Multiple General Managers want to press pause on the draft. The NFL finds their position unpersuasive.
“We are moving forward with the Draft as scheduled,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via text message on Thursday morning.
The 2020 draft begins four weeks from today. The General Managers subcommittee recently voted 6-1 to recommend a delay in the draft, given the inability to gather information as usual, and in light of the potential competitive disadvantage arising from the fact that some facilities are shut down by local stay-at-home orders. The NFL responded by closing all facilities through April 8, giving all teams equal footing when it comes to the unusual posture of attempting to conduct draft meetings and other preparations from home.
Will the teams be less prepared than usual? Absolutely. As long as all teams face the same challenge, however, the league won’t be concerned about that.
Every year, teams make mistakes with their draft picks. Every year, players get drafted lower than perhaps they should have been drafted due to off-field concerns. This year, the risk of both dynamics playing out will become even more pronounced. From the league’s perspective, the fact that teams will be a little more nervous and players will be a little more nervous only adds to the reality of the NFL’s ultimate reality show about nothing.
Sure, the NFL’s ultimate reality show about nothing won’t happen in Las Vegas. No, there will be no human props in attendance. But the draft becomes the closest thing the sports world will have to actual sports for the foreseeable future, and it will generate record ratings.
The added twist of some teams not wanting the draft to proceed as scheduled becomes part of the natural drama, making the process even more interesting than it otherwise would be. And it will be very interesting, in many ways.
How will they announce the picks? How will ESPN, NFL Network, and ABC cover it? How many players will join via FaceTime or some other technology? What will coaches or General Managers have to say during the many interviews that unfold throughout the third day of the draft, after they’ve been forced to make multiple picks with minimal information?
Regardless, the draft is happening. And it’s going to be a big deal. It quite possibly will be a bigger deal than it’s ever been before.