Apr 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks before the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Who wants to replace three weeks of the post-draft “dead period” with three more weeks of NFL draft hype?
That could happen very quickly. In an attempt to establish a year-long continuum, the NFL wants to reschedule their draft dates from late April to mid May. This may begin with the 2014 NFL Draft. A scheduling conflict at Radio City Music Hall could force these sudden changes. The Radio City Rockettes show, “The Spring Spectacular,” is already scheduled at the venue for late April.
These changes would move the 2014 NFL Draft from Apr. 24-26 to May 15-17. Other proposed calendar changes including moving the dates of the NFL Scouting Combine and the start of the league calendar year. Nothing has been decided on these issues and they’ll likely remain the same in 2014.
How would this affect fans and members of the Tennessee Titans? For starters, this creates three additional weeks for draft hype. This doesn’t mean much other than it’ll entertain some fans while it’ll drive others insane. Mock drafters (e.g. Mel Kiper) should benefit from this because it creates more opportunities for them to modify their mock drafts.
One thing that concerns me: Rookies wouldn’t have as long to adjust to their new teams. The Titans’ rookie orientation was held from May 11-12. That came approximately two weeks after they finalized their draft class on Apr. 27. Now let’s consider that the 2014 NFL Draft would conclude on May 17. This puts undrafted free agents and veterans who are trying to make a team (e.g. Antonio Johnson) at a significant disadvantage.
Some people have questioned why the NFL doesn’t pursue venues in other cities. That’s a fair question and one I couldn’t answer. Move it around to each of the 32 cities that represent a franchise. Regardless of whether the NFL moves the draft date, they need a backup plan in case Radio City Music Hall decides they’re going to schedule something in mid May. Then again, NFL and RCMH probably knew about this well ahead of time and that’s why RCMH scheduled that show in late April.
Here’s the good thing for the Titans: these changes didn’t happen in 2013. Imagine having three fewer weeks with all of the new coaches, free agents and rookies heading into all of the camps. Mike Munchak and his staff need every day they can get to prepare their new crop of players. That doesn’t include the players they’re still signing—or trying to sign (e.g. John Abraham).
What’s nice is that it’ll make the “dead period” three weeks shorter. But if you hate things such as mock drafts and all that gossip, just tune out when April rolls around.