For all that goes on during the nine-or-so weeks between the NFL Scouting Combine and the NFL draft -- from pro days to private workouts, from official visits to medical re-checks -- at least one NFL general manager wouldn't mind eliminating all of it. In a pre-draft press conference on Monday, Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley called for the draft to be scheduled "right after the combine."
"... No doubt about it. I feel sorry for you (reporters). You have to come up with different pieces every day. It's just overkill," Whaley said, according to syracuse.com. "At least they moved it a week up compared to last year when we had another week. To tell you the truth, we would like the draft right after the combine. We'd be fine with that."
Whaley's preference, presumably, would be far too soon on the calendar for anything but fine-tuning a draft board based on combine results. The draft pool isn't set until the deadline for underclassmen declarations in mid-January. From that point until the combine in late February, prospects have a singular focus on combine preparation, and their workout routines don't leave room for jetting around the country visiting individual clubs. Agents, wanting their clients to have as much time as possible to prepare for the combine, would surely dissuade pre-combine private workouts.
Pro days? Under Whaley's idea for reform, they would probably be reduced to lightly-attended showcases only for prospects not invited to the combine. Drastic change, indeed.
Consider Whaley's comment more spitballing than real advocacy.
Still, even as a more whimsical notion, Whaley is undercutting the commonly held belief that the job of preparing for the draft for personnel executives and their scouting departments is a gargantuan task. He's essentially saying that what is now done in months could actually be done in weeks.
Whaley is probably not alone among general managers in wanting the draft to be held sooner. But that much sooner?
Don't look for the idea to be seconded.