Wednesday, 29 May 2013

NFL Draft Heads to May

By pushing the NFL Draft back two weeks in 2014 to May 8th-10th, the league showed no favoritism to agents, prospective players, team personnel, or the fans--they all are negatively affected.

1. Agents

While no sympathy will be offered by the general public to agents, pushing the draft back extends the time during which they pick up expenses for their clients.  Traditionally, agents will absorb the costs of pre-draft training which will include combine prep, living expenses, travel, and an assortment of other "benefits."  Now, while powerhouse firms can easily assume the marginal additional expense, agents often spend between $10,000 and $20,000 on each client.

Obviously, for agents with fewer clients or alternative revenue streams, the additional weeks of "investment" in their clients becomes a burden.  Much like the summer of 2011 when the lockout extended the time during which agents covered their client's expenses, there was a clear distinction between what larger agencies were able to cover versus smaller firms or individual agents.

And, let's not pretend that poaching between agents doesn't occur.  This gives more time for agents to continue to recruit the clients of others.  [I won't even get into the role of runners and the impact that Jay-Z/Roc Nation could have during this period.]

2. Players

There is no real benefit to the potential draftable players, other than extended an already difficult time period.  Since the NFL is not changing the dates of the Combine, preparation for elite prospects will still start immediately after the bowl season.  There will still be a rush to sign with an agent, have them pick up training costs, and begin immediate preparation for the Combine.  These players will need to be in peak form for All-Star games, the Combine, perhaps for their school's Pro Days, and then there will still be another 6 weeks before the draft--more than enough time to slip, either physically or with a mistake.
And this extends the time that unsigned free agents have to patiently wait for teams to fortify their rosters with rookies (i.e. cheap labor) before they are able to resign with an NFL team.

3. NFL Personnel

Again, no one cares if a scout or assistant GM needs to go without sleep for another two weeks but this maneuver extends the time under which these individuals are under exorbitant amounts of pressure.  The extra two weeks provides no additional insight into a player's potential so there is no evaluative benefit to this additional time.

4. The Fans

Hey, look, another two weeks of your favorite draft prognosticator telling you who your favorite team will select in the 6th Round!  A colossal waste of time--unless you listen to Mike Mayock who, and I'm partial because he's a Boston College alum, is fantastic.

For the future, either the NFL Draft should revert back to April, or the League Year should also be pushed back--thereby moving the Combine, the start of free agency, and other calendar items. However, as it stands today, does anyone see any winners in this move?

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