If the issue were put to a vote, put Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis down as someone that prefers the NFL draft in April rather than May. Unlike most of us -- who want to bury mock drafts in the ground, then shoot the shovel and bury the shovel and gun and then set the entire forest on fire -- Lewis believes that holding the NFL draft in early May cuts into the time he could use for other things.
"I’d prefer to have the draft done where it was, in April, because now it’s a little bit in the way of football. This is time where we would be spending more time with the players, and now we are going back and forth between both because of that. You want to be finishing up the draft preparation prior to the draft, you don’t want to have it finished up two weeks earlier because of guys who have been injured are still doing workouts, evaluations and us bringing guys in."
Players began working out on April 21, the start of Cincinnati's offseason training program. Coaches not named Chip Morton and Jeff Friday were restricted from talking with players that week, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Lewis continued to argue his points on Tuesday.
"I think the calendar, as it is this year, presents problems for the football side of things," said Lewis. "This is the time we should be spending with the players. Secondly, it takes away an opportunity for the rookies."
Last year, Cincinnati opened rookie minicamp on May 10; the same day this year will be the final round of the 2014 NFL draft. Not only does rookie minicamp feature practices and workouts for drafted players, it includes signed college free agents and invites that weren't signed with anyone to showcase their abilities to sign on with someone.
"As far as teaching goes, it’s a great progression to have an opportunity for them to come and spend time at a rookie camp, have an opportunity to go home for a bit and absorb what they got exposed to, and then come back with the other players and to have the second time around. To me, that’s a much better teaching progression, so then they get it again a third time when we go to training camp so they can get things locked down.
"We are kind of skipping a step of that now (the rookie camp) because there is no reason to bring those guys in next week, and then overwork them the next weekend because they are going to be the first guys that have all the soft tissue injuries. So we are going to skip that step in the process here."
Lewis (and "scribes") not only could have their wish of a new date next year, they may cringe at the possibility that the league is considering adding another week, taking place in the second or third weekend in May.
Three NFL people that I really trust say the league is giving serious consideration to scheduling the draft a week or two later in 2015.— Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn) May 7, 2014
It's all wrong.
Not only should the NFL draft happen sooner on the calender, it should take up an entire weekend (not two nights and a third day that no one really cares about), it should happen before free agency.
The NFL is sports' version of Congress. Making more and more changes that weren't needed just to prove 1) they have the power to do it and 2) to justify their existence.