Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Draft Clock Ticking Quicker for NFL Teams; the League's Coaches Don't Mind Having Less Time in the First Round

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Draft Clock Ticking Quicker for NFL Teams; the League's Coaches Don't Mind Having Less Time in the First Round

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

When coach Tom Coughlin told Tony Boselli that he would be the Jaguars' first-ever draft pick in 1995, his response was, "What took you so long?"

Even though he had decided to take Boselli long before the NFL Draft started, Coughlin let the clock run down on the 15-minute waiting period before making it official.

"A lot of times, you sit and wait, because you're throwing a line in the water," Coughlin said. "... We knew who we were going to take. But we thought we might get somebody to switch picks, but they didn't buy it. Tony still reminds me of it every once in a while now."

Coughlin's decision to wait that day is one reason why the draft has dragged on for so long in recent years. Last year, six hours and eight minutes passed before the Indianapolis Colts made the final pick of the first round.

That's why the NFL decided to streamline the draft this year, cutting the first-round clock time to 10 minutes and the second-round clock time from 10 minutes to seven. The league also pushed back the draft's start time from noon to 3 p.m. and switched the third round from Saturday night to 10 a.m. Sunday. Teams still will have five minutes to make all of their second-day picks.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the 3 p.m. Saturday start is better for fans on the West Coast, where the draft will begin at noon instead of 9 a.m.

The time switch is another example of how the draft has become a promotional vehicle for the league since ESPN began televising it in 1980. The broadcasts helped make the draft so popular that the league eventually switched it from Tuesday to Saturday in 1995.

But last year's six-hour-plus first round was somewhat tedious even for dedicated fans, so teams won't have as much time to discuss their picks this year.

"I don't see the things that have been done in the past in 15 minutes can't be done in 10, to be honest with you," Coughlin said: "The one that will be the real test is when someone calls you with something right out of the blue, for example for a player to be traded or an exchange [of picks] when you're on the clock. …

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