Finally, something on which Bill Belichick and everyone can see eye to eye. The coach of the New England Patriots wishes the NFL draft was earlier — at least as early as it used to be, if not earlier altogether.
Jeff Howe of theBoston Herald writes that Belichick spoke with candor about the effect of an early NFL draft on the annual construction of a team.
“[T]he sooner you have your players, the easier it is to start, not only getting them integrated into your team but also building your team. There are certain things you get in the draft, then you have to fill other areas of the team with veteran players or college free agents or whatever. When that process is going on, you can see every day you pick up the transactions, every team has got — not every team — but there’s probably 5-15 transactions on a daily basis. Of course, if you had the draft, you can move that whole process up. Whatever it is, it is. It’s not my decision, but I would go for an earlier draft, absolutely.”
The thing we should all value about Belichick’s word is that it is always spoken from the perspective of the strategic element first and foremost.
This idea makes almost too much sense. Consider the NBA and NHL, who run their respective drafts a week before free agency. Granted, their prospects aren’t typically as pro ready as NFL prospects, and they’re not all college students in the NBA/NHL the way they are in the NFL draft, so having the draft in March when college is still well in session may not be feasible for the league.
Still, imagine if a team could draft their franchise quarterback, then try lure free agents a week later. How much easier would it be for an NFL GM to have a 90-man roster together by April, instead of mid-May? How much more exciting would the month of April be if everything happened in a two week span? Your team would just go from what it was at the end of the season to whatever it would be next year in about a month.
We will likely never know the answer to that speculation because the NFL clearly enjoys the draft being later and why wouldn’t they? More people than ever watched the 2014 draft.
When making competitive sense butts head with making money sense, you can guess how this will end. Expect the NFL to move the draft to late April in 2015, then later beyond.