Pro football fans should enjoy the faster-paced NFL Draft this weekend from Radio City Music Hall in New York. Last year's first round crawled to a finish in a sleep-inducing 6 hours, 8 minutes.
This year the time between picks has been trimmed from 15 to 10 minutes for the first round and 10 to seven minutes for round two. Rounds 3 to 7 remain at five minutes. Even with the slow pace, the draft still brought in good ratings last year, including a 4.4 in Oklahoma City. Pushing back the start from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CDT) also should increase viewership, particularly on the West Coast. ESPN producers have worked to trim the fat. Some of the on-air talent has been dropped, including a separate set from Bristol, Conn., on Saturday. "We need to be fleet-footed,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Jay Rothman said. "It's going to take a lot of discipline of people on the set. Everyone can pile on every subject matter that's when it becomes the tale wagging the dog.