2020 NFL Draft will Go 'Fully Virtual' with Club Personnel Working from Home
Jason B. Hirschhorn
As the coronavirus crisis continues to force people into seclusion, the 2020 NFL Draft will no longer feature any face-to-face contact. On Monday, the league sent out a memo to all 32 clubs informing them that, due to the numerous stay-at-home orders and on the advance of health experts, the draft will go "fully virtual" with all club executives working from home.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero first reported the news.
"Because of these circumstances, Clubs have been advised to prepare to conduct the 2020 Draft entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format, with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate with one another and Draft headquarters by phone or internet," the NFL's memo reads. "We have reviewed the matter in the past few days with both the Competition Committee and CEC, and this will confirm that Clubs will conduct their Draft operations remotely, the club personnel separately located in their homes."
While not all teams have headquarters in locations subject to stay-at-home orders, the league did not wish to create an uneven playing field where some personnel departments had some or full access to their facilities while others had to communicate via teleconference. "We have made this decision for several reasons," the league said. "All Clubs will not have access to their facilities, which is contrary to the fundamental equity principle that all clubs operate in a consistent and fair way."
The draft had already undergone some substantial changes from its original form. The league originally planned it as a public event set to take place in Las Vegas but shuttered the festivities last month in response to the ongoing pandemic. The league decided to keep the draft on its original dates despite objections from some NFL general managers.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH