For many years, the draft had the first three rounds on Saturday and the final four rounds on Sunday. When the first day was completed, the 32 war rooms would do an assessment of what needs had been met in the draft to that point and it typically sparked a flurry of activity as teams tried to jockey for position by moving up into the first few picks of the fourth round to snap up players that they had rated as second- or third-round prospects that remained on the board. When the format changed to having the first two rounds on Saturday, a similar trend happened as the first day ended – teams made deals to get into the early parts of the third round.
With the three-day event, there will be two stoppages of picks – after the first round and the third round. Being as it is the first year of the new format, it will be interesting to see if the trend continues. It was pretty easy to get a fourth-round pick out of a team at the top of the round. Typically all it would cost was a flip-flop of fourth-rounders and a fifth- or sixth-rounder thrown in. The asking price for a pick at the top of the second round will be much more significant and you could see teams offering up first-round picks in 2011 in order to get back into the fray if there is a player they covet still on the board. After a night of reflection and a relatively late starting time (5 p.m. Central), teams willing to take a chance on somebody like Tim Tebow could be much more realistic.
As different as it will be for the decision-makers, it will be even nerve-wracking for the players involved. Depending on what sorts of things "their people" are telling them, players who think they might be borderline first-round picks that drop into the third round will have to wait two days to get selected instead of one. Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley had to wait until the fifth round of the draft. He had hoped to go in the first three rounds on the Saturday of the draft, but was realistic about his chances – having the expectation that it might not happen on the first day. For the Class of 2010, that anticipation and frustration will be even more pronounced.
"I think there will be more stress on the guys now," Brinkley said. "There was enough stress the way it was last year, but now with three days? If you don't get called that first or second day, that third day you're biting your nails. It's definitely tougher this year."
However it's going to go down, look for teams to be wheeling and dealing and the draftees on the final day having an excruciatingly long three days of waiting and hoping their names will eventually get called.