Draft's waiting line gets longer

The NFL's new three-day draft kicks off this Thursday, but the most interesting times could be at the start of action on Friday and Saturday, after teams have had time to re-evaluate their draft board and makes calls looking for a trade. It could create a lot of action for teams at the top of the second and fourth rounds.

Whether it's simply trying to maximize its audience in prime time or not, the move of the NFL draft from the time-honored two-day affair into a three-day Draft-a-Palooza is going to result in a lot of changes in how the draft is going to be handled.

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.


  • In a case of the surreal meeting the ridiculous, over the weekend, the NFL's official website postulated on what would happen if the 2007 draft had gone differently. Thanks to some impressive Photoshop skills, they had a smiling Adrian Peterson holding up a Raiders jersey, getting some to wonder how different both franchises would be right now had Oakland taken Peterson instead of JaMarcus Russell with the top pick in the 2007 draft.

  • Two players who might see their draft stock take significant hits are Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer and USC tight end Anthony McCoy. Both are rumored to have tested positive for drugs at the Combine. According to reports, Dwyer tested positive for amphetamines, which he said was from a prescription drug to treat a pre-existing medical condition. McCoy tested positive for marijuana.

  • Since when did South Florida become such a powerhouse? According to ESPN's Mel Kiper and his four-round mock draft, USF players will be about as well-represented as anyone. Kiper has four South Florida players going in the first three rounds – DE Jason Pierre-Paul to the Titans in the first round, safety Nate Allen to the Cowboys in the second round and cornerback Jerome Murphy and wide receiver Carlton Mitchell coming off in the third round to the Bears and Chargers, respectively. That's as many as he has going from national champ Alabama and more than powers like LSU and Ohio State (Kiper doesn't predict a single Buckeye to get drafted in the first three rounds). Throw in South Florida DE George Selvie and LB Kion Wilson, there may be as many as six USF players drafted in the first four or five rounds this weekend.

  • Viking Update Top Stories