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Low draft interest will increase now, or never

Top 2010 NFL Draft prospects appear atop the Marquee of Radio City Music Hall for photo call in New York

17 of the top 2010 NFL Draft prospects appear for a photo call atop the Marquee of Radio City Music Hall in New York, April 21, 2010. The 2010 NFL Draft will be held April 22 at Radio City Music Hall. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


During the lockout, our traffic has been solid but unspectacular, a phenomenon we fully expected with free agency replaced by expensive lawyering. But we thought the visits and page views would spike during the draft.

Though traffic is still solid, that bump hasn’t been seen. And it meshes with the sense we’ve obtained from others in the business that people simply aren’t as interested in a draft that occurs under a cloud of uncertainty as to whether there will even be a season.

Peter King provides another example of this phenomenon in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback column. Last week, while co-hosting The Opening Drive on Sirius NFL Radio with Bob Papa, they had only two callers on hold two hours into the show.

That’s how it’s been like almost every morning,’' Papa told King off the air. “Last year before the draft, the lines were jammed every day. Now, not so much.’'

If it’s going to pick up, it’ll happen now, or never. The draft begins in only three days. Though Radio City Music Hall undoubtedly will be full or close to it on Thursday night (which may or may not be a good thing, given the extent to which those who show up choose to make sounds other than clapping and cheering), the staff and the media possibly will outnumber the audience come Friday and/or Saturday.

It’s a shame, and we wonder whether the NFL assumed that interest in the draft would remain very high despite the lockout, or whether the NFL launched the lockout knowing that the draft wouldn’t be as big of a deal as it’s been in the recent past.

If it’s the former, perhaps the 2011 draft will be the catalyst for ending the lockout. Unless, of course, Judge Susan Nelson orders as soon as today that the lockout must end.