Thursday night’s all right (for drafting)

Tonight is the only night of the week that our household routinely records multiple TV programs.


Thursdays are a good night for television, and that’s exactly what the NFL has in mind with its decision to change the format of the draft.


The 2010 draft will begin on Thursday, April 22, at 4:30 p.m. (PT) at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The first round will be held for roughly 3 ½ hours. On Friday, the second and third rounds will begin at 3:30 p.m. (actually, the second round will begin at 3:30, with the third round to follow). And Rounds 4-7 will held Saturday, April 24, kicking off at 7 a.m.


The event will continue to be televised by ESPN and the NFL Network. A record 39 million viewers watched coverage of the draft in 2009. And this year, the NFL expects even more to tune in.


“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.”


Personally, I like it.


As a newspaper reporter, I did not like the set up for the draft in the past. When the first three rounds were held on Saturday, I would write most of my article about the team’s first-round draft pick. The picks in the second and third rounds would get a mention and not much else for the Sunday paper.


Then, a lot of times the fourth-round pick – the top pick on Sunday – would get more media attention in the Monday paper than the second- and third-round picks from the previous day. That did not seem to make a whole lot of sense, but that’s just the way it generally worked out.


From my reporter’s perspective, I was happy that the 49ers traded away their second-round pick this year. That meant that I could focus my entire newspaper article on the story of the draft: the 49ers’ selection of a genuine college superstar, Michael Crabtree, with the No. 10 overall pick.


Now, the happenings of the first round will have no competition for media attention on the first day of the draft. The second- and third-round picks will have a day for themselves, too.


I don’t believe a three-day draft will have a big impact on how teams conduct their business. I doubt you will see a noticeable increase in trade activity, for example.


The best part of all this is now I’ll have two fewer days to agonize over my annual mock draft, and “The Office” and “30 Rock” will probably be repeats, anyway.


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