Opinion: Condense the NFL Draft


Ritchie Mulhall

Richard Mulhall

I know all the sports fans out there reading this are going to respond to my column this week with a big “duh,” but the NFL Draft needs to be condensed.

The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, which took place last Thursday, took over three hours to complete. This length of time was completely unnecessary. It probably took almost an hour and a half to get through the first 10 picks due to all the hoopla surrounding the first-round picks, such as quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, the No. 1 and No. 2 picks, respectively. Not to mention the fact that most of the first-round teams took the full 10 minutes to make or decide to trade their selection.

Now I know the draft takes long every year—especially the first round on the first night—but does it really need to take this long? These teams have had a full year to decide whom they are going to take. They don’t need a full 10 minutes to make a selection. Give them five minutes instead. Five minutes is still plenty of time to accommodate trades. After all, the rooms from which NFL owners and coaches conduct the draft are called war rooms.

The thing that aggravates me most about the runtime of the draft, though, is the analyst panel. I want to actually watch the draft, not watch ESPN analyst Mel Kiper talk about the draft and then not see him again for another nine months, until the 2017 NFL Draft rolls around. 

The panel sucks up so much of the time it takes to conduct the draft, and it’s absolutely ridiculous. When a team makes its selection and the sidebar pops up at the bottom of the screen indicating that the “pick is in,” the panel continues to talk for another 5 minutes about the previous pick. Then the network decides to cut to a commercial, which can take up to another 3-4 minutes. So it could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes after the pick is in for us to hear who the team selected.

There’s way too much analysis on the part of the panel and there’s way too many ill-timed commercials when it comes to the draft. By the time we get to the 16th pick—which is halfway through the first round— I’ve lost interest just because ESPN drags out the process to the point where I don’t even care who’s going where anymore.

If it were up to me, the first round of the draft would take an hour and a half—tops. I would eliminate all the filler in-between and focus the broadcast on what the draft is actually supposed to be about: the draft.

Richard Mulhall is a sports columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].