The NFL Draft used to be made up of double-digit rounds before being shortened to the current seven-round format. But aside from being shortened the draft has evolved into its own beast. There was a point where not a single soul put any interest into this event but now it has 365-day coverage culminating in a phenomenal three-day television special in late April.
The draft has evolved and added twists and wrinkles. There was once a time, in the 1930s, where only the five worst teams were allowed to make selections in the second and fourth rounds.
And now I think it’s time for a new twist:
Small School Sunday.
This would add three rounds and a fourth day to the NFL Draft. Rounds 8, 9 and 10 would take place on Sunday and all selections would be from prospects from the FCS, Division 2, Division 3, or NAIA levels along with International and Canadian prospects. This wrinkle would not forbid the Patriots from taking Kyle Dugger at 37 overall or prevent the Panthers from taking Jeremy Chinn with the 64th selection or any other small schoolers from being selected during the seven-round process, but would rather allow for players that dominated lower levels of competition to get a more extensive look with the addition of Small School Sunday.
The NFL had announced plans to host a combine at the Miami Dolphins Practice Facility for HBCU draft-eligible athletes but that event did not transpire as initially planned due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
This Small School Sunday promotes the underdog and everyone loves to root for an underdog. Imagine if Kurt Warner or Tony Romo were selected on Small School Sunday? There are countless other small schoolers that have found NFL success despite facing the undrafted odds.
Who could have been the next Tony Romo selected in the draft this year on Small School Sunday? Could it have been Roland Rivers III of Slippery Rock? Maybe it could have been Nick Tiano of UT-Chattanooga? There are tons of other QBs that could have gone in those spots as well.
But the Non-FBS levels offer talent all over the field. That’s why the importance of the regional combines and the HBCU combine are so important to the future of the draft.
These additional three rounds would allow scouting departments to flourish. The hunt for under the radar talent and being the team known for finding the small school talent would be a fun thing to see unfold. I think a team like the Baltimore Ravens could dominate this part of the draft. They immediately come to mind as they’ve had an undrafted player make their roster every year for more than a decade and it seems like they draft well every year. Maybe an unexpected team like the Houston Texans finds their niche in these rounds?
This adds to the intrigue of the world’s best real-life soap opera known as the NFL. However the NFL can add intrigue to the brand they examine and consider it. I feel given the YouTube era where players like Tarik Cohen show off crazy skills to get noticed at these lower levels the potential Small School Sunday creates additional opportunities at a roster spot in the NFL.
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