In 2020, every coach and general manager will be doing the same with their own team.
The COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted our world has caused a lot of things to be adjusted, suspended, or cancelled altogether. The NFL moved forward with free agency and is doing so with the draft, and while some questions lingered as to how they would specifically handle it, we now have our answers.
A report popped up on Monday that noted NFL teams - coaches, general manages, and the like - will be conducting the NFL Draft from their homes. Yes, they’re homes. All of them. Their own homes. For real.
“Because of these circumstances, Clubs have been advised to prepare to conduct the 2020 Draft entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format, with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate with one another and Draft headquarters by phone or internet. We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the Competition Committee and CEC, and this will confirm that Clubs will conduct their Draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes.”
“We have made this decision for several reasons. All Clubs will not have access to their facilities, which is contrary to the fundamental equity principle that all clubs operate in a consistent and fair way. Moreover, we want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices. Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices. And after consulting with medical advisors, we cannot identity an alternative that is preferable from a medical or public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need properly to screen participants, and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face.”
Team facilities are to remain closed indefinitely as the world practices social distancing which means that we are going completely virtual for the draft. For what it’s worth, it’s not as if groups can gather at one person’s home, everyone is going to have to be at their own home and talking on the phone and/or internet.
This is obviously an incredibly unique situation so it will be interesting to see how the NFL handles it. Things are already operating in a virtual sense as teams are interviewing prospects over platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype. The Cowboys posted a video on their social media channels of their interview with Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts so you can see a bit of how it is happening.
On paper this sounds like when you do your fantasy football draft. Welcome to the digital age. It is going to be interesting to say the least.