2020 NFL Draft will Take Place on April 23-25 Despite Ongoing Pandemic
Jason B. Hirschhorn
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced the closure of countless businesses and disrupted everyday life for virtually all Americans. It has also forced the postponement or cancellation of numerous large events, including many in the sports world.
Though not canceled, the 2020 NFL Draft has already undergone changes due to the health crisis. The league will no longer hold fan gatherings around the event nor will the draft feature a crowd. Some in the NFL believe those measures don't go far enough, with at least some general managers pushing for a delay of the draft until later in the year.
However, the draft will still go on as scheduled. On Thursday, the NFL sent a memo to teams confirming that it will move forward with the original dates.
"As you know, we have been reviewing and addressing all aspects of our off-season operations, including the Draft, in light of current public health conditions," the league's memo read. "Earlier today, the CEC discussed the issues relating to the Draft. The Committee was unanimous and unequivocal that the Draft should go forward as scheduled on April 23-25, 2020."
Because of facility and travel restrictions, teams cannot bring prospects in for visits nor can their medical staffs conduct second checks on those players for issues. That places front offices in an uncomfortable position where they won't know a possible selection's current health status come draft day.
Still, the NFL does not want to move the draft. With no major sporting events set to take place in North America over the next month, the draft will have the stage all to itself. Even if the teams make more mistakes than usual due to the circumstances, the league has chosen not to relinquish that opportunity.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH