Speed it up
The worst part about the draft, especially the early rounds, is just how long it actually takes for teams to make their selections. The solution to this problem is very simple. Just shorten the time teams have to make their selections. Give teams a five minute limit for every round, not just rounds three through seven. This would also limit trades, but general managers should have the early rounds well-planned anyways.
Introduce a lottery for the top pick
Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I hate the lottery idea. I think the worst team should be able to get the top pick in the draft, but this is all about excitement, and the lottery gives teams in the top five or ten of the draft order something to root for. By making the lottery right before the draft, no team could focus on picking the top player. The mystery of who will get the top pick adds suspense, and TV audiences love that.
Allow players to declare for the draft earlier
More players declaring would increase the talent pool for teams. More talent in the draft means there would also be more homerun picks and potentially more busts. After the first round, the casual fan won’t recognize many names popping up, and this would help solve that problem.
More Mike Mayock, less Mel Kiper Jr.
NFL analysis is often hit or miss. Mike Mayock seems to be one of the few analysts that usually has evidence, I mean real evidence, to back up his opinions. Mel Kiper Jr., on the other hand, has a habit of forming opinions early and keeping them till the bitter end. Remember Brady Quinn? Kiper was freaking out about the great value the Browns got when they pulled the trigger on Quinn.
This isn’t to say that Kiper is always wrong and Mayock is always right, but the two have very different styles. Some may like the emotional appeal of guys like Kiper and Herm Edwards, but when we’re already making guesses about a player’s future, I prefer the most analytical approach possible, and Mayock, as well as the rest of the NFL Network crew, delivers.
Madden style boos and cheers
For those of you familiar with the Madden series of games, you know that you may hear boos or cheers depending on the pick. That does exist in the first round, but in later rounds, there’s usually nothing. The NFL should pump in fake crowd noise to intensify the experience for everyone at the draft and fans at home. And yes, this last suggestion was completely sarcastic. The draft is a process of selecting players. It wasn’t originally meant to be a fan event, and there’s no reason to change its identity to make it one.