Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 NFL Draft will go on as scheduled.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a memo to teams on Thursday night that the draft will still occur April 23-25.
Commissioner Goodell sent out a memo to NFL teams tonight that the draft will go on April 23-25. pic.twitter.com/tYlHo3fKqC
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2020
As ESPN’s Dianna Russini notes, there have been concerns from NFL organizations about how to fairly prepare and evaluate for the draft during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite so many concerns I’ve heard this past week from owners, GMs, and coaches about their inability to thoroughly prepare for this draft…the show must go on… https://t.co/sA24Qctzg1
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 26, 2020
But Goodell said in his league memo that the NFL Management Council Executive Committee “was unanimous and unequivocal that the Draft should go forward as scheduled on April 23-25, 2020.”
Goodell also explained that the draft will be “conducted and held in a way that reflects current conditions.”
“Because of the unique circumstances in our country today, the 2020 Draft will obviously need to be conducted in a different way. Already, we have cancelled all public events, we will not be bringing prospects and their families to the Draft, and the draft itself will be conducted and televised in a way that reflects current conditions.
NFL team facilities are closed until at least April 8 due to COVID-19, and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that NFL executives he’s talked to are “exploring options, including the possibility of conducting the draft from their living rooms.”
Club facilities are closed until at least April 8, when the NFL will reassess. The draft starts 15 days later. GMs and other executives I've spoken to already are exploring options, including the possibility of conducting the draft from their living rooms. A lot up in the air.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 26, 2020
The draft was originally scheduled to take place in front of thousands of fans on the Las Vegas Strip, but that was canceled due to COVID-19.
It remains to be seen what the television broadcast of the draft will be like (likely a very scaled-down production), but at least sports fans have something — in addition to NFL free agency — to watch and follow during these sportsless times.