2020 NFL Draft: Bucs Prepared for Every 'Virtual' Scenario

Luke Easterling

Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), league and government restrictions are forcing the 2020 NFL Draft to be a completely virtual experiences, both for teams and prospects.

This year's unique circumstances are proving to be a challenge for team decision-makers and their staffs, as they prepare to run the league's biggest offseason event from the comfort of their own homes.

That will have teams relying completely on technology to make sure they're able to get the job done on draft weekend, which could easily have some folks across the league worried about what potential problems could arise.

One person who's confident in his team's plan? Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht.

Speaking to the local media via video conference call Thursday, Licht praised the Bucs' IT department, saying that despite the challenging circumstances, he feels they're well prepared.

"We are currently going through a lot of scenarios with that," Licht said. "We're working through a of different platforms in terms of being able to have some video conferences and talk to one another. We're going to find the best one [and] the most secure one. We'll have some mock situations of our own." 

"Sometimes you can get a little over-technical in these situations," Licht continued. "You want to make sure you have a hardline phone. You want to make sure you have several phones available to you – cell phones or what have you. But sometimes it comes down to the old-fashioned picking up the phone and calling the league office and saying, 'We are going to pick this player.' We'll have all of our scenarios done when the draft starts in terms of where I would trade up, where I would trade back, what we'd be looking for, what we'd be wanting, what players we're going to take in order [and] those types of things. In terms of the technical part, we're still working through it a little bit, but I feel very confident. We have a great IT department led by Spencer Dille. We have a lot of different avenues that we can work through."

Licht said the team has run through all manner of potential scenarios that could come up during the process, from football-related ones like virtual mock drafts, to the threat of hackers trying to disrupt the team's digital connections.

“Each general manager and each head coach are going to have an IT person that’s going to be available at their residence," Licht said. “I feel very comfortable with that."

Licht acknowledged that this draft will be interesting in many new ways, but he sounded plenty confident that the circumstances won't have a negative impact on his team's ability to put together a successful draft.

Two weeks from now, we'll find out if his confidence proves well placed.

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