The NFL did everything it could to add to the drama of their last prime-time television show for a few months, including convincing broadcast partners to not tip picks in advance.
But they also leaned on the membership, to make sure there was plenty of time to whip everyone to a fever pitch.
Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America recounts a story from the Raiders’ draft room, when they realized they were going to be able to draft running back Josh Jacobs. He describes coach Jon Gruden like a Golden Retriever, until General Manager Mike Mayock told him to heel.
“Can I call him?” said Gruden. “Can I call?”
Mayock told Gruden to “Hang on,” because as King writes: “the NFL had asked teams to please not choose till at least five minutes of their 10-minute first-round time limit had passed, so the league could do the TV-presentation stuff and not get the picks all backed up.”
The Raiders knew exactly what they wanted to do, after the Eagles and Texans in front of them drafted tackles. But rather than keep things moving, the league put the brakes on teams, for the sake of ratings — even though ratings were down two percent.