2014 NFL Draft: Two weeks too much

Al Bello

The NFL pushed back the date of the NFL draft to May the 8th this year, as opposed to the traditional late April timeframe. This has lead to a degree of draft overkill, and hopefully the draft returns to April next year.

One year ago today we were but three short days away from the 2013 NFL Draft. The build-up of excitement has crescendoed to fever pitch, and we were finally set to embrace the light at the end of the mock draft tunnel. It was, as always, a satisfying conclusion to a long, time consuming process.

Perhaps the most anticipated event in the NFL calender other than opening day Sunday, the NFL draft has traditionally begun the last Thursday of April ,barring a couple of exceptions here and there.

However due to a scheduling conflict with the drafts long time venue, the Radio City Music Hall in New York, this year sees the draft pushed back to May the 8th. So if there are any stragglers out there getting prematurely excited, I'm afraid there's another 16 days to wait.

I don't know about any of you, but I'm well and truly ready for the draft, in fact I'd go as for as to say I've never been more ready for anything in my life.

The draft process, starting virtually at the last whistle of the Super Bowl and filling almost every day's media cycle, was already an arduously long task. Any dedicated follower of the draft was guaranteed to be limping toward the late April finish line battling weariness and burnout. As has previously been alluded too, there are only so many mock drafts a sane man can handle but on top of that there are a multitude of things within the sphere of draft discussion and analysis that just start to drag. Only now, this draft malaise has been extended a further 14 days than usual.

Unless you're a firm cynic and conspiracy theorist, the NFL has a legitimate reason for extending the process this year. Fair enough, if it has to be moved it has to be moved.

However the NFL has stated there is no set date for the 2015 NFL draft, which in some ways makes this draft a test pilot for a later start date.

What I suspect is that  the NFL has every intention of moving the draft to May permanently. It fends off the NFL's true dead period, that is the days between the end of the draft and the beginning of training camp, for an extra 2 weeks. It gives draft "experts" another 2 weeks to display their expertise for all the world to see and It gives NFL Network an easy 6 or 7 hours of coverage a day of what this draft prospect has or hasn't done.

Essentially, what these extra 16 days serve to do is just generally keep the NFL brand front and centre of the sporting world, churning out content hour after hour and dominating the headlines for as long as possible. It achieves this at really no extra cost to the NFL, seeing that no other season or off-season dates have been changed. It's pretty much a win-win.

But there is such a thing as over-saturation for a fan, and I am thoroughly saturated at this point. I fear it won't be long until burnout takes me.

Perhaps these extra 16 days are a blessing in disguise, and will prove a tremendous benefit to NFL teams, but they do not appear to have complained or suffered up until this point.

Ultimately, a later date for the draft serves only the commercial interests of the NFL, and that's ok. I just wish there were only two more days to go, instead of 2 weeks.

As far the date of the draft next year, I can confidently say I'm pulling for a return to late April.

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