With the 2011 NFL Draft quickly approaching, the rush to see the latest mocks or read the newest updates on prospects can be so overwhelming that some important things get overlooked. The draft version of our popular Wing Tips segment will include all sorts of useful and — in some cases, — useless Draft information so that you're in the know.
Synchronize Those Watches
The Draft has seen some format changes in the past few years, the most notable of which has been the move to put the first round on primetime TV. The Carolina Panthers are set to go on the clock at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 28. In the first round, each team will only get 10 minutes to get their card in again, unlike some years past when teams were given 15 minutes for their first round picks. If we do some math — strictly because we have to here — we can figure out approximately when teams will pick in the first round. Drum roll please... the math states that the Falcons will be announcing their first-round pick at approximately... 12:30 a.m. Better put on a pot of coffee or two. Of course, this doesn't mean that the Falcons will definitely be announcing their pick then. Not every team will use their 10 minutes of allotted time. But that estimation may not be far off. You know what? Just go ahead now and ask for Friday, April 29 off. You'll need it to catch up on your beauty sleep.
Rounding 'Em Up
Again, with all the changes to the Draft that have occurred in recent years, the first round only will take place Thursday, April 28. The second and third rounds will take place Friday, April 29 starting at 6 p.m. The fourth-through-seventh rounds will take place Saturday, April 30 starting at noon. In the second round, teams will have seven minutes to make a selection. In the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds, teams have just five minutes to make a pick. Forget about doing the math on when the Falcons will pick in those rounds. Too many things can happen to change the timing structure. Plus, I can't add up anything that complex.
Last One Out Gets The Lights
The NFL Draft was criticized prior to the recent format changes for being much too long to watch. Teams were given 15 minutes to make their selections in the first round, and that seemed to push everything back. The format changes have gone a long way toward making the Draft more watchable for the casual NFL fan. The record for the longest amount of time it took to complete the first round was six hours, eight minutes in 2007. The schedule for this year's draft says the ending time for first-round coverage is 11:30 p.m. As I just mentioned, if every team that picks before the Falcons uses all 10 minutes of their allotted time, the Falcons will be announcing their pick around 12:30 a.m. Friday, April 29. Obviously, there are high hopes that some teams will pick quickly. But it doesn't always work out that way.
Take The Phone Off The Hook
In 2009, phones rang and rang and rang as teams called one another to complete 33 trades during the draft. It was quite a screwy situation. Don't expect a repeat of that in 2011. This year, players aren't allowed to be traded. Only picks can be sent to another team in order to move up or down. That severely limits the options, but it seems rare to see veterans traded on during the Draft anyway. We'll see how this wrinkle plays out, but I wouldn't expect to see much movement.