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Do Ravens Like Draft Date Pushed Back?


The start of May has been a little different this year for Ozzie Newsome.

The Ravens general manager has spent the last few days in front of the TV in his office cramming film study with final preparations for next week's NFL Draft, rather than finally getting a break during the grind of the scouting process.

"Well, it has taken two weeks of my golf time away, so that's a negative," Newsome joked when asked about the draft being later this year.

The NFL pushed the start of the draft back two weeks, moving away from the traditional time frame of having it the last weekend in April.

The league said it initially delayed the date because of a scheduling conflict at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. However, that event (the "Hearts and Lights"*show) *ended up getting cancelled in March. At that point it was too late for the league to change the schedule date of the draft.

Moving back the draft has allowed for two more weeks of mock drafts and analysis, and it has also given the Ravens and their NFL counterparts more time to pour over tape from prospects across the country.  The extra time is much more significant this year for the Ravens, especially compared to last year when winning the Super Bowl significantly shortened the offseason process.

"Could we have picked this week? Yes," Newsome said. "We would have been ready to go if we would have had to. But, we got the additional time."

Some members of the Ravens personnel staff spend all year scouting college players and preparing for the draft, so the extra two weeks of preparation doesn't make a huge difference for them.

Newsome said the biggest difference has been for the college prospects, who spent the last two months traveling the country to work out for teams and meet with coaching staffs. Every team is able to host 30 prospects on visits, in addition to the scouting combine, college pro days and other private workouts.

The additional time has alleviated some of the pressures on them ahead of draft weekend.

"The thing that has probably helped the players on their visits is they probably didn't have to make four, five and six visits in one week," Newsome said. "They were able to spread it out a little bit more. So, it has probably been less taxing on the players and then just allows us more time to dot our I's and cross our T's."


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