4:28pm: The 2015 draft will be held in Chicago, a source tells Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
8:33am: The NFL has set dates for the 2015 draft, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who reports that next year’s event will get underway on Thursday, April 30, and will run through Saturday, May 2. There had been speculation this past summer that perhaps the league would extend 2015’s draft to make it a four-day affair, but Schefter’s report suggests that it will be the usual three.
After scheduling the 2014 draft for two weeks later than usual, 2015’s event will strike a balance between the usual schedule and 2014’s change — the draft will be held one week later than normal, but one week earlier than 2014’s. Additionally, it appears the NFL is still strongly considering locations besides New York. According to Schefter, the location for 2015 hasn’t been finalized, but there’s a “strong sense” that Los Angeles and Chicago will each receive an opportunity to host the draft in the near future.
Last year’s two-week delay for the draft was met with decidedly mixed reviews, with writers, fans, and team officials all complaining that the schedule resulted in an unnecessarily long gap between the start of free agency and draft day. While clubs had an extra couple weeks to host and work out players, the delay also resulted in draftees getting a later start on working with their new teams in the spring.
From the NFL’s perspective, it makes sense to schedule the event a little later in the spring, since it provides an extra couple weeks of hype, rumors, and speculation, further establishing the league as one worth following for all 12 months of the calendar year. However, with 2015’s event moving up a week, it appears the gripes about last year’s schedule didn’t fall entirely on deaf ears.