NFL Team Officials to Conduct Draft Virtually


NFL teams will conduct the draft virtually with personnel in separate locations, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in a memo Monday.

"We want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices," Goodell said. "Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices. And after consulting with medical advisors, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical or health perspective."

The decision comes after multiple teams were already preparing for their personnel to work from home during the draft, which is scheduled for April 23-25, due to the coronavirus pandemic. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Saturday that teams were awaiting a final decision from the NFL on the matter. 

The NFL draft was planned to be held in Las Vegas prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the league to close it to the public. Goodell informed teams that they should be prepared to conduct the draft with a limited number of people outside team facilities.

On March 26, Goodell sent out a memo saying the draft would still be held, and he threatened disciplinary action if teams were to speak publicly of "issues relating to the draft."

Schefter reported the NFL's general manager subcommittee recommended to Goodell for the draft to be delayed. Teams are reportedly concerned there is limited time to conduct physicals and gather information on prospects as team facilities continue to be shut down. 

Prospects and their families will not be present at the draft, but a few have been invited to participate "live" by NFL vice president Troy Vincent. The WNBA also plans to hold its virtual draft on April 17 and will include streams of players from remote locations during the event.

The NFL draft is set to start at 8 p.m. on April 23 on NFL Network, ESPN and ABC.