There's just nothing like waking up on draft day.
In the past the draft lasted two days, and it was akin to an 800 meter race - an absolute sprint but realistically too long to sprint without nearly collapsing before the end (at least for me). There was no time allotted for each pick, so when the team in front of you finished announcing their selection, it was immediately time for you to announce yours. Even a 15 second pause was an indication that a team had just been plucked - losing their intended selection just before they picked. This pace lasted for two straight days, and it was frenetic.
Over the years the format of the draft has continued to change. The first change was allowing a full minute in between picks in the first round or two. It doesn't sound like much, but to those of us who were accustomed to the sprint, it was excruciatingly slow. In the last year or two we went to five minutes for each first round pick, and then a minute or two for the next couple of rounds before the rapid fire. Five minutes is an eternity in a draft room.
The biggest changes, though, have been to the schedule. Last year we did just the first two rounds on the first day, as compared to roughly 20 rounds in the past. This year? Just Round Round One (including the compensation round). That means that all of the teams will be working through the night to reload for the faster pace tomorrow.
This new schedule has some strategic implications, as it gives teams, especially those with multiple picks, the time to assess where they are and where they want to go. In the past, teams attempted to run through all of those possible scenarios in the week leading up to the draft to the point of exhaustion. When you have close to 900 players on your draft board, the possibilities are simply too numerous to model, but you can do your best to narrow it down. Tonight all of us will have a better opportunity to streamline our strategy once the top 50 players are off the board.
For my part, I'll do my best to blog live from our room as we're making selections. As we get deeper into tomorrow, I'll have to start grouping the selections and providing some information during our breaks, which come approximately every ten rounds. Keep the questions coming, and I'll get to them over the next few days.