When the first round of last weekend's NFL Draft was over, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that it had taken 3½ hours to complete -- or three hours faster than the year before.
|Goodell shakes hands a lot faster during the first round of the '08 draft. (US Presswire)|
"I'll take that as a sign of approval," Goodell said.
Not so fast, Roger. Not everyone is overjoyed, with a few NFL clubs wishing the draft went back to its old format.
Of course, that's not about to happen -- not after the runaway success of its first run -- but it does make you realize that, as the saying goes, you can't please all of the people all of the time.
"I don't like it," said San Diego general manager A.J. Smith, who was opposed to the idea from the beginning, "because I just want five minutes. It didn't affect anything, but I like it (the old way) because I'd have five more minutes. I don't know if I would need them, but I do know that if I did I'd have five more minutes."
That makes sense. With more time you can consider more options -- particularly trades -- but that's not necessarily a good idea.
In the 2003 draft, for instance, the Minnesota Vikings were unable to complete a deal with Baltimore before their 15 minutes elapsed. So they passed on the pick, with Jacksonville and Carolina cutting in front of them before the Vikings woke up.
No one committed that mistake this year. In fact, when Baltimore made a trade -- and it made three in the first two rounds -- the Ravens weren't hurried or harried.
"We weren't rushed at all," said general manager Ozzie Newsome. "In fact, every decision was made with three to four minutes left on the clock. We didn't feel any pressure."
That's what the NFL likes to hear. A year ago the first round of the draft limped along at a tortoise-like six hours and 20 minutes, with Goodell -- who was running his first draft -- so worn out from the experience he vowed to correct it.
And he did. He proposed cutting the first round from a maximum of 15 to 10 minutes per team and the second from 10 to seven. The idea caught on, was adopted and the results speak for themselves: The first two rounds of this year's draft took roughly as long as the first round a year ago.
"We liked it," said Philadelphia general manager Tom Heckert. "It flowed, and we liked how fast it went. We were aware of who was ahead of us and that there was a chance we might trade with them, so it was not like you suddenly had to consider a trade while you were still on the clock."