The NFL draft is moving two weeks later than usual, at least for 2014.
The league announced today (Tuesday) that the 2014 NFL Draft will be held May 8 to 10 at Radio City Music Hall. The league also was considering moving the draft to May 15 to 17 because of scheduling issues at Radio City Music Hall, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed last week at the NFL Spring Meeting.
“The decision was made after discussions with club personnel and key NFL business partners. No decision has been made regarding the dates of the NFL Draft in 2015 and beyond. A variety of alternatives are being explored, teams were told, including holding the draft at Radio City or at other locations, either in the New York area or in other cities,” the league said in a statement Tuesday.
There have been discussions about dramatically changing the offseason calendar including the dates of the NFL Scouting Combine and the start of free agency, but those possible changes won’t happen until 2015 at the earliest. The NFL announced the 2014 dates of those events, which are at the same time as previous years.
The National Combine in Indianapolis will be held from February 18 to 25. The new league year and free agency will begin March 11, 2014. The NFL Annual Meeting will be held in Orlando, Fla., on March 23 to 26.
The NFL’s original preference was for the combine to happen in March, with the league year beginning in April and the NFL draft in May. However, no (required) agreement was reached with the NFL Players Association on changing the start of the league year.
The NFL’s release pointed out that the change in the date of the draft won’t have any effect on when rookies will be able to report to their clubs or the length of the offseason program in 2014. They also don’t plan to reduce the number of practice days for 2015.
This looks like a “trial” year for the draft in May. If it goes well, we can expect the already-long “draft season” to add a few more mock drafts.
The green room at Radio City Music Hall in New York will be rather crowded this year. A total of 23 players have accepted an invitation to attend the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 25.
In a year where the quarterback class lacks consensus top-shelf talent, two quarterbacks will be in New York: West Virginia’s Geno Smith and Florida State’s EJ Manuel.
That’s the same number as offensive guards making the trip: Alabama’s Chance Warmack and University of North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper. Six defensive linemen and five offensive tackles will be in the house. Yes, this is the draft of the big uglies.
Smith figures to get the most attention of any player in the green room. Even though he might not get taken as early as people think, Smith still looks like a safe first-round pick. That’s true of most of the 23 players.
Odds are that at least one player invited will slip into round two, but every player in attendance has a shot of being selected Thursday night.
LSU safety Eric Reid is not a favorite of some analysts. Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson and Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant are two other players who could have a relatively long wait in the green room on draft day.
Some of the biggest names not going to New York include USC quarterback Matt Barkley, Notre Dame linebacker Manti T’eo and Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.
Lotulelei released a statement Wednesday saying that he has decided to watch the draft from Utah with his friends and family.