The NFL announced today that the draft just can no longer be contained in two days.
Next year, the draft will begin with Round 1 on Thursday night, April 22 at 7:30. The second and third rounds are Friday, April 23 at 6:30 and then Rounds 4-7 are Saturday at 10 a.m.
The draft will remain in Radio City Music Hall and be televised by both ESPN and the NFL Network.
"We continue to look for ways to make the draft more accessible to more fans," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Moving the first round to prime time on Thursday night will make the first round of the draft available to fans on what is typically the most-watched night of television."
The NFL draft has become big business for television and the raft of Web sites that do mock drafts and this move proves it. It also will allow for more exposure for the draft picks at the top with fewer players being selected each day.
Interestingly, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Daily News in June that the league prefers a 12-week period between the Super Bowl and the draft. With the Super Bowl later than normal this season, that would have landed the draft on the same weekend as the Kentucky Derby. Instead, the league cut back to 11 weeks and expanded the format.
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