NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated that the 2020 NFL Draft will proceed from April 23-25 as scheduled in a memo sent to every franchise in the league. NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero was the first to break the news.
The full memo from Roger Goodell: pic.twitter.com/Nnur7RdBxX— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 26, 2020
Previously, the league cancelled all public events pertaining to the draft, which was scheduled to be conducted in Las Vegas, Nevada. Goodell re-affirmed that decision in his memo.
“Because of the unique circumstances in our country today, the 2020 Draft will obviously need to be conducted in a different way. Already, we have cancelled all public events, we will not be bringing prospects and their families to the Draft, and the Draft itself will be conducted and televised in a way that reflects current conditions.”
There was reportedly pushback from general managers across the league to delay the draft, but the league feels that the draft can go on as scheduled if free agency did as well.
“Our staff is certainly mindful of the operational issues this presents, and our top priority is putting in place procedures that allow all clubs to operate on a level playing field so that the draft is conducted in a way that is competitively fair to all clubs. All clubs should now be doing the necessary planning to conduct draft operations in a location outside of your facility, with a limited number of people present, and with sufficient technology resources to allow you to communicate internally, with other clubs, and with draft headquarters.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the NFL presents the draft with no center stage, crowds and on-location analysis. At its core, the draft is simply the release of news and doesn’t have to be a live spectacle, but the event has evolved so much from its original form.
This will be a unique exercise to keep fans engaged and viewership up, but since no other sports are expected to resume in late April, that shouldn’t be an issue at all.