Coronavirus could limit scouts’ presence at workouts, player visits to teams

Getty Images

As the quickly-evolving coronavirus crisis continues to change daily habits, the efforts to limit the spread of the virus could soon impact the pre-draft process, in different ways.

Per multiple sources, teams are discussing steps that can or should be taken as it relates to attendance at Pro Day workouts. Some teams are considering pulling their scouts off the road, relying on the video of the school-by-school workouts instead.

With a focus on eliminating non-essential travel, the question becomes whether these trips are truly essential. Some teams will believe they are, others may believe they aren’t. Some may try to simply pick and choose, a practice that easily could expose a team’s draft strategy.

The pre-draft process also could limit or end visits by players to individual teams. One source predicts that the league office eventually will get involved.

And even if teams and/or the league don’t alter the rules for the so-called 30-visits (where up to 30 prospects can visit a given team) or the local Pro Day (where players with any geographic connection to a team show up on the same day), some prospects may simply decline to show, based on a team’s location. For example, a visit to a place like Seattle would be less attractive right now than a visit to team not presently in a hot zone.

Also, private workouts (which usually happen in the player’s college town) could be limited or abandoned.

Even though the players don’t become members of the union until they’re drafted, it makes sense for the NFLPA to get involved in the process, because someone needs to be speaking for kids who may feel compelled by the pressure of the supposed four-month job interview to do whatever teams ask them to do.

Whatever plays out, the rapidly-evolving public-health crisis could dramatically change the way that teams finalize their draft boards, giving franchise that are obsessed with getting a much information as possible far less than they usually have.