Now mired in the first NFL lockout since 1987, both players and owners find themselves in a strange and difficult situation. Obviously neither side wants to ruin the momentum of the most successful professional sports league in America. However, neither side wants to be the first to yield millions of dollars to the other group either. This being the case, the NFLPA is willing to do everything in their power to win this legal war - including 'recommending' that future rookies not to attend the draft.
Obviously this is a very controversial request, but one that could deal a huge blow to the league and NFL owners. After all, the NFL Draft has become big business for the league since millions of fans tune in to see who will be selected at the end of April. However, there wouldn't be much to tune into if the top prospects aren't there because it means no rookie interviews or other fluff that ESPN uses to fill in the five minutes that each selecting team gets in the war room.
Technically, the pro hopefuls don't have to listen to the NFLPA since they aren't officially members of the Player Association until they're drafted. So this means that there's a chance you could still see certain players attending the draft to fulfill their dream of walking up to the podium. On the other hand, there's an even better chance that you won't see any rookies like Cam Newton and Patrick Peterson there to hold up their jersey.
For one thing, as soon as the rookies are drafted, they will be locked out too, so where's the joy in attending the draft. After all, they would basically be flying to New York to celebrate a potential season without pay. And if it's experience the players are looking for, word has is that the NFLPA is going to host their own draft event to give the top picks a similar experience to what they'd get in the real NFL Draft. Sure it won't be the same thing, but neither will be attending a draft where few other top players are in attendance.
An even bigger reason why you most likely won't see the top rookies at the draft is the peer pressure factor. After all, who wants to risk alienating them self from a future team to to attend the draft? Going beyond this, the rookies need to show their support for the NFLPA since the Players Association is fighting for rookies rights (and paychecks) as well. Attending the NFL Draft after being urged not to is a slap in the face to the efforts by the NFLPA.
In any case, it would be a huge surprise if many future rookies (if any) decide to go against the Players Association's wishes and attend the draft, which isn't exactly a thrilling thought for those who actually like watching this event.