NFL Draft Mandate Creates Interesting Opportunity For Teams Including Cleveland Browns

Pete Smith

The NFL Draft is still planning to go ahead on April 23rd through the 25th, despite the protests of some front offices concerned about logistics and elements of media questioning how it would look in the current environment. Because of the stay at home orders coming from governors in states, the NFL has closed down facilities and teams will not be able to utilize them for the NFL Draft. So, unless something dramatic changes between now and the draft, teams are and likely have been planning for the reality they will have to set up their draft headquarters outside their facility.

This presents a unique opportunity for teams to do some outreach in their communities and take a bad situation and make it a little better. The New Orleans Saints have already announced they plan to have their draft headquarters take place in a bar that ownership owns in additions to the team. That makes sense and it's pretty easy.

Whether it's the Cleveland Browns or any other team, this seems like a good opportunity to take a local business or few that is hurting from COVID-19 and provide them a little bit of relief. They could rent one or a couple that are currently hurting for the four days. The Browns tech guys would need to be able to get in there and properly set up everything needed to operate the draft effectively, including what is likely to be a dress rehearsal the day beforehand.

The team would be able to get a big enough space to get the most necessary personnel in one room or in a couple different rooms in the restaurant. The next group could be in a second room or potentially even a second restaurant or banquet hall to properly social distance while also making it so the two groups could communicate effectively to execute the draft. And for all the concerns about technology, it seems pretty easy for the Browns or any team'a tech department to link up a few rooms to be able to operate seamlessly with plenty of lead time to prepare.

The Browns wouldn't be able to advertise where they are during the draft, because inevitably there would be people who try to then go to the location where they are operating, even if it's just to gawk at them. But after the draft is over, teams can utilize their own media department to create content featuring what went into the process of setting up the draft at a particular location, what business it is and how they were able to pay the restaurant for three days of all day catering, which hopefully provides a meaningful benefit to the owners and employees in this time of uncertainty when plenty of people might be thrilled to get a paycheck. And whether it's carryout or when people are able to go out to eat in restaurants again, they hopefully get a bump from being able to operate.

Understandably, the NFL can't have some teams able to operate in team facilities while others cannot. It would provide an unfair advantage, but with the choice they've made, this proves to be a pretty small hurdle to overcome, basically making teams operate the draft as if it were a road game. Even if they were in their facilities, only so many people are in the war room for the draft. This proves inconvenient, but teams aren't going to be forced to have every employee operating from their own home. They'll be fine. This does enable them to do a little good and help out some local businesses and get some folks an extra paycheck and the Browns get a little bump as a result.


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