Snap decision

Even as coaches try to top eachother in the draft's information game, a cutback in the the number of players a team can interview in the pre-draft combine's interview session isn't necessarily bad news. The league announced that there will be a change in interview process held in Indianapolis Feb. 18-24.<p>

NFL franchises will be permitted to interview only 60 players at the annual predraft combine, which draws about 350 of the top eligible players for the 2003 draft. The change is the league's attempt to streamline a tedious process.

While the teams will be limited in the number of players talked to, those chosen will have a more relaxed framework in which to interview. The combine has been extended by two days

Under the new system each team had to submit by Jan. 31 a list of up to 60 players with whom it was requesting an interview. Combine officials took the lists from the teams and assigned specific interview blocks for players with the clubs that wanted to meet them.

Teams will get 15 minutes of interview time, then a horn will sound and the draft prospect will rotate to the next club on his schedule. Previously, the interviews were unlimited and unscheduled.

So far, the feedback has been good.

"I love it," said Tampa Bay director of player personnel Tim Ruskell told ESPN. "What it will do is remove much of the chaos from the process. You shouldn't have to be sending coaches or scouts to chase down a player (for an interview), as we've done in the past, if the new system functions the way it's meant to."


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