After the longest first round in the history of the NFL Draft occurred last month, one that lasted for over 6 hours, it appears that Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to shorten it. ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli reports that Goodell is getting the ball rolling on bringing up the issue of the time limit each team has for the first and second rounds of the draft.
Currently, teams have 15 minutes to make a pick in the first round and 10 minutes in the second. From that point on, the time limit is 5 minutes for every remaining round. Early reports suggest that a change would likely make the first round limit 10 minutes and 7 minutes minutes for the second round.
After live-blogging the draft for almost all of the first day, I would definitely be in favor of shortening things up. Teams have months upon months to prepare for the draft, so what difference is 5 minutes less to get your pick in going to make? Of course, teams have to be able to react to things that happen in front of them, but that is why you have draft boards with rankings of players you favor the most.
A reason that isn't completely obvious just yet behind potentially shortening the first round of the draft could point to the direction of moving round one to primetime on Friday night. That idea started to trickle out in the weeks after the draft, and I must say, it's not a bad idea at all. Putting the first round of the draft in a primetime slot would open up great possibilities in the ratings department, which would lead to more revenue from advertising. The biggest problem with making a move like that would be the time factor. With the way things are now, the first round could never be on a Friday night unless everyone was okay with the idea of staying up until the wee hours of the morning.
A change to something around 10 minutes for each pick in round one would still be pushing it. The problem is, you have to get the starting time to work for the entire country. It can't be too early for those out in the Pacific time zone, but at the same time, it can't be too late for those of us here in the East.
Regardless of a future move to the primetime slot on a Friday, the first and second rounds have to be shortened. There is no reason for one round to last 6+ hours. It gets boring to watch after a while as you can imagine. Plus, anything that makes live-blogging the draft more enjoyable is a good thing. Yes, it was fun to sit there and watch the thing for 11 straight hours, but I don't know if I'm up to it again in 2008. Okay, who am I kidding, of course I am. But 11 hours? That's just ridiculous.