It was a matter of time before the pandemic affected the 2021 NFL Draft or anything leading up to it. A memo sent across the league on Monday laid out plans for how the draft combine will be approached.
The combine is a vital piece in scouting players and getting last looks before the actual draft itself. This coming combine will host no in-person workouts, which is a big chance and hurts a lot of players who needed to get in front of scouts. Instead, now the league will be more dialed in on player pro days and of course the Senior Bowl. This is now reality and teams will be expected to make the best of it, teams who execute it the best could end up with the hidden gems in the draft.
NFL said to be working closely with colleges to make sure their is consistency among the tests and what the players will be doing at these pro days. The NFL will gain access to video from each pro day and will send it out to all of the teams. This is a whole different world when it comes to the combine. A lot of players have boosted their stock tremendously in the past due to the combine.
In terms of medical evaluations, the NFL is going to work closely with labs close to prospects residence and get a lot of testing needed done that way. There will be plenty of virtual meetings from your normal meetings to medical meetings done over video recording. In some instances, the NFL is going to allow players to be evaluated in person by the team physicians and such.
There is possibly going to be more broadcasts of pro days and such since it will be the only combine style evaluation prior to the draft. This is just another curve ball that the pandemic has thrown at the league. The NFL has a plan in place already and protocols to follow for many things involving the COVID-19 outbreak. This is just another one filed away into that folder. Teams have had to adjust to many things and this just will be another adjustment to front office members and coaching staffs.