NFL Alters Draft

The NFL announced Tuesday some major modifications to the way it will conduct its draft, starting next April.

The NFL announced Tuesday that it is going to revamp its draft procedures, which have become a fan favorite, but because of the inordinate amount of time it took to get the first couple of rounds done, change was needed.

Under the new plan, the April 26-27 draft will be pushed back from a noon ET start to 3 p.m. ET, but the first day of the draft will be shortened from three rounds to two. In addition, the time between picks will be reduced from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. In recent years, the draft has set time records as teams allowed the clock to wind down and pushed eight hours in duration. Under the new rules, even if every team ran out the clock completely, the first round could take no more than five hours, 20 minutes.

Instead of having the final four rounds of the draft on Sunday, there will be five rounds of picks made. Instead of starting at 11 a.m. ET, the draft will now start at 10 a.m. ET.

At a meeting of league officials Tuesday in Philadelphia, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the changes will "make for a more streamlined and efficient draft."

Always cognizant of fan reaction to their product, the NFL believes the new rules changes will make the draft more exciting for fans, which will also mean that proposed trades would have to be done quicker and without as much deliberation. It's unclear whether that will reduce the number of trades or actually increase them because of the time constraints and need to make moves quicker.

Other proposals had included moving the first half of Round One to prime time Friday night, but that idea was scrapped.

* Mike Ditka is the latest to chime in on the lack of use that Adrian Peterson is getting. He said "I don't understand" the thinking of Brad Childress to limit his carries and use him on kickoff returns. Ditka believes that Peterson is one of the best running backs to come out of the college game in years and that the Vikings are wasting his talent. Responding to Childress' remark about saving Peterson from overuse to keep him fresher, Ditka asked "What are you saving him for?"
* The Viking worked out a couple of veteran defensive players – nose tackle Marcus Bell and linebacker Wesly Mallard Tuesday. Bell was released by the Giants earlier this year, while Mallard was cut loose by the Broncos.
* There can be backlash to the two-running back system that is being criticized more than just with the Vikings. Sources around the Cowboys say there is a growing divide among the offensive players to get Marion Barber more chances to run the ball rather than be in a time share, and Fred Taylor referred to himself as "a pawn" in the two-back system for the Jaguars. While more teams are using multi-back offenses, there may be a backlash to it.
* The Texans signed former Viking Adimchobe (Joe) Echemandu off the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Earlier in the day the team announced it had released former starter Samkon Gado.
* The Falcons released nose tackle Grady Jackson Tuesday after he had started all 23 games he had played after signing as a free agent prior to the 2006 season.

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