<span> <span style="text-decoration: underline;">A STREAMLINED DRAFT ARRIVES LOADED WITH ANTICIPATION</span> </span> <br> <span> </span> <br> <span>
The format has changed. The impact has not.
This April 26-27, football fans at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and millions watching across America will see a whole new makeup to the annual NFL Draft. They will watch a "stream-lined" draft with less time between picks in Rounds 1-2 and a reformatted draft with only those rounds taking place on Saturday, the first day of the draft.
This year the Saints are positioned with six draft choices, missing only their fourth round draft pick which they traded to the New York Jets in exchange for MLB Jonathan Vilma, the 12th overall draft pick in the 2004 draft.
What will not change is the vital importance of the seven-round process for all 32 NFL clubs in building a productive---and hopefully championship—roster.
The new look draft --- shown from pick No. 1 to 253 on NFL Network, ESPN and ESPN2--- will start at 2:00 PM CT on Saturday, April 26, rather that at noon as in past years. In addition to only the first two rounds being conducted on that day (rather than three), the length between selections will be shortened. Teams will now have 10 minutes to make their pick in the first round, rather than 15, and seven minutes to do so in Round 2 rather than 10.
On Sunday, Rounds 3-7 will he held, with the day starting at 9:00 AM CT rather than 10:00 AM CT. Each selection is allocated for five minutes.
Just as in past years, there are the big names atop everybody's "mock drafts," such as DSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, Michigan tackle Jake Long, Virginia defensive end Chris Long, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston and Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan.
But it the players that are selected in the later rounds that make up the majority of NFL teams' rosters and that go on to become household names that add to the importance of the draft. Players that are selected in later rounds, such as Saints wide receiver Marques Colston (seventh round, 2006) and G Jahri Evans (fourth round, 2006), among others, that are such key fixtures of the Saints' current roster.
It's all part of the constant evolution and annual rebirth of the NFL. "The influx of new players and new talent never stops," said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. "That's the way of the game."
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 2008 DRAFT SELECTIONS