NFL to Set Up Safeguards During Virtual Draft

David Boclair

In some ways, the 2020 NFL Draft will be just like any other.

“Whatever the rules are, whatever the guidelines they put in place for us … we’re going to pick players,” Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel said recently. “All the teams are going to pick players, and everybody is going to have their guys that they like, and there’s going to be trades, and all that stuff is going to stay the same.”

A whole lot of other stuff is going to be different.

Most notably, the draft, which is set for April 23-25, will take place virtually with all team personnel working from their respective homes. Facilities for all 32 franchises will remain closed due to coronavirus concerns.

SI.com reported Wednesday that the league will put in place a number of safeguards to ensure that every team will be able to make its picks at the appropriate times.

From SI.com:

One safeguard will be a conference call with all 32 teams that will be in progress throughout the draft. If a general manager is hooked up to that call via landline and his internet connection cuts out, he would be able to unmute the call and announce his pick in a forum in which every other team could hear it. Email is another option teams will have for sending in picks if there are online connection issues.

Over the next two weeks the league plans multiple tests of the system, including a mock draft that will involve all 32 teams.

Realistically, every team has been prepping for the past month or so, ever since the league required teams to close their facilities and executive offices.

“There’s a lot of remote communication that’s going on through email, and phone calls, and text messages that typically doesn’t happen,” general manager Jon Robinson said. “But as far as the workload, we’ve got access to all the video, and college film, and pro film on our iPads through a Cloud server. I have our database, pro and college, here on my surface. I’m able to function and evaluate players, and have discussions. … It’s just different.”

The same will be true of the draft.

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