College football season remains in a state of flux, with some conferences considering standing down and others determined to go forward and meanwhile the NFL is watching and waiting and presumably hoping for some clarity.
If college football for 2020 is canceled (as of yesterday it looked like it was, today who the hell knows?), the NFL could set up, as suggested by Packers G.M. Brian Gutekunst, “some sort of a mini-Combine in December.” Whether that could even happen, given the pandemic, remains to be seen.
Other steps would have to be taken to prepare for the 2021 draft without a 2020 season. Gutekunst said that his scouts will be focusing even more heavily on film from the 2019 season.
While that’s obvious, it’s also imperfect. Much can change in one year, as Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow proved to everyone last year, with a season for the ages that vaulted him from possibly off the board to the top of it. Burrow knows what would have happened if he hadn’t had a chance to play this year. That will happen to someone else in 2020.
That said, the draft will still happen, someone will be picked first, someone will be picked second, and so on. The potential for drafting a bust in round one will be high; the potential for finding a gem in the later rounds could be, too.
The NFL’s teams will do what they can to eliminate the uncertainty that would come from not having a 2020 college football season. But the draft already is a dartboard in the dark. In 2020, the lack of pre-draft workouts made it even worse. Come 2021, if there’s no fall season and if the pre-draft activities once against are limited or potentially wiped out, it will be even harder to separate the cream from the crapshoot.