.Y. Goodell said that the NFL also is "considering expanding the draft to four days." If the rule passes, it is "possible that each of the first three rounds will get their own night," while rounds four through seven would then "take place Sunday" (NFL.com, 5/5). In Detroit, Jamie Samuelsen wrote pushing the '14 draft back two weeks has "increased the interest, the talk and the speculation." Knowing "what football means to this country," there is "little chance of the league kicking it into reverse." They will "probably keep pushing it and pushing it until the last possible weekend." Perhaps there is "a saturation point for everybody," but the league "hasn’t found it yet, at least not with the masses" (FREEP.com, 5/5).
WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART: In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote if Goodell "could put common sense ahead of greed for one second, then he should call an audible next year and move the draft back to its late April time slot." This extra two-week waiting period "does nothing but turn a fun process into agony." This is "no longer hype, it’s torture." Maybe if the TV ratings "take a dip for the May 8-10 draft, Goodell would reconsider." If the league extends the draft to four days, it proves the NFL "doesn’t care about overworking coaches and scouts or dragging out the draft." As long as there is "more money to be made, it’s all good" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/3). In Austin, Kirk Bohls wrote, "I'm really dreading the day the NFL goes to a seven-day draft with one round a day" (STATESMAN.com, 5/5).CBS Sports Network’s Jim Rome said, "At this point we’ve all been walking through the desert for months, waiting to arrive at this thing and that May 8th date might actually be a mirage” (“Rome,” CBS Sports Network, 5/5). ESPN's Michael Wilbon noted "respected people in this business," even "GMs and coaches don't like the new timing of the draft." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "They're not going to say it publicly but they'd tell you this was mistake and the reason they think it's a mistake is through this over-extended period of time, ("PTI," ESPN, 5/5).
YOUTH MOVEMENT: In N.Y., Bart Hubbuch notes the number of underclassmen declaring early for the draft "has nearly doubled in just three years, and that’s setting off alarm bells around the league for scouts, coaches and executives." There are "a whopping 98 early entrants this year." That is "up from just 56" in '11, which was just before the CBA’s "sweeping new rookie salary restrictions kicked in." Industry insiders expect the number of underclassman leaving school early "to keep trending upward as the top college players want to get the clock started as soon as possible on their second contract -- which is now when the real money can kick in." The NFL has "seen the problems the NBA continues to have with one-and-dones and is worried that could become an issue in pro football" (N.Y. POST, 5/6).