Why is this taking so long? An analysis of rookie draft times

Every year we draft, every year we complain about the slow pace, and every year we find someone to blame. But is anyone really at fault for the length of the draft? I’m convinced that I’m one of the fastest drafters in the league, but I don’t have proof of that. But John does, and now I have it. I asked John to send me the logs from the last few draft chatrooms, and he sent me information from the last four years. I imported those logs into excel, cleaned up the data, and then determined the time it took for each draft pick to be made.

Now, I know that this analysis isn’t perfect. Sometimes managers have someone else pick for them because they aren’t available to draft (or can only be there part of the time). Sometimes it’s your turn to pick and someone suddenly wants to make a trade. Sometimes we’re too busy eating blueberry pancakes to care about the draft. Actually, blueberry pancakes are listed in the draft logs so I edited that time out. But even though there are some holes in this analysis, I think the results are interesting and they pass my smell test. So let’s see what I found out.

Vegas vs non-Vegas drafts

Does it take longer to draft when everyone’s in Vegas, or does the draft go faster when we are all gathered in Mike’s luxurious room? It’s hard to draw too many conclusions from four data points, but I’ll go ahead and do it anyway. The two non-Vegas drafts had average pick times of 105 and 101 seconds, while the two Vegas drafts had average pick times of 100 and 88 seconds. That’s about a 30 minute difference between Vegas and non-Vegas drafts. So it seems clear to me that everyone needs to come to Vegas in 2019 for the 20 year league celebration. It also appears that we are drafting faster each year (correcting for the Vegas effect). That either means we are more prepared, we don’t care as much about who we pick, or we really want to get back the NCAA tournament.


YearAverage Pick Time (seconds)
2014 (non-Vegas)105.2
2015 (Vegas)99.9
2016 (non-Vegas)101.0
2017 (Vegas)87.7

Round-by-Round Comparison

The first round should be quick and easy. After all, Mitch has already told us who to take. But does that round really go the quickest? Which rounds take the most time, and why might they last so long? Or is it just completely random? It turns out there are some clear trends when we compare the amount of time it takes to draft in each round.


Round2014 (seconds per pick)2015 (seconds per pick)2016 (seconds per pick)2017 (seconds per pick)Average (seconds per pick)


Sure enough, the 1st round is the fastest round, with managers taking just over a minute per pick. Things start to slow down in the 2nd round, and the 3rd round is the slowest, posting the three longest draft times in the table and averaging over 2 minutes per pick. Round 4 isn’t much better, but then things go faster and settle at an average of ~85 seconds per pick. Rounds 3 and 4 are also about the time that blueberry pancakes happen and that may be influencing the Vegas drafts. The fastest round on record was the 9th round of 2015, which took 56 seconds per pick. The 3rd round of 2016, in contrast, took nearly 3 minutes per pick.

Team-by-Team Comparison

I really wanted to know if any managers consistently took their time making picks and if any managers were consistently fast, hoping that I was in the latter category. Now I finally have objective data that show I am one of the quickest drafters in the league:

Team2014 (seconds per pick)2015 (seconds per pick)2016 (seconds per pick)2017 (seconds per pick)Average (seconds per pick)


Congratulations to Jeff, who drafts faster than anyone in the league at just under 1 minute per pick. His 2017 average was hurt by trade negotiations with me, otherwise he would have lapped the field. Mitch is a close second and is probably the most consistent drafter in the league, averaging 53-69 seconds per pick. And then I sneak in at #3 and a 67.3 second per pick average. An honorable mention goes to the recently departed Derek who set a record in 2016 by spending only 39 seconds per pick (or did Jeff draft for him that year?).

There are three managers who average over 2 minutes per pick. Coming in at #12 is Chance with 124.3 seconds per pick. His times are hurt by consistently picking players who were already taken and then having to make a new selection. Geza is #13 in our list, at 126 seconds per pick. He really slows down on Vegas years, so it’s especially important that he join us in 2019.

And at #14 is Bob, averaging 148.3 seconds per pick and setting a record of 205 seconds per pick in 2014. Bob only had 9 picks that year, but three of them took longer than 6 minutes each (in rounds 3 and 4, naturally). His 2017 pick times are promising, however, as he needed only 63 seconds per pick this year to tie for 4th fastest drafter.

The shortest time to pick was zero seconds, which happened multiple times when two picks were posted at once. That’s an advantage of gathering in Vegas or Chicago and drafting as a group. The longest pick time was the 8 minutes and 10 seconds it took Geza to select Sam Dyson in the 9th round in 2016. The only other pick that took longer than 8 minutes was Matt Szczur, who Wayne needed 8 minutes and 3 seconds to select in round 8 of the 2016 draft. The odd thing about that pick was that Wayne had the pick immediately before as well, and only needed 20 seconds to use that one to draft Jeff Mathis.

Need evidence for the peer pressure of Vegas improving pick times? I’ll offer two examples. John averages 131 seconds per pick when he’s in Chicago and 64 seconds per pick in Vegas (you were in Vegas, in 2015, correct?). And then there’s Miles. He cut his average pick time in half this year, which coincidentally is the first time he joined us in Vegas.

I have all of the data in an excel spreadsheet. Let me know if you want to do your own analysis, and possibly refute my conclusions, and I’ll send it your way.



  1. cbehlmer@wi.rr.com on May 10, 2017 at 1:08 am

    I thought I was a quick picker but it turns out I’m average. I’ll have to prep more.

  2. Geza on May 10, 2017 at 1:25 am

    didn’t realize I was slow, but not the slowest thank god. Will work on it in the future.

  3. John on May 10, 2017 at 1:40 am

    I don’t think that peer pressure is the explanation for my Vegas/Non-Vegas draft times. Other than 2013 when circumstances kept me from Vegas I’ve drafted in groups of three or more every year other than 2003. Chicago groups have been at five the last few years with Tim and Chris coming in.

    So the reason? I’ll have to think. I may look at the data to see if there were extenuating circumstances (Tim, I won’t need you to send the data).

  4. Chance on May 10, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    The last two seasons I prepared and made a ton of lists for the draft. But depending upon whom I recieve in the first round and who is left makes me want to make last second comparisons to make the best decision possible. As a suggestion to avoid trying to pick players that have already been drafted I think we should have a RESTORE come out after each round that is official. If I go 20-25 picks between my picks I can walk away and when I come back sometimes players are missed in the log as it is partially picks and partially conversations.

    Tim, this is a really good article. Great job and an assist to John for the logs. This is waaaaayyyyy better than reading about Matt Harvey. lol

    • Tim Born on May 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Putting out a restore file after each round probably isn’t going to happen. I’m trying to manage my own draft while keeping things updated, which means I sometimes fall 6-10 picks behind in keeping up the league file and I always make a mistake or two. I don’t want to put out an incorrect restore file, so I wait until after I’ve had a chance to check everything over.

      • John on May 11, 2017 at 2:50 am

        Agreed. The answer is to not walk away between picks. It’s just once a year; you can sit there for a few hours.

    • dave on June 19, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      I don’t know about others, but I update my own league file after each pick… makes it way easier I find

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