Thursday 3 May 2012

Changes to the CFL Draft

It's Draft Day, Draft Day, getting down on Draft Day. Everybody looking for to the first pick.

Sorry about that.

Anyway, today is the 2012 CFL Draft. The draft has grown in stature over the last couple of years, and the league has made great strides to make the draft a must-see event for fans. But there are a few things that the league should consider doing to make the draft an even bigger event.

The first thing is to move the date back to the weekend. The last couple of years saw a Sunday afternoon start time, yet the league moved the draft to 3:00PM on Thursday. Most fans will still be at work at that time, making them unable to watch the draft. By putting the festivities on television, the league and its television partner TSN, want to maximize viewership. Drafts are no longer niche products; they are mainstream events that interest even some casual fans. By holding the draft on a Saturday or Sunday, more people can enjoy it.

My next idea is to take the draft out of the TSN studio. The NFL holds their draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York; the NHL and NBA host theirs in arenas, rotating them between teams; the CFL could do something similar. Take the draft on the road and alternate between the eight, soon to be nine, CFL cities. There are numerous places in each city that could host the event, and it would be a great way to engage fans while add another revenue stream.

One of the aspects of the CFL Draft that has always bugged me is the eligibility rules. The CFL allows for players that still have university eligibility to be drafted, and that needs to change. The CFL should adopt similar rules to the NFL where a player can only be drafted if he no longer has any college eligibility left or if he voluntarily leaves early to enter the draft. In light of recent examples that have seen teams waste high draft picks, the CFL would be wise to alter their eligibility requirements sooner rather than later.

Those are three changes that I would like to the see the CFL make to the draft. I am sure there are plenty others and I'm curious if anyone has any ideas of their own.

1 comment:

  1. 100% agree that they need to change the rules so that once you declare, you must turn pro.

    The issue that I still have with the draft is that you are essentially drafting for 2-3 years down the road. Let's just say that the rule above is now in play and the Cats take Moe Petrus this year vs last year. He's still a year or two away from playing up here as he will have interest from the NFL, even if it's for a camp body or practice roster.

    They key to drafting in the CFL is to draft guys who you know will play once their eligibility in CIS or NCAA runs out. This really means looking at those secondary guys who are more likely 3rd - 7th round picks.

    I like seeing the players in the NFL that your teams drafts, play and compete right away. In the CFL it's a waiting. Giguere is 4 years in the making. He exhausted his NFL options before coming up here. Any Canadian who has the ability and skill to play or try out in the NFL should take that chance. We do like to see "our boys" stay home and play 12 years in the CFL but how can you fault someone for trying to make it so they do not have to work after their football career?

    I like the CFL draft but to get a sense of how well you draft, you truly have to wait 5 years before you can evaluate.