The 2020 NFL Draft is still happening from April 23-25, but the massive, traveling event the draft has become will not. There were grand plans for the 2020 Draft in Las Vegas, with boats shuttling players across the Bellagio fountains to the red carpet and the entire Strip being shut down for fans to gather and watch as the next class of NFL player is selected into the league.
Instead, this year’s draft will look more like what everyone’s typical workday looks like now, with front offices and team personnel conducting business remotely from home offices, linked together by video calls and trying their best to stay on the same page. The league made the virtual draft plans official on Monday, announcing the draft would go forward as planned and teams would need to spend the next two and a half weeks preparing accordingly.
Now official: NFL now has informed teams it will do a virtual draft this year. GMs and HCs now will be drafting from their homes. pic.twitter.com/t2mbdjWvVZ
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 6, 2020
The league’s IT department will be working with teams to get everyone on the same page so that this can go as smoothly as possible, but anyone that’s been on a Zoom call in the past few weeks knows there is the chance for some home-based hilarity to ensue. There will be dogs barking, children barging in, and just general confusion as mute buttons aren’t pressed when they should be.
It will also be interesting to see how ESPN and the NFL Network handle the broadcast. ESPN has plenty of experience at this point of having analysts patched in via video call from home, as that’s how all SportsCenter segments have been running of late, but how they’ll get in on interviews with players and team personnel remains to be seen. The league has reportedly discussed some grace periods in the event that there’s difficulty connecting on trade discussions, so things might move a touch slower than usual, but it appears to be full steam ahead for April 23 for the first round to commence. The only difference is there will be no war rooms or green room.