The clock will be ticking a little bit faster this year

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The NFL draft two decades ago lasted 12 rounds and was held at one sitting, beginning at 8 a.m. and lasting well after midnight.

Saturday, only two rounds of the draft will take place, with five more concluding the two-day event next Sunday.


THE DRAFT
  • What: Annual NFL player draft. Seven rounds ... two on Saturday and five on Sunday.
  • When: 3 p.m. Saturday, then resumes at 10 a.m. Sunday.
  • Where: Radio City Music Hall, New York.
  • TV: ESPN & NFL Network.
  • No. 1 pick: Miami.
  • Steelers: Select 23rd in the first round, then have one pick in every succeeding round except the seventh. They traded their seventh round pick to Atlanta last year for Allen Rossum.

The league made a few minor changes in its draft format for the first time in years. Instead of having 15 minutes to make a pick in the first round, each team now will have 10 . The time between draft choices in the second round has been reduced from 10 minutes to seven. All other rounds will have five minutes between choices, as in the past.

Instead of having three rounds on Saturday, only two will be held, and the draft starts at 3 p.m. instead of noon. The draft will start with Round 3 10 a.m. Sunday .

Will the changes affect how teams do business ?

"I don't think so," said Kevin Colbert, the Steelers' director of football operations. "To me, 15 minutes is way too much time in the first round."

Colbert does not believe the shorter length of time will limit trades, which are made throughout the draft anyway when there has only been five minutes between picks.

But Tom Donahoe, a former NFL president and general manager, believes holding the third round until Sunday could affect some movement in that round.

"There will be a lot of good football players at the end of the first day who haven't been picked," Donahoe said. "So you'll probably see a flurry of activity at the beginning of the third round on Day 2. A lot of people who think a guy should have been a mid-first rounder and he's still there will try to move up to get that guy."



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