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NFL, NFL Network, ESPN to reduce draft tip-offs

Let's fast forward to next Thursday, opening night of the NFL draft. With the Indianapolis Colts on the clock, time ticking away, the speakers crackle to life: "The pick ... is in."

Before we hear a peep from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the camera cuts to Andrew Luck, huddled over a phone, smiling from ear to ear.

In this case, nobody is surprised, but as we move through the first round, these tip-offs affect the drama of the event.

Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch first reported Wednesday that the NFL, NFL Network and ESPN are discussing ways to avoid revealing top draft picks to viewers before they're announced.

The NFL subsequently confirmed it won't show draftees on the phone in the green room before the announced pick on the first night of the draft.

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"It's also in effect for NFL Network and ESPN, which may broadcast from other locations such as a player's house or an agent's office," league spokesman Brian McCarthy told NFL.com on Wednesday.

It's a start, but problems extend to the draft's later rounds as well.

"Every team, scout, GM, etc. has access to the NFL draft's pick database, which is updated once a card is turned in. Much earlier than on TV," tweeted Rotoworld's Josh Norris, who also served time as a scouting intern for the St. Louis Rams. "As soon as you read, 'The pick is in,' (teams) already know who is selected. Amazing how far behind TV gets on the 2nd and especially 3rd days."

Issues remain, but it's a start.

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