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With draft approaching, #DeflateGate ruling becomes more important

When the NFL hired Ted Wells to conduct the #DeflateGate investigation and basically told him to take his time, the NFL surely didn’t expect him to take an extended period of time. After all, how hard can it be to figure out whether the Patriots did or didn’t deliberately tamper with the air pressure inside footballs used in the AFC championship game?

Now, more than 10 weeks after Wells was retained -- and nine weeks to the day since he said it would take at least several more weeks to finish the investigation -- the draft is only three weeks and three days away. With the Patriots facing the potential loss of draft picks if they’re determined to be responsible for violating the rules regarding permissible air pressure, the Patriots need to know whether they’ll have all of their 2015 draft picks, sooner than later.

For now, any planning for the draft necessarily hinges on whether and to what extent one or more picks will be pilfered from the Patriots. Even though the Patriots remain steadfast regarding their innocence, they’re smart enough to realize that what they believe and what the league concludes may conflict, especially given the strong possibility that one or more employees of the league office will feel compelled to find wrongdoing in order to justify the entire excursion.

Right or wrong, guilty or innocent, atmospheric or deliberate, the time has come for Ted Wells to devote all efforts to getting the report finished so that the NFL can decide whether and to what extent the Patriots will be losing one or more picks in a draft that begins in only 24 days.